COP28 Ends with World Realigned on Path to Scientific and Just Transition

The curtain over the 28th Annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (#COP28) finally closed in UAE on 13 December 2023, with 12 hours of overtime on the clock. The key point of the UAE Consensus revolves around the Scientific and #JustTransition to renewable energy sources and the commitment towards a swifter shift away from fossil fuels which is the main source of #GreenhouseGases causing #ClimateChange.

The Global StockTake (#GST) recognizes the science that #GreenhouseGases need to be cut by at least 43% by 2030 — with 2019 taken the baseline — to limit #GlobalWarming to 1.5C degrees. With regards to #FossilFuels, the purists pushed for outright ‘phasing out’ but the final text eventually settled for ‘transitioning away’ after intense lobbying from oil-producing countries. To get a measure of the historical breakthrough, it is worth noting that it took almost three decades for a #COP agreement to even mention oil and gas.

“This is clearly the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era.”

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell

The adopted text calls for “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve #NetZero by 2050 in keeping with science.”

In addition, in line with reaching the target of constraining #GlobalWarming within 1.5C degrees, the Parties agreed to the following:

  • Adopt more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (#NCC)
  • Triple renewable energy and double energy efficiency overall globally
  • Phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies
  • Phase down unabated coal power
  • Scale up #ClimateFinance

The Loss and Damage Fund (#LDF) even managed to rise to USD 700 million from USD 500 million on the first day of #COP28. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) receives a second replenishment from six countries, bringing pledges to nearly USD 13 billion.

Eight countries pledged more funds to the Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund, bringing the total to USD 174 million. The Adaptation Fund now stands at USD 188 million with more contributions expected.

However, the Small Islands States (#SIS) deplored the commitments did not go far enough given the impending existential threat they are facing. Other countries noted the positive step but deplored that the amount falls far short of what is actually needed for adaptation and mitigation.

“We have made a step forward … but it is an exponential change that we really needed.”

Small Islands States and Somoa Representative Anne Rasmussen

The world, and the developed nations in particular, must make good on their pledge to provide at least USD 100 billion annually to support #ClimateAction. Some OPEC countries highlighted the need to explore carbon capture and storage technologies as a mitigation measure against the burning of fossil fuels.

In his concluding remarks, COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber that was satisfied that the world has been able to ‘find a way’ and that his country played a key role in arriving at the #UAEConsensus.

“Over the last two weeks, we have worked very hard to secure a better future for our people and our planet. We should be proud of our historic achievement.”

COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber