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The problem with every country's promise to phase out fossil fuels

Last week, world leaders celebrated a climate first: a call by nearly 200 countries to "transition away" from fossil fuels. Many heralded the agreement as a new phase in climate talks and the beginning of the end of fossil fuels. But beneath the U.N. agreement lies a darker truth: No fossil fuel company or country has a real plan for phasing out fossil fuels. On the contrary, almost all expect to continue extracting coal, oil and gas far into the future — far beyond what is needed to cut emissions in line with climate goals of keeping global warming to 1.5 C, or even 2 C. And part of the reason is that almost every country and company sees itself in a unique position: as the future last producer of fossil fuels.

December 20, 2023

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