The Cop28 conference has reached a significant agreement to shift away from using fossil fuels.
The Cop28 agreement, which was just passed, urges countries to begin gradually reducing their use of fossil fuels. However, it does not have the power to make them do so. Small island nations, who are at the greatest risk from the effects of the climate emergency, argue that the agreement has many loopholes that will hinder efforts to significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming under 1.5C compared to pre-industrial levels.
This agreement has several issues. Underdeveloped nations still require an additional amount of funding in the billions to aid in their shift away from fossil fuels. Developed countries and oil-producing nations will not be obligated to act at the pace recommended by climate science.
The United States will not face severe consequences from this international agreement, as they have only committed to providing slightly more than $20 million in new funding for developing countries. Additionally, they will maintain their status as the top producer of oil and gas worldwide. Meanwhile, China will still increase their coal production and invest in renewable energy, while India’s coal industry will not be significantly impacted.
However, despite its flaws, this agreement was met with immense resistance from the countries that produce oil globally. Saudi Arabia attempted to eliminate any mention of fossil fuels, and then attempted to include mentions of carbon capture and storage, a technology it claims to support but oddly does not invest in. Russia worked behind the scenes to sabotage advancements, and is expected to do so even more next year when the Cop takes place in Baku, Azerbaijan.
As the final session of Cop28 begins, just a day after it was supposed to end, there is a widespread sense that this agreement marks a significant step forward for nations seeking to address the urgent issue of climate change. It is imperative that the world sees this as a call to move away from reliance on fossil fuels before it’s too late.
The cop document tracker is indicating a significant number of items in red, which could mean they have not been completely updated. It seems that many tracks have not yet released draft texts or those drafts have not been approved.
My coworker, Fiona Harvey, states that there is typically a lot of additional tasks that accompany the main decisions. This is to be expected. However, the number of decisions being postponed or not yet finalized is uncommon. There were many other technical matters being addressed, but a majority of them have been put on hold.
According to her observation, there was a recurring delay in making decisions about the rule book following the Paris Agreement, which continued for years until Cop26.
The influential Stern report on financing for climate change has provided its thoughts on the outcome of Cop28.
The findings of the worldwide stocktake clearly indicate that the world is severely deviating from achieving the objectives set by the Paris agreement. Not reaching the goals outlined in the agreement would put the world in a precarious position.
The historic agreement reached today holds significant value. The decision made on the global stocktake marks the first time in a United Nations climate change summit that the need to shift away from all fossil fuels and towards cleaner options, specifically renewable energy, has been explicitly recognized. It is evident that this transition must take place on a global scale and with great urgency. While the wording of the decision may not meet everyone’s expectations, it is apparent that this shift must be robust and immediate in order to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions worldwide by 2050.
Governments must take action following Cop28 by significantly increasing their investments in sustainable economic development and growth, with a focus on zero-emissions and climate-resilient initiatives, especially in developing nations. The Global Stocktake decision highlights the importance of mobilizing trillions of dollars towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving adaptation and resilience, and addressing loss and damage.
The objectives of the Paris agreement cannot be achieved without a significant and prompt rise in funding, specifically in emerging markets and developing nations.
The recognition by Cop28 that the climate crisis is essentially a fossil fuel crisis is a significant achievement. However, it is only the minimum requirement and has been long overdue. The influence of petrostates is still evident in the final agreement, which includes half-hearted measures and loopholes. Although fossil fuel interests heavily influenced the outcome, the dedication of countless climate activists worldwide inspired and encouraged delegates from various countries to resist their control. Whether this marks a pivotal moment in the decline of the fossil fuel industry depends on the subsequent actions taken and the availability of funds to support them.
Omar Elmawi, Africa Movement Building Space:
Suggesting a shift towards alternative energy sources may seem like a positive move, a ray of optimism in a chaotic situation. However, we must not underestimate the clever tactics of companies and countries that heavily depend on fossil fuels. They will try to market their products as “transitional” fuels, particularly in areas that are most susceptible. Despite this, we must acknowledge the progress we have made. Even the previously steadfast fossil fuel companies and nations are now facing the undeniable truth – a world without their harmful influence.
Boeve, the director of 350.org:
“We have been driven by the strength of the people to the threshold of a historic moment, but our leaders have failed to take the necessary steps towards the future we require. It is disheartening that after 30 years of advocacy, the phrase ‘transition from fossil fuels’ was included in the Cop28 text, but it is accompanied by numerous loopholes that make it inadequate and ineffective.”
