How fossil fuels went from sidelines to headlines in climate talks

(Climate Home News, 17 Jan 2024) For a quarter-century, fossil fuels were absent from Cop climate agreements – so how had they become so ubiquitous at Cop28?

When Romain Ioualalen started a new campaigning job at Oil Change International, he was tasked with putting fossil fuels on the agenda of international climate talks. That was in April 2020, just after the start of the pandemic. He told Climate Home recently that “it seemed like a pretty distant dream” at the time.

In fact, he used to joke that he had “found the only international climate policy job that didn’t require going to Cop because fossil fuels would never be a thing there”.

But become a thing they have. When Cop18 was held in Gulf oil and gas producer Qatar in 2012, the IISD think tank’s 28,000-word summary only mentioned fossil fuels once.

Those two words pop up 46 times in the same report produced after Cop28 where governments agreed for the first time to transition away from all fossil fuels in energy systems.

Asked why fossil fuels had gone from the fringes to the centre of negotiations, experts cited numerous reasons, which all worked together to build momentum over the years.

External link

Climate Home News, 17 Jan 2024: How fossil fuels went from sidelines to headlines in climate talks