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COP28 day two: what is the ‘Building Block’ project?

Negotiators have begun to address one of the most important tasks of COP28, the global stocktake assessment process.

An aerial view of Dubai, which is hosting the COP28 climate talks (Photo credit: Adobe Stock/Rastislav Sedlak)

A 12-page draft was issued at COP28 in Dubai on Friday, which represents an initial assessment or preliminary guidance on the topics that need to be discussed regarding the global stocktake and to establish building blocks for implementing solutions to climate problems.

Countries are “collectively not on track” to slow global warming to 1.5 degrees, says a preliminary text released on Dec. 1st – a 12-page ‘Building Block’ that is sure to undergo several revisions over the next two weeks.

The draft aims to leave the space open for discussion on the controversial energy issue, while opening other topics for discussion, including the phasing out of fossil fuels and the elimination of new coal. It also puts the use of gas under the microscope, in addition to proposing its replacement with renewable energy sources.

Tom Evans of think tank E3G said the draft was a “useful building block for the upcoming negotiations.” He added that there are many controversial talks awaiting the negotiators at COP28.

Global stocktake

Building Block was created to support the assessment of the global stocktake and employ it in an actual response that can be implemented on the ground, after reaching gradual implementative decisions.

The Building Block project provides a step-by-step approach to reaching a political outcome. It includes several options for addressing one of the thorniest issues at the summit: determining whether fossil fuels should play a role in the future, to what extent they should or should not be used in daily global production, and what should be their replacement.

One of the provisions of the draft includes international commitments to reduce the use of fossil fuels, stop using coal power and triple renewable energy capacity by 2030.

On Nov. 30, the President of COP28, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, urged countries to work with oil companies to reach common ground, explaining that the inclusion of fossil fuel companies in COP28 talks is necessary to solve the climate crisis and to develop a decisive reduction plan for fossil fuel consumption. Also up for discussion is whether provisions for carbon capture and removal technology should be included.

Those pushing to agree a formula on phasing out fossil fuels “will be encouraged to see that clearly in this first draft,” said Simon Evans of the energy website Carbon Brief.

Talks are still ongoing at the COP28 summit, in the hope of reaching a final decision that will put an amended future draft into effect.

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