In a letter leaked to news organizations this week, OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais urged member nations to reject any agreement from the U.N. climate summit targeting fossil fuels rather than emissions.

In the letter dated Wednesday referencing a draft agreement on climate change action at the 28th U.N. climate conference — known as COP28 — in Dubai, the OPEC leader said, “It seems that the undue and disproportionate pressure against fossil fuels may reach a tipping point with irreversible consequences.”

The letter goes on to say, “I … respectfully urge all esteemed OPEC Member Countries and Non-OPEC Countries participating in the CoC and their distinguished delegations in the COP 28 negotiations to proactively reject any text or formula that targets energy i.e. fossil fuels rather than emissions.”

The contents of the letter were reported Friday by multiple news organizations, including Agence France-Presse, Reuters and Bloomburg, which verified the letter’s authenticity. OPEC declined when asked to comment.

The reports come as negotiations among 197 countries on a final climate summit agreement are underway ahead of a deadline Tuesday, when the conference is scheduled to end.

Fossil fuels — oil, coal and natural gas — have been a focus of the discussions since COP28 opened last week, with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calling for an end to their use.

At least 80 countries have called for a COP28 deal that calls for an eventual end to fossil fuel use, as scientists urge ambitious action to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

The focus is on meeting the goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement: keeping global temperature increase this century less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

At Friday’s climate summit plenary session, COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber, from OPEC member nation and summit host United Arab Emirates, said, once again, that a shift away from fossil fuels is “inevitable” and “essential.” He added, though, that any energy transition “must be orderly and responsible.”

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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