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OPEC Urges Members to Reject Targeting of Fossil Fuels at COP28 - BLOOMBERG

DECEMBER 09, 2023

BY  Laura Millan, Grant Smith and Nayla RazzoukBloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC’s top official urged member countries in a letter to reject any agreements that target fossil fuels at the latest climate negotiations.

Producers should “proactively reject any text or formula that targets energy” in the form of “fossil fuels rather than emissions,” Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais said in the letter to OPEC’s 13 members.

The COP28 climate talks in Dubai, which are due to conclude early next week, are playing out with delegations positioning themselves on either side of a clearly drawn battle line: whether or not they can commit to phasing out fossil fuels. Al Ghais said he was concerned by the possibility that the meeting might endorse such an approach.

“It seems that the undue and disproportionate pressure against fossil fuels may reach a tipping point with irreversible consequences, as the draft decision still contains options on fossil fuels phase out,” Al Ghais said in the letter. “It would be unacceptable that politically motivated campaigns put our people’s prosperity and future at risk,” he continued. The group has a pavilion at the flagship United Nations event for the first time.

Al Ghais said in a subsequent statement to Bloomberg that the Vienna-based organization “continues to advise our member countries.”

“What we will continue to advocate for is reducing emissions, not choosing energy sources,” he added. “The world requires major investments in all energies, including hydrocarbons, all technologies, and an understanding of the energy needs of all peoples. Energy transitions must be just, fair and inclusive.”

Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, told Bloomberg Television on Monday that the kingdom won’t agree to a text that calls for the phase down of fossil fuels. Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman insisted he would “absolutely not” accept such language.

Other members include the United Arab Emirates — which is hosting the COP28 talks despite opposition from environmental activists — as well as Iraq and Nigeria.

(Updates with comment from OPEC chief in fifth, sixth paragraphs.)


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