| 4 March 2024, Monday |

COP28 Sees Calls for Balance, Realism in Dealing with Energy File

As the negotiations in COP28 entered the heated stages, discrepancy between countries regarding the position on traditional fuels increased.

While Western states are pressing to adopt a position towards getting rid of fuel, another front appears to be resisting this course, and pushing towards a solution based on treating traditional fuels and the resulting emissions, in order to achieve balanced economic growth.

The latest trend is led by OPEC member states, and is approved by countries with developing or small economies. These countries indicate that their position does not stem from opposition to environmental and climate protection agendas, but rather from the fact that getting rid of traditional fuels will result in a major economic blow that the world will be unable to bear.

A number of officials told Asharq Al-Awsat that this position has nothing to do with the interests of oil producers alone, but rather with the wellbeing of other countries as well.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official from a sub-Saharan African country said: “We do not have sufficient development, and we barely produce electricity using gas and diesel… Now they are asking us to dispense with traditional fuel… Shall we live in the darkness? This is not a fair agreement.”

In the corridors of the conference, news was circulated about an internal memorandum from the OPEC secretariat dated Dec. 6, in which OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al-Ghais called on the members of the organization to reject any agreement targeting fuel and not emissions.

“It seems that the undue and disproportionate pressure against fossil fuels may reach a tipping point with irreversible consequences, as the draft decision still contains options on fossil fuels phase out,” the letter said, as reported by Reuters.

The letter urged delegations at COP28 to “proactively reject any text or formula that targets energy i.e. fossil fuels rather than emissions.”

Although OPEC refused to comment on the matter, Al-Ghais stressed during a session on Wednesday evening the need to pay attention to the idea of tackling emissions, especially since it achieves good results “on the ground” and can lead to the same final results.

On Saturday, an OPEC official said on behalf of the organization’s Secretary-General that the COP28 summit must find “realistic methods” to reduce emissions that need to involve all “energies” and technologies.


  • Asharq Al-Awsat