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UAE bats in favor of fossil fuels, suggests cutting emissions instead

The UAE suggests using carbon capture and storage to reduce carbon emissions, rather than phase out fossil fuels

The United Arab Emirates has pushed back in favour of conventional sources of energy, suggesting countries agree to phase out emissions rather than fossil fuels.

Countries should agree to phase out fuel emissions, and not the production of oil, gas and coal, the UAE's climate change and environment minister Mariam Almheiri told Reuters.

Almheiri said she agreed with the need to ramp up renewable energy, but favored phasing out fossil fuel emissions using capture and storage technologies. Such a strategy would allow countries to fight global warming while continuing to produce oil, gas, and coal, she said.

"The renewable space is advancing and accelerating extremely fast, but we are nowhere near to be able to say that we can switch off fossil fuels and solely depend on clean and renewable energy," Almheiri said, adding, "We are now in a transition and this transition needs to be just and pragmatic because not all countries have the resources."

The UAE is hosting UN climate change negotiations in December this year, and the emirates' position highlights a deep divide between countries in the roadmap to green energy.

Richer Western governments and island nations affected by climate change want to phase out fossil fuels completely, while resource-rich countries are campaigning to keep drilling citing their economic dependence.

Last year's, at the climate summit held in Egypt, over 80 countries – including the EU and small island nations – agreed to call for a phase down of all fossil fuels in the final outcome. However, nations such as Saudi Arabia and China urged Egypt not to include such language. 

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