The agenda has dogged UN climate talks as the top official sees a chance to ask ‘tough questions’ in Dubai

BERLIN — Nations resumed talks on Monday to tackle global warming in a bid to reach a global deal to prevent a dangerous rise in temperatures, as the UN’s climate chief called for deep cuts in fossil fuel use.

Diplomats began two weeks of talks in Bonn, Germany, despite failing to agree on a formal agenda due to disagreements over how to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The problem is at the heart of the climate problem, as the burning of oil, coal and gas is responsible for most of the warming since pre-industrial times.

Simon Stiell, the head of the UN climate agency, told The Associated Press over the weekend that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) would require a phase-out of fossil fuels, which many oil-producing countries have pushed back. .

Environmental campaigners have lamented that this year’s UN climate summit will be held in the United Arab Emirates, a major fossil fuel exporter, and chaired by the chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. The host nation rejected this criticism.

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Stiell said the meeting of leaders in Dubai in the fall should be seen as an opportunity.

“We have a chairman (for the talks) who has significant experience in the oil and gas sector, in an oil and gas producing country,” he told reporters in Bonn. “It gives you the opportunity to ask very difficult questions, but also to look for very difficult but necessary answers.”

Asked about limiting the presence of fossil fuel lobbyists, Stiell said his office is looking at ways to provide more transparency based on the experience of previous meetings, known in U.N. parlance as the conference of the parties, or COP.

“Some measures may be put in place before the next COP to ensure the transparency and integrity of the process,” he said, without elaborating.

Stiell said failure to agree on the agenda at the start of the technical talks in Bonn was “not desirable, but not rare”.

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“There will be discussions with the parties about the unresolved agenda items. But the important thing is that the work has begun,” he said, adding that he hoped negotiators from nearly 200 countries could “cooperate productively and constructively.”

When asked how important it is to use fossil fuels, Stiell said “the science is clear.”

“Having emissions in half by 2030 and reaching ‘net zero’ by 2050 requires deep cuts and reductions, phasing out and stopping all fossil fuels,” he said.

He welcomed the sharp increase in renewable energy production, the unprecedented level of investment in recent years, and the use of solar and wind energy.

“That’s one half of the equation,” Stiell said. “But the other requires a deep reduction in fossil fuel production and consumption, and we’re not seeing that.”