COP28 in Dubai enters final week, negotiations ramp up on emissions cuts, fossil fuels
After a break, COP28 continues its work on Friday, also the day talks on an outcome text kick into high gear. Negotiators are aiming to agree on how to bolster emissions-cutting targets set by the Paris Agreement and what to do about the future of fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal.
UN climate chief Simon Stiell has said that the current draft of the text is “a grab bag of wish lists and heavy on posturing.” As such: “All governments must give their negotiators clear marching orders. We need highest ambition, not point scoring or lowest common denominator politics.”
UN chief António Guterres has said the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which facilitates these annual conferences, “must commit countries to triple renewables capacity, double energy efficiency, and bring clean energy to all, by 2030.”
In Dubai last week, Mr. Guterres reiterated calls for a complete phase out of fossil fuels to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius – while ensuring that the transition is equitable and just.
Earlier on Friday, Mr. Stiell made an impassioned plea for negotiators to keep alive the goal of a 1.5C global warming threshold set by the Paris Agreement.
At a press conference, he underscored his views on what should be the way forward:
- Avoid diversions and political tactics that hold climate ambition hostage. COP28 must be about solutions to get all countries out of the climate mess.
- Central focus on solutions, acceleration, the highest ambition here at COP, and a springboard for the crucial years ahead.
- COP28 must deliver a big switch: not just ‘what’ governments must do, but also ‘how’ to get the job done.
- Compromises will be essential. But not on ambition. Think outside the box. Climate action needs that paradigm shift. Bold climate action can be the meal-ticket of the 21st century.
As the delegates head into the home stretch – COP28 is expected to close next Tuesday, 12 December – here’s a snapshot of what’s happened so far and what’s ahead.
COP28 at the halfway mark
Key pledges and declarations made:
- The loss and damage fund designed to support climate-vulnerable developing countries was brought to life on the first day of the COP
- Countries have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars so far for the fund
- A pledge to shore up global health care systems to withstand the worsening impacts of climate change
- A pledge to curb cooling-related emissions was joined by nearly 60 countries
Most discussed topics:
- Phasing out or reducing the use of fossil fuels
- Building resilience to climate impacts
- Financial support for vulnerable countries coping with a climate catastrophe
Major reports launched:
Among the major reports launched in the first half of COP28, two sobering science-based surveys from the UN weather agency, WMO, opened and closed the week.
- The first WMO report warned that the world is heating up at pace that could signal “planetary collapse” if drastic and immediate action isn’t taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions
- The second WMO report, launched on Tuesday confirmed 2011-2030 was the warmest decade ever recorded with greenhouse gas emissions “turbo charging” climate change and imperiling our Polar ice caps and mountainous regions
What’s coming up:
Now all eyes are on countries’ ability to use the conclusions of the global stocktake – an in-depth look at how far the world has come since adopting the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement and what’s to be done next – as a springboard towards more ambitious climate action plans.
COP28 is expected to wrap up its work on Tuesday and a decision adopted by the parties could emerge as the most consequential outcome following the 2015 Paris conference.