Cop28 leader urges nations to ‘come out of comfort zones’ to reach agreement

Climate crisis: Issue of fossil fuel use remains unresolved as country ministers join the talks on Friday

Cop28 president Sultan Al Jaber urged countries on Friday to get out of their comfort zones and work together to reach agreement before the two-week summit ends.

“Let’s please get this job done,” he said, opening a plenary session as the summit entered its toughest phase of negotiations. “I need you to step up and I need you to come out of your comfort zones,” he said.

With five days left before the conference’s scheduled end on December 12th, country ministers are joining the deliberations on Friday.

Still unresolved is how the nearly 200 countries at Cop28 will handle the thorny issue of fossil fuels, the main source of climate-warming emissions, with at least 80 countries demanding a Cop28 agreement that calls for an eventual end to their use.


Such a position would be unprecedented, after three decades of UN climate summits that have never addressed the future role of fossil fuels head on.

Canada has been asked by the Mr Al Jaber to help develop language on the potential phase down or phase out of fossil fuels, its environment minister told reporters on Friday morning.

Steven Guilbeault, a former activist who is environment minister for the fourth largest oil and gas producer in the world, announced on Thursday that Canada would require its fossil fuel industry to cut its emissions between 35 per cent to 38 per cent below 2019 levels starting in 2030.

More than 250 organisations from across the globe released a letter on Friday at Cop28 calling on the United States to abandon its support for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The groups are demanding a stop to the permitting of new facilities in the United States and an end to financial and diplomatic support for LNG globally.

The United States, now the largest exporter of LNG on the planet, is expected to see exports double by 2027.

Meanwhile, eastern European countries are working to resolve an impasse over where to hold next year’s Cop29 summit after Russia said it would block any EU member as Cop president.

As of Friday, the candidates included Azerbaijan, which offered to host the event. Both Moldova and Serbia have also offered to take on the rotating presidency. – Reuters