COP28 climate dispute: What are "unabated" fossil fuels?
(Context, 8 Nov 2023) Whether to phase out fossil fuels, or just attempt to reduce their emissions, is likely to be a key battle at COP28 climate talks.
When countries meet for the COP28 climate summit in Dubai in late November, seeking to hasten a shift from fossil fuels, one ill-defined word is likely to stir a lot of rancour: "unabated".
"Unabated" emissions happen when fossil fuels are burnt and the emissions end up in the air, adding to accelerating global warming - which is the common practice today.
"Abating", or reducing, those emissions would require restrictions such as technologies to capture and bury carbon dioxide and other planet-heating gases released from activities such as coal-fired power production.
At last year's climate summit in Egypt, COP27, almost 200 nations confirmed their intention, first agreed at COP26 in 2021, to accelerate efforts "towards the phasedown of unabated coal power". Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel.