• Divisions on the future of fossil fuels sharpen in countdown to COP28

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Tensions between pro- and anti-fossil fuel groups are increasing ahead of the COP28 climate summit to be held in the United Arab Emirates beginning at the end of this month, as the Financial Times reports.

Preliminary discussions in Abu Dhabi have shown the gulf in visions between countries including those in the ‘High Ambition Coalition’ – comprised of Austria, Ethiopia, France, Granada, Guatemala, Ireland, Kenya, the Marshall Islands, the Netherlands, Samoa, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain, Vanuatu and Zambia – and oil and gas producing or highly dependent countries is large. A particular topic of disagreement is the use of carbon capture and storage to abate greenhouse gas emissions, with the anti-fossil fuel parties seeing only a minor role for the technology in areas such as steel and cement making, and pro-fossil fuel countries seeing it as a more widely applicable and critical means of decarbonisation.

Apart from CCS, a more general topic of debate is expected to feature at COP28 – that of an agreement, or at least a statement, around the phase-out of the use of “unabated” fossil fuels. Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s minister for development co-operation and global climate policy, has said that it will be “at the core of the negotiations”, and that at present, negotiators are “definitely not where we need to be on any of the issues yet”. Despite this, he has some optimism about the summit, saying that “I do honestly feel that there is some momentum that this COP will be an important COP where important decisions will be made and that it needs to be very ambitious.”

Another central issue is to be financing to poorer countries impacted by climate change, with COP28 president-designate Sultan al-Jaber (also head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) making it a priority of his own.