COP28: Global nations agree landmark deal to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels

Some reactions to the COP28 decision have been mixed since the final consensus does not include the ‘phase out’ of fossil fuels

Big Zero Report 2023

A landmark agreement for a global “transition away” from fossil fuels has been reached by countries at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

Speaking at the conference this morning, COP President Dr Sultan Al Jaber, who labelled it as the “UAE consensus”, said the world “needed to find a new way” and that the new path has been found.

He added: “We have delivered a comprehensive response to the Global Stocktake and all other mandates. Together, we have confronted realities and we have set the world in the right direction. We have given it a robust action plan to keep 1.5 within reach.

“It is a plan that is led by science, it is a balanced plan that tackles emissions, bridges the gap on adaptation, reimagines global finance and delivers on loss and damage. It is built on common ground, it is strengthened by full inclusivity and it is reinforced by collaboration.

“It is an enhanced, balanced – but no mistake – historic package to accelerate climate action. It is the UAE consensus.”

 

Officials from around the globe said the deal is vital towards ending the use of fossil fuels and fight climate change.

UK Energy Security and Net Zero Minister Graham Stuart, who made it back to the summit after flying back to London yesterday, welcomed the unanimous approval of the agreement.

He added: “My thanks to COP President Sultan Al-Jaber for steering us to this historic agreement, keeping 1.5 alive & specifying fossil fuel use for the first time ever.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres believes the era of fossil fuel “must end – and it must end with justice & equity”.

 

He said: “To those who opposed a clear reference to phase out of fossil fuels during the #COP28 Climate Conference, I want to say:

“Whether you like it or not, fossil fuel phase out is inevitable. Let’s hope it doesn’t come too late.”

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission also welcomed the “successful conclusion” of the COP28 climate summit to accelerate emissions reductions towards net zero by 2050.

 

She said: “We have agreed on reducing global emissions by 43% by 2030, in line with the best available science, to keep 1.5 Celsius within reach. This will keep us on track with the goals of the Paris Agreement and speed up the transition to a cleaner and healthier economy.

“I am delighted that the goals of the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, which we brought to the COP, have also been translated into the outcome of the Global Stocktake. The world has committed to tripling renewable energy capacity and doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030. This gives powerful momentum to the transition away from fossil fuels. It is also important that we have an agreement to tackle methane emissions and other non-CO2 emissions in this decade.”

While there have been positive reactions from government officials, some other reactions to the COP28 decision have been mixed since the final consensus does not include “phase out” for fossil fuels.

Climate Analytics tweeted: “The absence of a fossil fuel phase out is victory for oil and gas producing countries and exporters, but it is likely to be pyrrhic victory that poses serious problems for limit warming to 1.5C.”

 

Climate Action Network International (CAN) added the new path to transition away from fossil fuels is “marred by lack of finance and loopholes”.

Harjeet Singh, Head of global political strategy at CAN said: “After decades of evasion, COP28 finally cast a glaring spotlight on the real culprits of the climate crisis: fossil fuels. A long-overdue direction to move away from coal, oil and gas has been set.

“Yet, the resolution is marred by loopholes that offer the fossil fuel industry numerous escape routes, relying on unproven, unsafe technologies. The hypocrisy of wealthy nations, particularly the US, as they continue to expand fossil fuel operations massively while merely paying lip service to the green transition, stands exposed.”

 

The Catholic International Development Charity (CAFOD) added: “The summit has confirmed what we need to do with an explicit reference to a world without fossil fuels and support to the most vulnerable communities through the agreement of a loss & damage fund.

“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 with less funding to support the poorest and most vulnerable communities.”

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