UN chief urges COP28 to phase out fossil fuels

Abu Sufian

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged an agreement at COP28 to phase out fossil fuels, pressing negotiators to show flexibility in the climate summit’s final hours.

Less than a day before the summit’s scheduled close in Dubai, Guterres flew back and warned there were “still large gaps” holding up a consensus.

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

“Now is the time for maximum ambition and maximum flexibility,” Guterres said. “It’s time to go into overdrive to negotiate in good faith.”

Guterres, who has made climate a top priority, 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.

In his call for flexibility, Guterres said there should also be attention to the concerns of fossil fuel producers and that not all countries would have the same immediate responsibility.

The call for action “doesn’t mean that all countries must phase out fossil fuels at the same time,” Guterres said.

“But it means that globally the phase-out of fossil fuels need to be compatible with net zero in 2050 and with the limit of 1.5 degrees in temperature rise” above pre-industrial levels, he said.


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