The European Union supports a call by India to phase down fossil fuel use as part of a COP27 deal, the bloc's climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said on Tuesday, provided it does not weaken previous agreements on reducing the use of coal.
India wants countries to agree to phase down all fossil fuels at the U.N. climate summit in Egypt, rather than a narrower deal to phase down coal that was agreed at COP26 last year.
"We are in support of any call to phase down all fossil fuels," Timmermans told a news conference.
"But we also have to make sure that this call does not diminish the earlier agreements we had on phasing down coal, so if it comes on top of what we already agreed in Glasgow, then the EU will support in this proposal."
India was among the countries resistant to efforts to eliminate coal at last year's climate talks in Glasgow when the final deal at the last minute dropped wording calling for a phase-out of coal-fired power, replacing it with a phase down.
A wider push to phase down use of all fossil fuels would put oil and gas consumers and producers in the spotlight, as well as those countries that rely on coal.
The Egyptian COP27 Presidency on Monday night released a two-page sketch of what could become a deal, featuring bullet points outlining many of the issues countries have asked be included - some of which have deeply divided nations.
The document did not refer to fossil fuels, although a COP Presidency spokesperson later said the list was not exhaustive and did not contain the language that would be used in the final version.
(Reuters - Reporting by Kate Abnett and William James; editing by Dominic Evans and Barbara Lewis)