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EU condemns 'out of whack' OPEC attempt to block COP28 fossil fuel deal

Published Dec 09, 2023 10:57AM ET Updated Dec 09, 2023 05:21PM ET
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© Reuters. European Commissioner for Climate Action of the European Union Wopke Hoekstra poses for a portrait after an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 9, 2023. REU

By Kate Abnett and Mohammed Benmansour

DUBAI (Reuters) - The European Union's climate chief on Saturday heavily criticised an attempt by OPEC to derail a COP28 deal on phasing out fossil fuels, calling the move by the oil producers' club "unhelpful" and "out of whack".

Nearly 200 countries meeting in Dubai for the U.N.'s COP28 climate summit are debating whether to agree, for the first time, to eventually end the world's use of fossil fuels, the main cause of climate change.

In an unusual intervention, OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais this week urged countries in the OPEC+ group to reject any COP28 deal targeting fossil fuels, in a letter seen by Reuters.

"By many, including by me, that has been seen as out of whack, as unhelpful, as not in tune with where the world stands in terms of the very dramatic situation of our climate," EU climate commissioner Wopke Hoekstra said of the OPEC letter.

"We're here not to basically pay attention to our narrowly defined national or financial interests ... we're here to do what is right for the future of the world," Hoekstra told Reuters in an interview.

At least 80 countries including the 27-member EU, the United States and climate-vulnerable island nations are demanding a COP28 deal to phase out fossil fuels, as scientists urge ambitious action to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

"This should be the beginning of the end of fossil, and we all have to acknowledge this, whether we produce oil, consume oil, or not," Hoekstra said.

He said it would be a "scandal" if COP28 failed to produce a deal that would give the world a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius - the limit scientists say would avoid its most disastrous impacts.

A former Dutch foreign affairs minister, Hoekstra began his own career with a three-year stint at oil major Shell (LON:SHEL).

Observers and negotiators at COP28 said countries including Saudi Arabia and Russia - members of OPEC and OPEC+, respectively - have been the strongest opponents of a fossil fuel phase-out deal at COP28.

Coal, oil and gas account for more than 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which are fuelling worsening climate impacts including fatal heat, drought and rising sea levels.

Burning fossil fuels has served as the engine of modern life, and developing countries at the U.N. climate talks are demanding far more financial support to help them invest in clean energy.

Even with the growth of renewables, fossil fuels produce around 80% of the world's energy.

Alden Meyer, a COP28 delegate with think-tank E3G, said it was the first time OPEC's Secretariat has intervened in U.N. climate talks with a letter like the one it sent this week. "It indicates a whiff of panic," he said.

EU condemns 'out of whack' OPEC attempt to block COP28 fossil fuel deal
 

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Comments (12)
Brent Phillips
Brent Phillips Dec 10, 2023 9:32AM ET
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It must be nice to be disconnected from reality. No viable replacement exists at the same cost as fossil fuels. I have yet to see a realistic approach to this 'problem'. It makes great headlines but power houses like China and Russia don't give a crap about this stuff. Third world countries don't care about this stuff. It's only those with privilege that are blind to it.
First Last
First Last Dec 10, 2023 9:32AM ET
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Russia is cold and wants global warming.  China is super-polluted.  Third world countries can't afford to care.  So all three "don't  give a crap."
cc cc
cc cc Dec 10, 2023 4:44AM ET
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is not the US increasing output as well..Biden only pays lipp services and puts more burden on US taxpayer, but behind the scenes oil money is going into every campaign...
First Last
First Last Dec 10, 2023 4:44AM ET
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Majority of oil money has gone Republican.
Ron Smith
Ron Smith Dec 09, 2023 8:36PM ET
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In a battle between clean and dirty, dirty will win every time
Ron Smith
Ron Smith Dec 09, 2023 8:34PM ET
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Opec should turn down the spicot a few million barrels a day and show the world how bad they need what they are peddling.
First Last
First Last Dec 09, 2023 8:34PM ET
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The fact that OPEC+ can extort the rest of the world is one of the reasons COP28 is a good idea.
Brent Phillips
Brent Phillips Dec 09, 2023 8:34PM ET
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you don't live in reality
Evan Williams
Evan Williams Dec 09, 2023 7:27PM ET
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Until OPEC can mine Lithium, Nickel, Manganese, Aluminum and Cobalt in the deserts... it will be pump baby pump! Where was the logic for location of COP28? The complete nonsense that Dubai would be on board with anything other than oil production is hilarious! It's their entire economy, and they will not let their literal sand castles they built be washed away by clean energy.
Evan Williams
Evan Williams Dec 09, 2023 7:11PM ET
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Just another money grab. Now it's CLIMATE CHANGE? Where did GLOBAL WARMING disappear to? The fuel required to mine the battery material ain't going away, and usurps any benefit of electric. An average mine hauling dump carries 400 tons and burns about 345 gal. of fuel in 65 miles! Do the math, no batteries will be running those trucks. Not to mention air travel; a very bad day when batteries run low crossing Atlantic to Europe.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Dec 09, 2023 3:51PM ET
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the days of a worldwide petroleum biased economy are numbered .. and the smart money knows it.
Gayle Williams
Gayle Williams Dec 09, 2023 3:36PM ET
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just what exactly do these fools think we can replace fossil fuels? the truth isxwe can't power an advanced technological economy with wind and solar. the only viable alternative is nuclear fusion technology,but that is still an emerging science.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Dec 09, 2023 3:36PM ET
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Gayle, research is moving rapidly and propelling and creating whole new industries in energy production. unless you keep up you will be missing investment opportunities of a lifetime.
First Last
First Last Dec 09, 2023 3:36PM ET
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COP28 is NOT calling for immediate & total replacement of fossil fuels.
Otis Grant
Otis Grant Dec 09, 2023 3:00PM ET
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Of course the slime will not go quietly
Lio Gutierrez
Lio Gutierrez Dec 09, 2023 2:57PM ET
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If the EU expects everyone to do as they say the why would anyone invest in drilling for fossil fuels prepare for 200 oil and much higher gas prices then you can't expect cheap oil if you keep demonizing it.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Dec 09, 2023 2:57PM ET
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lio, another buggy whip investor,.. things are changing rapidly in the energy industry...get on board, or the investment world is going to pass you by..
Lio Gutierrez
Lio Gutierrez Dec 09, 2023 2:57PM ET
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you need to learn to read.
 
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