Amnesty: COP28 agreement marred by UAE’s contempt for human rights

Amnesty: COP28 agreement marred by UAE's contempt for human rights

COP28 in Dubai has agreed on the need to move away from fossil fuels for the first time at the end of a climate summit marred by restrictions on civil society and the United Arab Emirates’ “blatant contempt” for human rights, Amnesty International said.

The headline COP28 agreement on the Global Stocktake to “transition away” from fossil fuels for energy is the first time that fossil fuels have been mentioned in COP decisions. It recognises their role as drivers of the climate crisis and the harm that they are inflicting on the climate and environment, and gives a strong signal that their phase out is inevitable and underway.

“COP28 has for the first time signalled the need to move away from fossil fuels which is testament to the people-powered campaign that has pushed for this for decades. Yet the outcome leaves loopholes allowing fossil fuel producers and states to continue with business as usual, and so falls short of what is needed to protect the rights of billions of people facing climate harms,” said Amnesty International’s programme director of climate, economic and social justice and corporate accountability, Marta Schaaf.

“The lack of adequate commitments on funding by developed countries to help other states adapt to the harmful impacts of climate change, is wholly inadequate and leaves Indigenous peoples, frontline communities and other marginalised groups in jeopardy.”

An earlier agreement at COP on how to manage the Loss and Damage Fund which is aimed at providing effective remedies for communities experiencing the most severe adverse impacts of climate change was also “undermined” by the low amounts of financing committed so far.

Amnesty International’s climate advisor Ann Harrison said: “It is deeply worrying that the final agreement reflects fossil fuel fairy tales that unproven technologies like carbon capture and storage, which do not yet exist, will somehow provide the answer to global warming.

“The emphasis on ‘transitional fuels’ role in the energy transition and weak language on phasing out fossil fuel subsidies effectively gives the fossil fuel industry a waiver to keep expanding production.”

COP28 was further marred by the UAE government’s double standards and contempt for human rights both within and outside the global conference, Amnesty said. Instead of releasing scores of critics it has detained, and showing that it was willing to host an inclusive summit, it began a new mass trial of dissidents on terrorism charges.

Ms Harrison said: “The self-interest of the UAE, an OPEC member, and its brazen violations of human rights, sullied COP28 and helped facilitate, once again, the fossil fuel industry’s attempts to capture a UN summit.

“This included installing Sultan Al Jaber, the chief executive of the UAE’s state oil and gas company, who questions established climate science and was prepared to use UN meetings to promote his fossil fuel interests, as COP president.”

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