US Signs Onto Deal To Shift Away From Fossil Fuel Use At UN Climate Summit

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The U.S. signed a commitment to shift away from fossil fuels at the conclusion of this year’s United Nations (UN) climate summit, known as COP28, according to The New York Times.

Representatives for the U.S. and nearly 200 other countries signed onto the pledge, which calls for the world to pursue “transitioning away from fossil fuels,” according to the NYT. An agreement about the future use of fossil fuels was a highly contentious issue over the course of the conference, and representatives from some countries wanted the language to go further and explicitly call for a complete fossil fuel “phaseout.”

Numerous European and island countries pushed for the more ambitious version of the agreement, but states like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and India lobbied hard against any potential “phaseout” language, according to the NYT. The agreement stands as one of the major developments of COP28, which also saw developed countries, including the U.S., pledge hundreds of millions of dollars combined to a de facto international “climate reparations” fund. (RELATED: UN Climate Summit Includes Session On ‘Responsible Yachting’) 

The agreement is designed to accelerate the green energy transition in the coming years in a “just, orderly and equitable manner,” and to stop emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere altogether by 2050, according to the NYT. The pact also calls on countries to triple the installation of green energy by 2030 and to significantly reduce methane emissions in the near-term.

“I am in awe of the spirit of cooperation that has brought everybody together,” Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said of the agreement, according to Reuters.

It is unclear whether the deal’s signatories will actually follow through with the agreement’s stipulations, according to the NYT. Similar deals reached at past UN climate summits have not been followed; for example, in 2021, countries reached an agreement to “phase down” reliance on coal-fired power plants, but global coal demand is expected to reach record levels in 2023.

The agreement “really only has two goals: allow Joe Biden to continue his war on American energy and ensure these elitists have something to do before next year’s COP29 exclusive junket,” Daniel Turner, founder and director of Power The Future, said of the deal.

The White House, Kerry’s office and representatives for the UN did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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