From Beijing, climate envoy Xie Zhenhua stood firm against stronger rhetoric against coal, oil and gas deployed at UN headquarters
China’s climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said today that a global fossil fuel phase-out is unrealistic, dampening hopes that such an aim could be agreed at the Cop28 climate talks.
In a speech in Beijing today, the veteran negotiator said that “completely eliminating fossil energy is not realistic”, according to a translation provided by the Center for China and Globalization.
He said that renewable energy is dependent on the weather so “fossil fuels should serve as a flexible and back up energy source when technologies such as large-scale energy storage, electric power transmission, smart grids, microgrids are not yet fully mature”.
He added that the emissions which come from burning fossil fuels can be reduced with carbon capture and storage technology.
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This chimes with what Cop28 president Sultan Al-Jaber, the head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, has said about the world needing to phase out “fossil fuel emissions” rather than fossil fuels themselves.
‘Break the addiction’
But at a climate summit in New York yesterday, UN chief Antonio Guterres had stronger words. “[G20 countries] must break their addiction to fossil fuels, stop new coal, and he