The issue of oil, gas and coal subsidies became a major “point of contention” at the summit, as negotiators had already missed a deadline, Friday, to reach an agreement aimed at preventing global warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to Reuters.
Drafts of the agreement, negotiated over the past two weeks, revealed that some governments had asked to stop subsidies for fossil fuels, which scientists say is one of the causes of climate change.
US special climate envoy John Kerry told summit participants on Friday that trying to curb global warming at a time when governments were spending hundreds of billions of dollars on fuel subsidies was “crazy”.
Other Western countries, including European Union member states and Britain, are pressing to keep the “repeal” of fossil fuel subsidies in any potential deal.
The two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the talks, said China and Saudi Arabia were pressing to delete the reference.
Reuters’ attempts to reach the Saudi and Chinese delegations to comment on this were unsuccessful.
China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and also produces oil and coal.
Last week, China announced a joint agreement with the United States at the Glasgow summit on combating climate change, including accelerating the phase-out of coal this decade and reducing methane emissions.
Saudi Arabia is a major oil producer and the de facto head of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), according to Reuters.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud told conference participants last week that the climate change agreement should not target any specific source of energy, and said emissions could be reduced by other means.
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