COP28 : L’encadrement des énergies fossiles au cœur des enjeux

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Regulating the use of fossil fuels constitutes one of the key challenges of COP28. Will the final agreement mention the reduction or exit from fossil fuels? Or simply reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Negotiators are working to reach an agreement.

The COP28 which opened in Dubai on November 30 is one of all the challenges for fight the climate crisis. At the heart of the negotiations which should last until December 12 is the regulation of the production of fossil fuels. At the opening of COP28, Sultan Ahmed Al Jabeb, president of the event, invited participants to “ ensure the inclusion of the role of fossil fuels » in the Global review of the Paris Agreement. It remains to be seen which words will be used.

IEA calls for end to fossil fuels without CCS

In his “Net Zero” roadmap aimed at keeping the objective of 1.5°C within our reach, published in September 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) is banking on the development of CO capture and storage2 (CSC). In particular, the agency predicts a 40% drop by 2030 in energy production from fossil fuels without CCS. And by 2050, there will be almost no power plants without such a device. Global production of electricity without CCS based on coal and gas would thus increase from 17,636 TWh in 2022 to 11,066 TWh in 2030 and 158 TWh in 2050.

Demand for fossil fuels would thus fall by 25% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050. To make this scenario a reality, the IEA assures: “ No new long-term upstream oil and gas projects are required. Neither are new coal mines, mine expansions or new coal plants without CCS. “. Only investments in certain existing oil and gas assets and already approved projects should continue. To realize this vision, the IEA calls for tripling renewable energy capacities by 2030, and doubling the annual rate of energy efficiency. It will also involve significantly increasing sales of electric vehicles and heat pumps and reducing methane emissions from the energy sector by 75%. In addition, the IEA estimates that “ CCS, hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels, sustainable bioenergy are critical to achieving zero emissions ».

Reduce, get out of fossil fuels? Reduce emissions?

The whole question will be to know what place will be given to CCS technologies in the Global Review of the Paris Agreement. For this, the choice of words chosen will be important. Will negotiators include the term “phase down” or “phase out” of fossil fuels? Will they use the term “unabated fossil fuels”, designating fossil fuels without CCS devices, or will they prefer to talk about all fossil fuels? The mention or not of a deadline, more or less distant, will also determine the ambition of the text.

Friday, December 1, António Guterres, the Secretary General of the UN, clearly invited the delegates present to include the exit from fossil fuels in the text. “ The science is clear: the 1.5°C limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels. Neither reduce nor diminish. Gradual removal, with a clear timetable ».

The secretary therefore hopes that the Final Agreement does not rely heavily on CCS to mitigate emissions, In all areas. The European position adopted in the Environment Council is not to make too large a bet on CCS technologies. These should remain confined to sectors that are difficult to electrify, such as heavy industry. Europe recommends avoiding massive deployment in the electricity sector, where renewable energies make it possible to make a competitive energy transition. On the contrary, the United Arab Emirates and others oil producing countries should push for the development of these technologies.

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