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COP28: Global South ‘Deeply Disappointed’ over GST Draft; Calls for Major Revisions

India and China have voiced strong concerns about the "targeting of coal".
India and China have voiced strong concerns about the "targeting of coal"

Image Courtesy: Flickr

Dubai: Developing and poor countries have deplored the latest draft of the global stocktake, the most important document of the ongoing climate conference (COP28) here, calling for major changes, including in the section offering options to slash planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, negotiators from the Global South said on Tuesday.

The latest global stocktake (GST) draft, which will be the centrepiece of the final deal document, does not mention the "phase-out of fossil fuels". However, it includes stronger language on coal usage, which is problematic for heavily coal-dependent countries like India and China.

Around 40% = of global carbon dioxide emissions stem from coal, with oil and gas accounting for the remaining percentage.

India, which relies on coal for about 70% of its power generation, aims to add 17 gigawatts of coal-based power generation capacity in the next 16 months.

India and China have voiced strong concerns about the "targeting of coal". Together with other developing countries, they have demanded a revision of the entire paragraph 39 of the draft document, which lists options to slash planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, a negotiator from the Global South said, adding a new draft is expected on Tuesday.

The developing countries also called on rich nations to vacate carbon space by achieving negative carbon emissions (removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than emitted), not merely reaching net zero by 2050.

Developing country groups such as G77+China, Like Minded Developing Countries, and BASIC grouping (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) have stressed the principles of equity common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities be strongly reflected in the text.

These principles acknowledge that countries' efforts to combat climate change should be considered in light of their contributions to total emissions and that rich nations should bear primary responsibilities due to their substantial historical emissions.

They have also urged developed countries to provide finance and transfer technology for a just transition, the process of moving away from fossil fuels towards renewables fairly and equitably.

The negotiators said the developing countries have emphasised that "ambition cannot be raised without substantial financial support, which should be in trillions".

They have also highlighted that developed countries cannot dictate the implementation of plans to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the threshold to prevent exacerbating climate impacts.

The negotiators said China opposed the reference to the peaking of global emissions by 2025 and said ambition requires means of implementation, a term used for finance and technology support.

It reminded rich nations that it took 159 years for their emissions to peak and said that developing countries should be given their fair share of the carbon budget.

Climate science defines carbon budget as the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted for a given level of global warming (1.5 degrees Celsius in this case).

Developed countries have already consumed more than 80 per cent of the global carbon budget, leaving developing countries with very little carbon space for the future.

Cambodia expressed serious concern over the 39th paragraph and the lack of finance for mitigation, adaptation, loss, and damage.

Speaking on behalf of G77+China, Cuba highlighted the lack of differentiation, a term for recognising the differences between developed and developing countries.

On behalf of Like-Minded Developing Countries, Bolivia denounced the hypocrisy of some developed nations, saying countries like the United States, Australia, Norway and Canada claim to reduce fossil fuels but do the opposite. Brazil said the GST should reflect equity and align with science.

The GST draft released on Monday acknowledges the importance of tripling global renewable energy capacity and doubling energy efficiency rates by 2030, yet lacks specifics.

The International Energy Agency insists that achieving this is critical to avoid breaching the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold.

However, the draft does suggest countries could agree on reducing the "production and consumption of fossil fuels" for the first time in the history of UN climate conferences.

Several countries and the European Union have emphasised that a deal to "phase out all fossil fuels" would signal success for COP28.

However, phasing out all fossil fuels is easier said than done. This requires rich countries to rapidly deliver trillions of dollars in grants and the newest technologies to help emerging economies like India and small countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka to leapfrog to renewables.

An energy transition without this will only deepen the existing gaps between the Global North and the Global South, climate experts said.

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