DUBAI (Agencies): In a historic move at the COP28 UN climate summit held in Dubai, nations have explicitly targeted the use of fossil fuels, agreeing to “transition away” from coal, oil, and gas.

The initial language calling for a “phase-out” of fossil fuels was softened, causing concern among small island nations hit hard by climate change, who claimed the deal was rushed through without their input.

While the outcome is viewed as a victory for the summit’s president, Sultan al-Jaber, there are reservations about the weakened language in the agreement. The decision came after nearly two weeks of negotiations between close to 200 nations.

The climate summit in Dubai, which almost collapsed due to disagreements, witnessed a dramatic turnaround with nations agreeing to address the use of fossil fuels directly. The initial push for stronger language, advocating for the “phase-out” of fossil fuels, was met with resistance, ultimately leading to the compromise of “transition away.” This decision is expected to have far-reaching implications for global efforts to combat climate change.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union were among the nations advocating for a more assertive stance on phasing out fossil fuels from the start of the talks. However, concerns were raised about the dual role of COP28 president Sultan al-Jaber, who also serves as the CEO of Abu Dhabi oil giant Adnoc. Despite initial apprehensions about potential conflicts of interest, the gaveling of the deal received cheers and a standing ovation in the plenary room.

While the agreement marks a significant step toward addressing the impact of fossil fuels on climate change, representatives from the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis) expressed concern that the key language shift to “transitioning away” potentially takes the world backward rather than forward. There are also reports that the deal was gavelled when small island states were not in the room, further heightening concerns about the inclusivity and transparency of the negotiation process. The softened language may prompt calls for increased commitments and concrete actions to meet climate targets.

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