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At COP28, leaders reckon with the end of fossil fuels

In a speech Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a permanent end to the use of fossil fuels.
At COP28, leaders reckon with the end of fossil fuels
Posted at 7:11 PM, Dec 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-01 21:12:56-05

During Friday's proceedings at the COP28 climate conference, world leaders assessed the threat from climate change and the scale of the response needed to curtail it.

World leaders made new commitments and outlined a future that will involve unprecedented changes to the way the world uses energy.

Proposing an end to fossil fuels

Meeting the world's goal of keeping warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius means ending the use of fossil fuels, said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"Not reduce, not abate," Guterres said in a speech. "Phase out."

“We are miles from the goals of the Paris agreement and minutes to midnight for the 1.5 degree limit, but it is not too late," Guterres said, addressing the assembled leaders. “We can — you can — prevent planetary crash and burn.”

New commitments

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the country would end deforestation within its borders by 2030.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida promised to end the construction of non-abated coal power plants in his country, taking another step toward net-zero status.

Nations formally launched the "Climate Club," a group of 36 countries that will dedicate efforts to reducing industrial emissions. Germany and Chile co-chair the group.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at the meeting that a concerted effort would be required.

A reduction in emissions "will work only together," he said, "not against each other, and that is the fundamental idea behind this climate club."

New funding

The United Arab Emirates, which is hosting the summit, announced a $30 billion fund for deploying renewable energy infrastructure in developing countries.

Vietnam outlined a plan to use more than $15 billion to pivot itself away from the use of fossil energy sources.

SEE MORE: At COP28, pressure builds to eliminate fossil fuel use


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