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With just four days remaining until the close of COP28, the climate conference has reached a critical juncture, unveiling both fears and hopes for the future. OPEC, a long-standing advocate for weak climate outcomes, has taken an unexpected turn. The organization’s leader, Haitham Al Ghais, sent a letter to 13 members urging them to reject any deal targeting energy, rather than emissions, citing “irreversible consequences.”

Let’s talk about the hidden work of OPEC 

Contrary to OPEC’s claims of taking climate change seriously, the International Energy Agency (IEA) strongly disagrees, highlighting the urgent need for action. Meanwhile, concerns about extreme weather and climate impacts, forecasted to cost $5 trillion over a 5-year period, are conspicuously absent from OPEC’s narrative.

The 13 members receiving Al Ghais’s letter include nations like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria. The dynamics within OPEC reveal a potential shift in climate consciousness, even as many member countries face the prospect of “unliveable heat” in the coming decades.

While OPEC grapples with its stance, the larger COP28 negotiations face challenges related to the Global Stocktake (GST). The latest draft of the GST text suggests a “longer but weaker” approach, with four formulations around fossil fuels up for discussion. Views on these formulations are mixed, with some seeing promise and others noting the diminished urgency to keep the 1.5C target within reach.

Red flags in the GST include the absence of a reference to the 1.5C target and concerns about the strategic replacement of fossil fuel capacity. Amber flags indicate potential issues with the finance section and unilateral trade measures, while green flags signal positive developments in recognizing slow onset events and expanding greenhouse gas emission reduction timelines.

Beyond the negotiation tables, there’s a spotlight on nature conservation efforts. Options within the GST text could breathe new life into initiatives protecting and restoring nature. However, experts emphasize the need for a concerted focus on filling the nature finance gap and recognizing the critical role of ecosystems in climate change adaptation. Especially after seeing +300 bit meat lobbyist in Dubai.

Pump-jack mining crude oil with the sunset – Zbynek Burival

Lobbyists, captured

As COP28 progresses, updates on technical work timelines continue to emerge, key ministers lead discussions, and challenges in the adaptation and mitigation domains.
It could cost $1 trillion a year to deploy, doesn’t work very well and takes ages to build. Still, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) identified +475 CCS lobbyists at COP28 this year.

In the midst of these discussions, the Global Day of Action emerges as a beacon of hope, with climate justice marches planned worldwide. However, challenges persist, from disinformation campaigns by convicted fraudsters to debates on funding for the energy transition.

As the world watches, COP28 unfolds with a mix of apprehension and optimism, as nations grapple with the urgent need to address climate change and chart a sustainable future.