Irish environment minister says EU could walk away from Cop28 talks

Ireland’s environment minister Eamon Ryan, who is a lead European Union negotiator on climate finance, has said the first draft text from the Cop28 Presidency is unacceptable and that the EU could walk away from the talks if it is not improved.

Mr Ryan said the wording of the text will have to reworked for the deal to be agreed in Dubai.

He singled out paragraph 39 which talks about the “need for deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gases”, but with a call to parties to take action that “could” include a range of measures including “phasing down unabated coal” and “accelerating technologies” like carbon capture and storage.

In a statement, he said: “We can’t accept this text. It’s not anywhere near ambitious enough. It’s not broad enough. It’s not what parties have been calling for.

“If we start with paragraph 39 which goes to the heart of whether we phase out fossil fuel, that one word ‘could’ just kills everything. We can’t have a get out of jail card for the fossil fuel industry and the current text would give them that.”

Mr Ryan added: “We have to hugely strengthen the finance sections. We need to phase up the opportunities to invest in renewables, particularly in the developing world.

“However, above all, we need clear mechanisms for implementation so that we can begin to work on changing the global financial systems to incentivise investment in renewable energy systems and in adaptation like water supplies and climate smart agriculture.

“These are critical for developing countries. We have to stitch climate justice into every part of this text and we are not anywhere near that yet.”