The United Arab Emirates President of COP28 said on Monday he was aware countries had strong views about including language on fossil fuels and renewables in the negotiated text of the UN climate summit but that common ground must be found.
"I need you to work together to come forward with solutions that can achieve alignment, common ground, and consensus between all parties," Sultan al-Jaber told the Pre-COP28 summit convened in Abu Dhabi with around 70 ministers and 100 delegations in attendance.
A key decision at the COP28 summit, to be hosted by the UAE from Nov. 30 and Dec. 12, will be whether countries agree for the first time to phase out fossil fuels. Burning coal, oil, and gas produces greenhouse gases that are the main cause of climate change.
Countries are still far from bridging the gap between those demanding a deal to phase out planet-warming fossil fuels and nations insisting on preserving a role for oil and natural gas.
Jaber, who is the boss of state oil firm ADNOC, was a controversial pick to lead the summit because his country is an OPEC member and a major oil exporter.
He has called for the summit to bring together all stakeholders, including in the fossil fuel industry and has said that the phase-down of fossil fuels was "inevitable".
The inclusion of oil and gas representatives is a far cry from the 2021 U.N. climate change summit in Scotland, where energy companies complained they were shut out of the event.
The COP28 summit is seen as a crucial opportunity for governments to accelerate action to limit global warming.
"We are heading in the right direction, but nowhere near fast enough," Jaber said on Monday.
(Reuters - Reporting by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Michael Perry)
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