India is leading a push for the COP27 climate summit to conclude with a decision on phasing down all fossil fuels, a move that would expand the focus from just coal, but is likely to raise strong concerns from oil and gas-reliant countries.
Indian negotiators formally called on the Egyptian Presidency of climate talks for the expanded language to be included in the cover text, a political statement of how countries will seek to tackle the climate crisis, according to people familiar with the matter.
The push stems largely from the coal-dependent country’s desire to not be singled out for its dependence on the dirty fossil fuel.
The request is likely to put India at odds with other countries within its “Like-Minded Group of Developing Countries” negotiating bloc, like China and Saudi Arabia, who have typically acted as a brake on more climate ambition.
There will also probably be concern that India’s push is an effort to muddy the waters in reducing fossil fuel use globally, by making it harder to track and compare progress.
“They don’t want to have singled-out emissions sources,” said Tom Evans, a policy adviser at climate think tank E3G.
“It would be the first ever mention of this kind of term, but at the same time, if it’s vague enough to leave too much leeway on what that exactly means, it opens the door to a blurring of the lines.”
The Egyptian COP27 Presidency had its first set of consultations on Saturday with countries over what they would like to see in any cover decision.
The Glasgow Climate Pact last year included a pledge by countries to “phase out” the use of unabated coal, before a last-minute push by China, India and the US to change it to “phase down.”
It is unclear as to what the cover decision is likely to include and how comprehensive it will be, but the desire to add something that shows the world hasn’t backpeddled on climate ambition will stoke fierce debate in the second week of talks.
The EU for example wants to see language on aligning all financial flows with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius after they failed last week to achieve an agenda item on the topic.
There could also be text on the need to double adaptation finance and wording on the key issue at this year’s summit: loss and damage.