The upcoming 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the United Arab Emirates has raised concerns about the upward trend of fossil fuel production. This global event will focus on the world’s ambition to phase out fossil fuels and will include a “Global Stocktake,” a review of global climate action.
The European Union, made up of 27 countries, has already approved its negotiations strategy for COP28, centered on a call to phase out “unabated fossil fuels.” Ten of those countries want a complete phase-out of fossil fuels. However, the success of this call will depend on the willingness of major fossil fuel-producing countries such as the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates – which is hosting this year’s negotiations.
As the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, the United States plays a crucial role in advancing plans to phase out fossil fuels. However, this is a challenge as U.S. oil and gas companies continue to make substantial profits while receiving significant taxpayer subsidies. Moreover, industry executives do not believe in the projections that oil and gas demand will peak in 2030 despite scientific evidence suggesting otherwise. It is essential to base energy transition on scientific necessity and renewable energy progress at the turn of the decade.
At this pivotal moment, it is imperative for countries most responsible for continuing global fossil fuel dependence to commit to ambitious plans to phase them out simultaneously with expanding renewable energy and electrifying the economy in a responsible manner. Failure to do so will have environmental and economic consequences that we are not prepared to meet and must avoid at all costs. The survival of humanity depends on taking action now.