The UN Climate Conference approved on Wednesday a roadmap for “transitioning away from fossil fuels” – a first for a UN climate conference – but the deal still stopped short of a long-demanded call for a “phase-out” of oil, coal and gas.
The latest edition of the annual UN climate conference has concluded in Dubai.
COP28 had been scheduled to close on Tuesday, but intense overnight negotiations on whether the outcome would include a call to “phase down” or “phase out” planet heating fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal forced the conference into overtime.
This main sticking point pit activists and climate-vulnerable countries against some larger nations for much of past two weeks.
The leaders have reached agreement to accelerate CO2 emission reductions towards net zero by 2050, with urgent action in this critical decade. This includes an agreement by all parties to transition away from fossil fuels. It has also been agreed to reduce global emissions by 43 percent by 2030, to keep 1.5 Celsius within reach. This will keep the world on track with the goals of the Paris Agreement, and speed up the transition to a cleaner and healthier economy.
The negotiators at COP28 also committed to tripling renewable energy capacity and doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030.
Reacting to the adoption of the outcome document, UN chief Antonio Guterres said that mention of the world’s leading contributor to climate change comes after many years in which the discussion of this issue was blocked.
He stressed that the era of fossil fuels must end with justice and equity.
“To those who opposed a clear reference to a phase-out of fossil fuels in the COP28 text, I want to say that a fossil fuel phase out is inevitable whether they like it or not. Let’s hope it doesn’t come too late,” added the Secretary-General.
Other progress was also made in relation to adaptation and finance, including the operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund, even though financial commitments are very limited.
Pledges to the Green Climate Fund now total a record $12.8 billion for the most climate vulnerable communities.
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