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This was in a last-ditch bid to break a deadlock between nations. Alamy Stock Photo

Almost 200 countries agree landmark COP28 deal to 'transition away' from fossil fuels

The deal was agreed shortly after the morning plenary session began.

LAST UPDATE | 13 Dec 2023

ALMOST 200 COUNTRIES at COP28 have agreed for the world to transition away from fossil fuels.

This was in a last-ditch bid to break a deadlock between nations seeking a phase-out from oil, gas and coal and Saudi-led crude producers.

Following all-night negotiations, the text proposed by the Emirati presidency of the COP28 summit in Dubai marks the first time that all fossil fuels are addressed in the 28-year history of international climate conferences.

The text calls for “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science”.

While the document does not mention the “phase-out” demanded by Western countries and low-lying island nations most vulnerable to rising seas and tropical storms, the language is stronger than a previous draft that was roundly rejected.

The COP28 presidency held a plenary session at 10:00 am (6am Irish Time) in the hope of the text receiving consensus approval from nearly 200 nations. Shortly after, the deal was agreed.

The summit’s president, Sultan Al Jaber, said the conference “should be proud of our historic achievement”.

Climate minister and Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan spoke to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland and welcomed the deal, but acknowledged it’s a compromise between the nations.

“Yes, it’s not perfect [...] But had we not gotten agreement had we not delivered this package together, then that would have been an critically sad and difficult day for the world. But it didn’t,” he told the programme.

He added that the original text, published on Sunday night, was “too weak” but over the course of the day yesterday, more and more countries from other continents joined the “higher-ambitions” group – led by the EU member states.

Ryan added: “It’s not that this one COP was going to change everything. But it sets a clear direction and sends a clear message – particularly to the financial markets – that they have to be part of this change.”

© AFP 2023, with reporting by Muiris Ó Cearbhaill

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