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Global Stocktake released calls for phasing out fossil fuels; Reactions from Power Shift Africa

By: Oforiwa Darko

The release of the third iteration text on the Global Stocktake has seen a vital recognition of the increased momentum from Parties on the imperative to end the world’s reliance on oil, gas, and coal, but crucially still falls short on issues of fairness.

The text, sent to Ministers of State, acknowledges momentum by including options that entail a full phase-out of all fossil fuels. However, reviews of the text show that it does not include language on the need for equity by requiring developed countries to phase out first or that financial support is needed for developing countries to undertake a clean energy transition.

First Global Stocktake released at COP 28.

Meanwhile, developing countries have been cleared that differentiated phase-out timelines and funding are essential prerequisites for them to agree to text on a fossil fuel phase-out.

Responding to the latest COP28 text, Mohamed Adow, Director of Power Shift Africa, a Nairobi-based energy and climate think tank, welcomed the positive steps forward.

“The new text sets out the direction of travel much more clearly than before. It includes the vital renewable energy tripling but with an important caveat included, this renewable energy is to displace fossil fuels,” he said.

Mohamed Adow, Director of Power Shift Africa

According to Mohamed Adow, on the issue of fossil fuels, the text includes options explicitly calling for the phasing-out of fossil fuels in line with the best available science, and that’s clearly a step in the right direction.

He mentioned that although the text includes important recognition of fairness in regards to developing countries, countries should rally behind the stronger of the options and strengthen them more.

“We also need to differentiate the pathways for different countries, recognising the considerable development constraints of some of the least responsible countries who continue to be disproportionately affected by climate change. It’s not fair to ask Congo to phase out all fossil fuels within the same time frame as Norway.”

“Differentiated phase-out time frames with developed countries taking the lead, especially in ending the planned licensing of new exploration and development of new oil and gas fields is critical,” Mr Adow emphasised.

Further analysis also reveal that there are also much weaker options for a phase-out caveated with the term “unabated” which promote distractions such as carbon capture (CCS) and open the door for continued fossil fuel expansion, or are not economy-wide, so will simply fail to deliver on the ambition demanded by the science. There remains an option of no text at all.

With regards to calls for wording on a fossil fuel phaseout from 80 countries at COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the bar has been set higher this year, with more than 100 countries from Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands, and the European Union calling for phaseout language to be included in the COP28 decision.

The Global Stocktake text will provide the blueprint as countries develop their 2025 nationally determined contributions (NDCs) at this critical time.

It must jumpstart the just and equitable transition, sending the signal to governments and markets to rapidly scale up investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, immediately halt investments in new fossil fuels and wind down existing projects, be clear on the need for developed countries to phase out first, and provide sufficient finance and technical support from developed countries and the private sector to developing countries to facilitate their transition.

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