COP28 clashes after OPEC pushback
Some countries are resisting a proposed pledge to phase-out fossil fuels in a COP28 climate deal, jeopardising attempts for UN climate talks to deliver a hard commitment for the first time in 30 years on ending the use of oil and gas.
Observers in the negotiations said Saudi Arabia and Russia were among countries insisting that the summit in Dubai focus only on reducing climate pollution - with no mention of the fossil fuels causing it.
Earlier this week, the oil producer group OPEC sent a letter urging its members and allies to reject any mention of fossil fuels in the final summit deal. The letter warned that "undue and disproportionate pressure against fossil fuels may reach a tipping point" in the talks.
In a statement to Reuters, OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais declined to comment on the letter, but said OPEC wanted to keep the summit's focus on reducing climate-warming emissions, and away from their main sources like oil and gas.
"The world requires major investments in all energies, including hydrocarbons," he said. "Energy transitions must be just, fair and inclusive."
It was the first time OPEC's Secretariat has intervened in the UN climate talks with such a letter.
"It indicates a whiff of panic," said Alden Meyer of think-tank E3G.
On the other side, at least 80 countries including the United States, European Union and many poor, climate-vulnerable nations are demanding that a COP28 deal call clearly for an eventual end to fossil fuel use.
Other countries including India and China have not explicitly endorsed a fossil fuel phase-out at COP28, but have backed a popular call for boosting renewable energy.
Ireland's former president, Mary Robinson, who heads a group of former world leaders known as the Elders, said the letter showed OPEC was "worried" about the trajectory of the COP28 talks.