After a slow start plagued by procedural issues in the Market Mechanism working group, an astonishing push by some oil producing countries gained a surprising amount of traction: Fossile fuel projects should now also be included under the SDM mechanism. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran are pushing for this particular proposal. They are supported by African nations and other developing countries. Benin for example, emphasised its support namely because investment in oil and gas is essential for their economic development.
The main opposition to the idea comes from the EU and Canada. They are supported by the European Wind Energy Association and IRENA that stated: “SDM are about the future. Fossile Fuels are about the past”
Some other countries however, did not take a strong position on the issue. Canada for example simply mentioned that “it is an important topic and we need to talk about it”
This approach may be problematic for the negotiations as a whole. According to climate expert Fukuyama “it is impossible to incorporate fossile fuels in the SDM if the world should reach the 1.5° target decided upon already.”
An even greater problem however is the role that the US is playing in these negotiations. They are in the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, and do not actively participate in the negotiations. As the US representative told Klima Anzeiger: “SDMs will not matter to us anymore”. Still, after some further questioning, the US delegate clarified that in reality “We [the US] support every country that supports fossile fuels”.
Confronted with this position, the Chinese delegate lost his temper. “The USA has a very unconstructive position. It is not surprising, but it is a pity that they don’t want to compromise for such an important issue”
During an unofficial gathering with the EU, China, Brazil and several other delegations, a proposal was prepared suggesting that fossile fuel projects should be supported under the SDM only if they increase the efficiency of existing infrastructures.
The UK delegate explained, that the EU would only support this in order to reach a general consensus in the negotiations and that they would not actually make use of this scheme considering that they do not believe it to be moving in the right direction.
However as of yet the issue is still unresolved. We are left with the question: Will COP 25 really result in the promotion of fossile fuels?