FILE PHOTO: Activists demonstrate with a sign that says “phase out fossil fuels” at the COP28 United Nations Climate Summit, Tuesday, December 12, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

BACOLOD CITY — Catholic Church leaders in the country have called on global leaders to end the proliferation of fossil fuels and help prevent worse suffering for the poor and vulnerable people most affected by climate change.

The move was made during the Conference of the Parties (COP) 28 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, said Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos in Negros Occidental.

“Thousands of us came to COP28 with the hope that it would deliver the climate action we all so desperately seek. Our young people and vulnerable communities also spoke out courageously. But the latest global reckoning is destroying that hope,” said Alminaza, chairman of the Laudato Si' National Program of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

READ: COP 28 adopts the world's first 'transition' away from fossil fuels

He particularly cited the phase-out of fossil fuels, in line with the best available climate science.

“Our global leaders have a moral duty to use the remaining hours of this climate conference to take 1.5°C-compatible actions and announce a complete and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels,” said Alminaza.

“Now is your opportunity to make the courageous decision to pursue the global common good above your national interests. We are running out of time,” she added.

Climate advocates said the COP 28 climate summit could be on the brink of failure after a new draft of the main agreement eliminated the call for phasing out fossil fuels, the main driver of the climate crisis.

READ: COP 28: Big differences over the future of planet-warming fossil fuels

Instead, the bill used watered-down language about fossil fuels, an apparent concession to oil-producing nations that opposed the measure.

Father Edwin Gariguez, Goldman Prize winner and lead organizer of the Protect Verde Island Passage (Protect VIP) network in the Philippines, said world leaders must keep the best interests of people and nature in mind when making final decisions.

“The sooner we phase out fossil fuels, the sooner our communities will be free from their deadly impacts and our waters and seas can recover from pollution,” he said.

READ: COP28 heads into overtime as draft fossil fuel deal divides nations

Gariguez said phasing out all fossil fuels will help ensure that future generations can have a fighting chance and ensure the survival and sustainability of creation.

More than 100 countries participated in the Dubai talks and supported the proposal to phase out fossil fuels.

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COP conferences are intended for governments to agree on policies to limit global temperature rise and adapt to the impacts associated with climate change.