Diplomats from the EU’s 27 member-states are drafting their negotiating stance for COP28. At the summit, which starts in November in Dubai, nearly 200 countries will try to strengthen efforts to curb climate change.
“The EU should adopt a much stronger and clearer narrative on the exit from fossil fuel demand, with a quantified trajectory and an exit date for each fossil energy, based on science,” said France, in a document shared with other EU countries and seen by Reuters.
Setting out a timeline “would increase the pressure on countries that are reluctant to agree on a phase-out of fossil fuels,” said the document, citing measures already agreed by the EU and others that will curb oil consumption – including by fixing dates to end new sales of petrol cars.
In a report this month on global efforts to curb climate change, the United Nations said “phasing out all unabated fossil fuels” was required to reach net zero emissions and avoid far more severe climate change.
“Unabated” fossil fuels are those that do not use technology to capture and store the emissions produced from burning them.
France is now urging the EU to clarify its stance on these emissions-capturing technologies, to ensure they were not used to delay efforts to phase out fossil fuels directly and replace them with low-carbon energy.
Some EU countries reliant on fossil fuel-based energy see a bigger role for carbon capture technologies, which could help them keep their existing infrastructure running.
“Poland is supportive of using abatement technologies in order to strengthen climate action globally… we plan specific investments in those technologies in the future,” a Polish official told Reuters.
The EU aims to finalise its COP28 negotiating position in mid-October.
The tensions between EU nations reflect a global split between countries demanding a deal to phase out fossil fuels and those seeking to preserve a role for coal, oil and gas.
Around 80 countries, including EU nations, backed an Indian proposal to phase down fossil fuels at last year’s COP27 summit, but it was blocked by Saudi Arabia and other oil- and gas-rich countries.