By John Ikani
The curtain drew on the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) on Wednesday, culminating in an agreement that marks a decisive shift away from the fossil fuel era. The accord lays the foundation for a rapid, fair, and just transition, emphasizing substantial emission reductions and enhanced financial support.
In an impressive display of global unity, representatives from almost 200 nations convened in Dubai, reaching a verdict on the inaugural ‘global stock take (GST),’ a pivotal mechanism to escalate climate action before the decade concludes. The overarching objective set forth is to restrain the global temperature increase within the 1.5°C limit.
The GST, serving as the linchpin of the conference outcomes, encapsulates all negotiated elements and equips countries to formulate more robust climate action plans by 2025. The resolution mandates a 43% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
In the near term, nations are urged to present ambitious, comprehensive targets for emission reductions, spanning various gases, sectors, and categories aligned with the 1.5°C threshold in their upcoming climate action plans (referred to as nationally determined contributions) by 2025.
Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group, Madeleine Diouf Sarr, reflected on the outcome, stating, “This result falls short of our expectations. It signifies the least ambitious stance we could tolerate, rather than what is imperative. Acknowledging the world’s deviation from the Paris Agreement, the historic Dubai decision includes the first mention of fossil fuels. However, concerns linger about potential loopholes that may undermine genuine emission reductions and ambition.”
She emphasized that limiting warming to 1.5°C is a survival imperative, underscoring the pivotal role of international collaboration. Achieving alignment with the 1.5°C target demands not only urgent domestic emission cuts but also substantial climate finance, ensuring a collective effort that surpasses fair global contributions.
Executive Director of 350.org, May Boeve, expressed frustration, stating, “People power has brought us to the brink of history, yet leaders have fallen short of embracing the future we require. While ‘transition away from fossil fuels’ made its way into the COP text after 30 years of advocacy, the presence of numerous loopholes has diluted its strength and effectiveness.”