Instead of “phase out”, the document talks of “reducing consumption & production of fossil fuels, in an equitable manner so as to achieve net zero by, before, or around 2050 in keeping with the science” – a first at a UN conference and a language seen to be acceptable to all oil & coal producing nations.In fact, “oil and gas” did not appear anywhere in the 21-page text while “fossil fuels” were mentioned thrice in the latest draft put together with less than 24 hours to go for the close of the conference.
Indian officials were in a huddle, combing through the draft, as EU termed it “disappointing”, while the US called for the language on fossil fuel to be “substantially strengthened”.
What may be of concern to India is the latest draft retaining lines on “phasing out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” and “rapidly phasing down unabated coal and limitations on permitting new and unabated coal power generation”. Although caveats are there, Indian negotiators are examining it in view of the country’s stand. The point on accelerating & reducing non-CO2 emissions, including, “methane emissions globally” by 2030 may be scrutinised closely by India as it has the potential to impact the country’s livestock and paddy cultivation.
On renewable energy growth, the text retains the language of G20 New Delhi leaders’ declaration and “calls upon” countries to triple renewable energy capacity globally and doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030.
On finance – a key area of concern for India – the text largely goes with the concerns expressed by this group and notes with “deep regret” that the goal of developed nations to mobilize jointly $100 billion per year by 2020 in the context of transparency on implementation was not met in 2021. It also notes the complexity arising from the “diversity of definitions of climate finance” – the point which was flagged by India’s environment minister Bhupender Yadav.
On mitigation issues, it “reaffirms” the Paris Agreement temperature goals of keeping it “well below 2 degree Celsius” above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900) and “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree C” with strong reference to “deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions of 43% by 2030 and 60% by 2035 relative to the 2019 level and to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050”.