A draft Cop28 deal that allowed countries to “consider reducing fossil fuel use” has prompted anger and disappointment.
Delegations from the UK, the EU, the US and island states threatened by rising sea levels expressed frustration at the way language had been watered down.
Released on the penultimate day of the talks yesterday, the draft referred to “reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels”.
Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, chairman of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and president of Cop28, claimed that the document marked a “huge step forward”.
All 198 countries at the summit must agree or there is no deal.
A new amended version of the text is expected to be issued today so that negotiations can continue.
A representative for the European Union called the draft "unacceptable" and said the bloc could walk away.
A UK Government spokesman said: “This draft is disappointing and does not go far enough. The UK position is clear: there must be a phase out of unabated fossil fuels to meet our climate goals.”
Sir Alok Sharma, the Tory MP who chaired the UN climate summit in Glasgow two years ago, said: “It is difficult to see how this text will help to achieve the deep and rapid cut in emissions we need by 2030 to keep 1.5C alive.”
António Guterres, the UN secretary-general, flew back to Dubai to tell delegates that its success would mean “consensus on the need to phase out fossil fuels”.
He said: “That doesn’t mean that all countries must phase out fossil fuels at the same time.”