After rewriting a contentious section on nuclear energy, the EU hopes to approve a global phase-out of fossil fuels as part of its climate diplomacy priorities this year.
During this year’s UN climate summit, nearly 200 countries will negotiate joint efforts to mitigate climate change, and the draft text outlines the EU’s diplomatic priorities.
On Monday, Reuters reported that the EU would support a global shift away from fossil fuels.
According to the draft, “The shift towards a climate-neutral economy will require the global phase-out of unabated fossil fuels”.
“The EU will systematically promote and call for a global move towards energy systems free of unabated fossil fuels well ahead of 2050.”
Some countries are hoping this year’s COP28 summit could clinch a deal on phasing out the use of CO2-emitting fossil fuels – not only coal, as agreed at previous UN climate talks, but also oil and gas.
A proposal by India to do this gained some support at last year’s UN climate summit but was opposed by Saudi Arabia and other oil and gas-rich nations. Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands had pushed for the fossil fuel exit in the EU text, EU diplomats said.
Diplomats from EU countries will attempt to finalise the text on Wednesday, which ministers must then approve formally.
Nuclear energy dispute
Nuclear energy’s role in the green transition has, however, delayed approval.
Countries couldn’t agree on whether EU diplomacy should emphasize hydrogen produced from renewable energy or low-carbon hydrogen produced from nuclear electricity.
France and other countries want more EU policies to promote the low-carbon energy source, while Germany and Spain warn that this could undermine efforts to expand renewable energy.
In the latest draft, it was not specified which type of hydrogen the EU would promote.
It stated that EU energy diplomacy would promote rules-based, transparent, and undistorted global hydrogen markets.
According to the draft, EU diplomacy would also promote sustainable “low-carbon technologies” – often referring to nuclear power.
Negotiations over renewable energy targets in the EU have already been disrupted by the nuclear issue, and some diplomats are concerned that it could lead to the delay of other climate-related laws as well.