Russia warned that it would oppose any global agreement to reduce fossil fuel use, amid tensions between Russia and the west following Moscow’s invasion in Ukraine. This could derail the UN Climate Summit this year.
A large group of countries, including the US and EU, are calling for a timetable to phase out fossil fuels in areas where emissions cannot be captured and stored in advance of the COP28 Climate Summit that begins in Dubai in late November.
In a submission made to the UN climate body, Russia stated: “We are opposed to any provisions or results that discriminate in any way or call for phasing out of any particular energy source or fossil-fuel type.”
Moscow’s position contrasts sharply with that of the US which believes fossil fuel emissions must be reduced rapidly to reach a net-zero energy system by the mid-20th century. According to the US Energy Information Administration, Russia is still the third largest crude oil producer in spite of the caps placed on its production after its invasion into Ukraine.
The firmness of its stance shows how the opposition from leading oil, coal and gas producers could undermine any new climate agreement.
In a report published by the UN on Wednesday , more than 180 countries as well as other global organizations have expressed their views in preparation for the upcoming COP28. The UN has compiled the submissions into a “blueprint ” report. The UN will agree on a “stock-take” at COP28 that will examine the actions taken by countries since 2015’s Paris Agreement, and what more needs to be done.
At the COP27 conference in Egypt, more than 80 countries supported a proposal to gradually phase out fossil fuels. These are the biggest contributors to climate change and account for approximately three quarters of greenhouse gas emission.
In the Paris Agreement, all countries agreed to keep global temperatures well below 2C. They would prefer to limit them to 1.5C. Scientists from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believe that greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 43 percent by 2030, compared to 2019.
UN report revealed a growing conflict between rich and developing countries. Many developed countries where greenhouse gas emission peaked decades before, have set the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2020. It is also the same period as many developing nations, where it is harder to get funding for the green transformation.
Simon Stiell said that there is “divergence among countries” over “who should bear the heavier burden in terms action” to reduce warming. Stiell, however, said that the report made it clear that the world is “off track” to achieve the goals of Paris Agreement.
In the report, it was stated that some countries wanted COP28 to recognize the “grossly inadequate ambition” of the commitments made by the rich nations. Some countries have already resisted those targets. Last month, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced U turns on the country’s net zero targets .
The report also listed actions that countries could take in order to put the world on track again, such as tripling renewable energy capacities, improving energy efficiency, and reducing transport-related emission, as well increasing financing for developing countries.
Last month, the UN announced that the world needs to take immediate action in order to avoid a temperature increase of up to 2.66C by 2100.
Dan Jorgensen is the Danish minister of global climate policy. He is one of the two politicians who are leading the discussions with other nations on the stocktake.
He said that there was a growing sense of urgency about this being the most significant COP since Paris. “Not only are we taking stock, but we are also looking each other in our eyes to ask, ‘OK so where are we? And where are the gaps between actions and ambitions?’ We also need to look ahead. How can we close the gaps now?