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HomeWorld NewsFrance, Spain 'shocked' and 'disgusted' by OPEC push on fossil fuels

France, Spain ‘shocked’ and ‘disgusted’ by OPEC push on fossil fuels

France has expressed surprise and anger, while a Spanish minister described it as “disgusting” that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is pushing for the continued use of fossil fuels at COP28 in Dubai. OPEC is under investigation for reportedly urging its members to stop any phase-out or phase-down in the final climate agreement, Reuters and the Associated Press reported.

Spanish eco-transition minister Teresa Ribera, representing the EU at COP28, where she advocates a departure from oil, gas and coal, criticized OPEC’s effort to thwart any fossil fuel phase-out. “I think it’s quite disgusting that the OPEC countries are insisting on getting the level to where it should be,” Ribera said.

“We need to be absolutely clear, bold, crystal clear that the EU will align with a vast majority of the parties at this summit to ensure that we have (a) meaningful and productive outcome associated with this phase-out. Are of fossil fuels,” she said.

OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais sent a letter to the group’s 13 members and 10 Russian-led allies, urging them to reject any text that targets fossil fuels instead of emissions. The letter, seen by Reuters, emphasizes OPEC countries’ commitment to climate action, but argues against jeopardizing prosperity and the future due to politically motivated campaigns.

The letter follows the release of the COP28 draft deal, the Global Stocktake, which includes text ranging from “phasing out fossil fuels in line with the best available science” to phasing out “unsustainable fossil fuels” or no language on them. Includes options like not keeping. All.

At least 80 countries are pushing for a COP28 agreement that ultimately calls for ending fossil fuel use, in line with the global goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, they face resistance from countries dependent on oil and gas for revenue, as fossil fuels remain a significant source of planet-warming emissions.

Activists and the High Ambition Coalition, a broad coalition of countries ranging from Barbados to France, Kenya and Pacific island states, were outraged by the letter.

“Nothing puts the prosperity and future of all people on Earth, including all citizens of OPEC countries, at greater risk than fossil fuels,” Marshall Islands climate envoy and coalition chair Tina Stege said, according to AFP.

Leaders of many countries have also condemned this step.

“I am shocked by these statements from OPEC. And I am angry,” AFP quoted him as saying. The French minister said she was “confident in the COP presidency not being swayed by these announcements, and reaching an agreement that reaffirms the clear objective of phasing out fossil fuels”.

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