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who currently works at WWF and previously served as the President of the Cop20, stated:
Despite facing challenges, the Earth is not giving up. At Cop28, nations have reached an agreement to shift away from using fossil fuels, but have not yet come to a consensus on completely phasing out coal, oil, and gas. However, we are still far from reaching our goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C and avoiding the severe consequences of the climate emergency. During this crucial period, it is imperative for all countries to increase their determination and execution of measures to combat climate change.
Ani Dasgupta, president of the World Resources Institute:
After years of avoiding attention, fossil fuels were finally held accountable at the UN climate talks. This significant result signifies the start of the decline of the fossil fuel industry. Despite strong resistance from oil and gas companies, countries with ambitious goals bravely held firm and determined the fate of fossil fuels. The next crucial challenge is to secure more funding for developing countries to aid in the transition to clean energy. The upcoming climate summit in Azerbaijan has the potential to be a monumental event, as it could mark the shift from billions to trillions in climate finance.
The Cop28 decision can be described as a mixture of opinions.
Climate Analytics scientist Bill Hare:
“In general, the text appears to be a significant success for countries that produce oil and gas and export fossil fuels.” He notes that the main issues with the text are:
There is no obligation to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.
no commitment to peak emissions by 2025
text [on carbon capture etc] that opens the door to false solutions at scale
Gas exporters have been promoting the term “transitional fuels” as a code for gas.
Harjeet Singh, leader of worldwide political planning at Climate Action Network International.
“For years, Cop28 avoided addressing the true cause of the climate emergency: fossil fuels. Finally, there is a call to shift away from coal, oil, and gas, but the resolution is flawed with loopholes that provide many ways for the fossil fuel industry to escape responsibility. These loopholes rely on untested and unsafe technologies. The double standard of wealthy countries, specifically the US, is evident as they continue to heavily invest in fossil fuels while only paying lip service to transitioning to renewable energy.”
Neil Thorns, CAFOD’s director of advocacy:
“Cop28 has confirmed what we need to do with an explicit reference to a world without fossil fuels. But with little new funding, the ‘how’ this happens in a fair and rapid way to support the needs of low-income countries whose populations are suffering from the climate crisis is far from clear. It risks pushing those countries further into a debt crisis.”
At the ODI global think tank, Michael Jacobs stated.
“It is a compromise, but the effort to eliminate the use of fossil fuels is undoubtedly gaining momentum. The focus will now shift to the national emissions plans that are expected to be released by 2025. The decision made here will only serve as a guide, putting pressure on governments to fulfill this agreement within the next two years, driven by public demand.”
Graham Stuart, the UK’s climate change minister, has made it back to the plenary just in time after flying back to London yesterday. He says: “Establishing a fund to deal with loss and damage was long overdue – the UK was pleased to contribute to that fund.”
He continued, stating that this marks the start of the decline of the fossil fuel era. The concerns of the small island states have been acknowledged and their voices need to be heard.
However, according to him, the global community has come together to make shared efforts in transitioning away from the use of fossil fuels.
“We have reason to truly celebrate this result.”
Colombia’s environment minister, Susana Muhamad, is responding to the plenary.
“I would like to extend my greetings and gratitude to the presidency and the UAE for their dedication and highly skilled team. Your efforts have been outstanding. Your actions were carried out in good faith, with the goal of bringing the parties together.”
The text highlights the political situation of this meeting. President Petro characterizes the battle of this era as being between fossil capital and life. We engaged in a lively debate that resulted in progress, but there are still potential challenges that could hinder our goal of achieving 1.5C. This is the first instance where science has significantly impacted the Cop’s decision-making process,” she states. “I encourage scientists to persist in their diligent efforts globally, as it is paving the way for new opportunities.”
“The existence of loopholes can weaken the determination of political leaders. Currently, the financial portion of the document lacks the necessary economic measures for a thorough transition… The production of fossil fuels must decrease. The extraction frontier must come to a halt,” she declares to a round of applause.
“We have a limited time of 6 years to demonstrate our ability to turn our written agreements into tangible actions. I would like to extend my gratitude to the youth and indigenous activists at this Cop, and I stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine.”
The delegate from Turkey has spoken and stated that “we have observed a highly successful event in all aspects.”
The speaker expressed joy in announcing that Cop29 will take place in Azerbaijan next year. They also mentioned that the first IPCC meeting of the year will be held in Istanbul in January, highlighting the significance placed on addressing climate change.
In conclusion, he repeats Turkey’s proposal to hold Cop31.