Wales Green Party leader says COP28 deal highlights need for action from UK Government
Wales Green Party leader Anthony Slaughter has said the compromise deal struck at the Cop28 climate conference highlights the need for “urgent action” from the UK Government.
The final agreement proposed on Wednesday, after the Dubai summit was scheduled to finish, calls for the world to wean itself off planet-warming fossil fuels, but it stops short of calling for them to be phased out.
Instead, the text calls for “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade”.
The word “oil” does not feature in the 21-page document which mentions “fossil fuels” twice.
Climate groups have labelled the proposed final agreement a “catastrophe” and “severely flawed”.
Climate Minister Graham Stuart was criticised for flying back from the COP28 conference in Dubai to take part in a crunch Commons vote on the UK government’s Rwanda bill this week.
Mr Slaughter told Nation.Cymru that he felt the deal was “disappointing” and he accused the UK Government of being more interested in playing “power games” with the Rwanda Bill instead of worrying about the future of the planet.
Mr Slaughter said: “The disappointing compromise deal agreed at the COP28 summit in Dubai highlights the need for urgent and meaningful action from the UK government to meet crucial climate targets in tackling this global crisis.
“The world is burning and we need governments at every level in the UK to ramp up ambitions and action at the scale and pace needed.
“Seeing the UK climate change minister, Graham Stuart, flying back to London during the final crucial stages of the COP negotiations to vote on the cynical and performative Rwanda Bill showed the world a Conservative government more concerned with its own internal power games than the future of the planet.
“While recognising the need for a transition away from fossil fuels the COP agreement falls far short of the fair and equitable phase out of fossil fuels that the climate crisis demands and offers market solutions that will only reinforce global inequalities. This was reflected in the groundswell of calls for meaningful action from across the world in Dubai. At least 127 counties called for or endorsed a decision to phase out fossil fuels.
“The agreement also falls short on the need for a meaningful loss and damage fund. Climate justice demands that the richer nations provide sufficient funding to support poorer countries through the climate crisis and the necessary transition.
“Now is the time for action. Action that ensures we avoid the worst of the climate emergency while creating a safer, cleaner, fairer future for all. Now is not the time for incremental steps. The best time to phase out fossil fuels was decades ago, the next best time is right now. Anything less is a betrayal of future generations.”
The Climate Minister has denied that his temporary absence from the Cop28 negotiations during its most critical stage meant the UK was not playing a major part in the talks.
Speaking to BBC News in Dubai, Mr Stuart said: “The UK has, as ever in this space, been absolutely central to the outcomes and the most notable outcome of all, which is this global stocktake text.
“I was awake for a number of hours in constant contact with my team and of course my very able colleague, Lord Benyon, was here as well.
“So we were here fully on the ground, fully in touch and all decisions came through me and I’m just delighted with the contribution the UK has been able to make to what is an historic agreement today.”
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