COP28: Climate summit agreement makes unprecedented call to transition from fossil fuels, but includes loopholes


The world agreed A new climate deal After two weeks of tough talks at the COP28 summit in Dubai on Wednesday, he made an unprecedented call to transition away from fossil fuels, but used vague language that could allow some countries to take minimal action.

Cavalier struck a deal known as the Global Stocktake in the morning after marathon negotiations between bitter nations over the future role of oil, gas and coal pushed the talks into overtime.

COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber called the deal “historic” in his speech before national delegates at the final session ratifying the deal. “Our final agreement includes language on fossil fuels for the first time,” he said, adding that the deal represents “a paradigm shift that could redefine our economies.”

Some countries said the agreement marked the end of the fossil fuel era, but more ambitious countries and climate advocates said it still did not go far enough. The growing urgency of the climate crisis.

“The long-standing calls to end fossil fuels have gone down on paper in black and white at this COP,” said Jean Su, director of energy justice at the Center for Biological Diversity, “but caveats could undermine this turning point.”

The agreement falls short of requiring the world to “phase out” of oil, coal and gas, which more than 100 countries and several climate groups had called for, as included in an earlier version of the draft.

Instead, the agreement calls on countries to “contribute” to global efforts to reduce carbon pollution, offering a number of options, one of which is “to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems … accelerating action in this critical decade, to reach net zero by 2050.”

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COP28 is defined by the end of a year of unprecedented global warming, which has driven deadly extreme weather. Record wildfires, Deadly heat waves And A catastrophic flood. This year is official The hottest on recordNext year will be even hotter, thanks to a combination of human-caused global warming and El Niño.

The conference in Dubai was marred by controversy and criticism Oil interests influenced the negotiations.

Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

Licipria Gangujam, a tribal climate activist from India, holds a protest sign during the talks on December 11, 2023, before the agreement was signed.

The conference saw deep divisions, with Saudi Arabia leading a group of oil-producing nations rejecting language on phasing out fossil fuels. On the other hand, more ambitious parties, including the European Union and the Group of Island States, expressed anger at an earlier draft with watertight language on fossil fuels.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said the rifts nearly derailed the convention as oil and gas-producing nations pushed back on fossil fuel language.

“I think there were times in the last 48 hours where some of us thought it was going to fail,” Kerry told reporters on Wednesday. But eventually they “stepped up and said, ‘This has to be successful.’

Kerry called the deal a victory and a vindication of multilateralism.

“We can all find a paragraph or sentences or clauses where we would have said differently,” he said in an earlier speech after the deal was agreed. But, he added, “a strong document put together is reason for hope, reason for gratitude and for some significant congratulations to everyone here.”

He said the agreement was “much stronger and clearer than what we’ve heard so far with the call of 1.5”, referring to the internally agreed ambition. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is above pre-industrial levels, beyond which humans and ecosystems will struggle to adapt, scientists say.

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“The message coming out of this COP is that we are moving away from fossil fuels,” Kerry said. “We’re not back.”

Many parties expressed disappointment and concern at how quickly Al-Jaber struck his cowl and accepted the draft agreement. Usually countries state their support or objections, and after discussion, agreement is reached.

“You make decisions and it seems that small island developing states are not in the room,” Anne Rasmussen, lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), told Al Jaber as they entered the room.

AOSIS, the intergovernmental organization of countries at risk from the climate crisis, is one of the most powerful voices at the annual climate talks.

AOSIS is “exceptionally concerned” about the deal, Rasmussen added. He said that while the text contained “many good elements”, the “necessary course correction has not yet been secured”.

03:45 – Source: CNN

This deceptively simple word may be the key to the survival of the planet

“It’s not enough for us to refer to the science and then make deals that ignore what the science says,” he said in his speech, which was met with applause from delegates.

Many climate experts, while cautiously welcoming the reference to fossil fuels in the deal, point to serious weaknesses, including leaving the door open to continued fossil fuel expansion.

Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at the non-profit Climate Action Network International, said, “After decades of evasion, COP28 finally brought a clear focus on fossil fuels, the real culprits of the climate crisis. A long-overdue shift away from coal, oil and gas has been set.

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But, he added, “the resolution is marred by loopholes that provide numerous escape routes for the fossil fuel industry to rely on unproven, unsafe technologies.”

His reference was to a controversial technology known as Carbon capture and storage – A collection of techniques that capture carbon pollution from power plants and air-polluting facilities and store it underground. This agreement should accelerate the technology.

Many scientists have expressed concern that carbon capture is unproven at scale, a distraction from policies to reduce fossil fuel use, and too expensive.

Some countries and experts have expressed concern over the agreement’s recognition of a role for “intermediate fuels” in the energy transition — often meaning natural gas, the planet-warming fossil fuel.

“We want to raise the alarm that alternative fuels will become permanent, especially in developing countries,” said the representative of Antigua and Barbuda.

There has also been criticism of the failure to ensure adequate funding is provided to the poorest, most climate-vulnerable countries to help them adapt to the growing impacts of the climate crisis and move their economies towards renewable energy.

While the agreement acknowledges that developing countries need more support, it contains no requirements for developed countries to provide more.

Developing countries are “still dependent on fossil fuels for energy, income and jobs, without concrete guarantees of adequate financial support,” Singh said.

Mohamed Addo, director of Power Shift Africa, said in a statement that the “change” in the deal was “neither financial nor reasonable”.

“We still don’t see enough funding to help developing countries decarbonize, and there should be high expectations for rich fossil fuel producers to exit first,” Adowe said.

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