The upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates has raised concerns about the upward trend of fossil fuel production. The COP28 negotiations will focus on the world’s ambition to phase out fossil fuels and include a review of global climate action.
The European Union, made up of 27 countries, has approved its negotiations strategy for COP28, centered on a call to phase out “unabated fossil fuels.” Ten of those countries want a complete phase-out of fossil fuels, but their success depends on the willingness of major fossil fuel producing countries like the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the UAE.
As the largest producer of oil and gas in the world, the United States plays a crucial role in advancing plans to phase out fossil fuels. However, this is a challenge as U.S. oil and gas companies continue to make substantial profits while receiving significant taxpayer subsidies. Additionally, industry executives do not believe in projections that oil and gas demand will peak in 2030 despite best available science and modeling indicating otherwise.
The energy transition needs to be based on scientific necessity and progress towards renewable energy at the turn of the decade. Countries most responsible for continuing global fossil fuel dependence must commit to ambitious plans to phase them out simultaneously with expanding renewable energy and electrifying economies in a responsible manner. Failure to do so will have environmental and economic consequences that we are not prepared to meet and must avoid entirely if we are committed to ensuring humanity’s survival.