U.N. Backs First-Ever Call for an End to Oil, Gas and Coal Use

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FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty

U.N. climate negotiators confirmed Monday they are pushing for a deal at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai that will be the beginning of the end for fossil fuels.

Flying back to Dubai to add his voice to the negotiations, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “maximum ambition and maximum flexibility” to reach an agreement that can find consensus among the nearly 200 countries.

“We are in a race against time,” Guterres told reporters, AFP reports.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sits in a helicopter during his visit to flood-affected areas in Pakistan’s Sindh province on September 10, 2022. (MUHAMMAD DAUD/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s time to go into overdrive to negotiate in good faith,” he continued after alighting from his jet before going on to join some 80,000 other attendees who have flown in from all around the world for COP28.

The conference of the elites in the lavish Dubai metropolis built by oil money is considering the first-ever call to exit oil, gas and coal, considered by some as the main culprits in the planet’s “climate crisis.”

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has led opposition, with the OPEC cartel urging its members to vote against a phase-out of fossil fuels.

Without naming countries, Simon Stiell, the head of the U.N. climate body, called on all sides to remove “unnecessary tactical blockades” holding up a deal.

Guterres called on negotiators to have a “single-minded focus on tackling the root cause of the climate crisis — fossil fuel production and consumption.”

He called on the summit to recognise “the need to phase out all fossil fuels” – a stance opposed by oil producers led by Saudi Arabia.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lands at Cornwall Airport Newquay, near Newquay, Cornwall, on June 12, 2021, to attend the G7 summit. (BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The summit leadership is expected to release a new draft text on Monday.

The annual Conference of the Parties, or COP, has rarely finished on schedule in its 28-year history, but COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber has called on countries to wrap things up on time on Tuesday.

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