US envoy John Kerry warned Tuesday that the UN’s COP28 climate summit in Dubai was the world’s “last” chance to keep its target for limiting global warming alive.
Kerry issued his warning hours after COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber proposed a draft deal that did not include a phase-out of fossil fuels, disappointing the United States, the European Union and low-lying islands most vulnerable to climate change.
“Many of us have called for the world to largely phase out fossil fuels,” Kerry told ministers.
He added: “I think most of you here refuse to be part of a charade.”
The former secretary of state spoke in a closed-door session but a group of observers outside the room were watching via a live webcast that one of them had access to.
“This is the last COP that we’ll have a chance to be able to keep 1.5 degrees alive. This is it,” Kerry said, with hours to go until the summit is scheduled to end.
The landmark 2015 Paris Agreement set the increasingly elusive target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels in order to avoid the worst ravages of climate change.
“I don’t think anybody here wants to be associated with the failure to live up to this responsibility. Not a lot of people in public life are asked to make life and death choices historically,” Kerry said in the early hours of Tuesday.
“This is a war for survival.”
After an earlier draft listed the landmark option of a “phase-out” of oil, gas and coal, the new text focuses on “reducing” their production and consumption in order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
Fossil fuels are responsible for the bulk of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.
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