Climate Change

US being biggest oil & gas producer should provide finance package for energy transition at COP28: Civil society

US cannot call out other countries for not phasing out at the same time as them, say activists from developing countries

By Rohini Krishnamurthy
Published: Tuesday 12 December 2023
Climate Action Network International action at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 at Expo City Dubai on December 12, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by COP28 / Christopher Edralin)

Civil society groups have demanded that the United States, the largest producer of oil and gas, along with other wealthy nations deliver a financial package that can support energy transition in developing nations at the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The COP28 Presidency received flak for its December 11 draft text on the Global Stocktake (GST) for removing a reference to a phaseout of fossil fuels and replacing it with “reducing” fossil fuels by, before, or around 2050.

“We have seen a number of countries have been very coy, and the US is one of them. The US has not been clear and is hiding behind oil and gas countries,” Romain Loualalen, global policy campaign manager at Oil Change International said at a press briefing on December 12. Australia, too, is a blocker, said Joseph Sikulu, Pacific regional managing director at

Civil society groups hope to see three major elements in the energy package: Phaseout of fossil fuels by 2030, adequate finance from developed to poor countries and asking rich countries to transition first and fastest.

Without providing finance and technical know-how, developing nations cannot make the transition.  

For now, Jean Lu, energy justice director of the Center for Biological Diversity, hopes to see a commitment for financial support in the draft. “We have to work out the quantity of funding and financial instruments best suited for this purpose,” Lu, board co-chair of Climate Action Network International, told Down To Earth.

Others pointed out hypocrisy among developed nations. “The US cannot call out other countries for not phasing out at the same time as them. It’s immoral,” Thuli Makama, Oil Change International’s Africa campaign director, said at a press conference.

Countries that most benefited economically from the climate crisis, she added, should contribute more to phasing out and funding. We need a fully-funded phaseout and transition, added Makama.

The US accounts for more than a third of the expansion of new and planned global oil and gas production by 2050. The country has the highest cumulative carbon dioxide emissions from 1850-2021, according to an analysis by Carbon Brief.

“How can our US decision-makers tell us they are negotiating fossil fuel phaseout while expanding oil at the same time,” Melanie Oldham, founder and director of Better Brazoria Clean Air & Water, said at the press conference.

More than 100 countries have endorsed the reference to fossil fuel phaseout in the text. Last week, a leaked letter accessed by media showed OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais urging member countries in the OPEC+ group to reject any COP28 deal targeting fossil fuels.

“Our view is that it should have phaseout of fossil fuel, or there is no way of getting to the north star of 1.5C,” said Stephen Cornelius, deputy global leader (Climate and Energy), World Wildlife Fund for Nature, at a press conference by the organisation. 

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