Senior officials from dozens of nations meeting in Berlin remain divided on how to meet international climate goals
BERLIN — Senior officials from dozens of nations meeting in Berlin remained divided Wednesday on how to meet international climate goals, with some pushing for a phase-out of fossil fuels and others insisting that oil and gas can continue to play a role in the future — provided their emissions are somehow contained.
The two-day Petersberg Climate Dialogue hosted by Germany heard calls for a new target on ramping up renewable energy to be negotiated and agreed at this year’s U.N. climate summit in December.
But German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made clear that this proposal should not detract from the need to drastically cut fossil fuel use, a position shared by other European nations and vulnerable island states present at the Berlin talks.
The United Arab Emirates, which will host the U.N. talks in Dubai, backed the idea of significantly boosting wind and solar power, but made clear it wants to keep fossil fuels as an option for the foreseeable future.
Sultan al-Jaber, the UAE official who will chair the Dubai talks, said his country wants “a comprehensive, holistic approach to an energy transition that included all sources of energy.”
Al-Jaber acknowledged that time is running out to keep alive the agreed target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit). Doing so would require global emissions to halve by 2030, sharply bending down the current upward curve of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Climate campaigners have expressed concern that technologies proposed for capturing fossil fuel emissions aren’t tested at scale yet, and that such solutions could divert attention and resources away from effective alternatives such as renewable energy.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz used the meeting to announce that his country will provide an additional 2 billion euros to the Green Climate Fund for adaptation measures in developing countries. He appealed to other “traditional and possible new donors” to also increase their funding. The United States recently said it would commit $1 billion, while major emitters such as China are not contributing.
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