June 16, 2024

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COP28: Climate summit agreement calls for unprecedented transition away from fossil fuels, but has loopholes

COP28: Climate summit agreement calls for unprecedented transition away from fossil fuels, but has loopholes


Dubai
CNN

The world agreed to this A new climate agreement In Dubai on Wednesday at the COP28 summit after two weeks of painstaking talks, making an unprecedented call for a transition away from fossil fuels, but using vague language that might allow some countries to take minimal action.

The agreement, known as the Global Assessment, was signed in the morning after the talks were pushed into extra time due to marathon negotiations between deeply divided countries over the future role of oil, gas and coal.

COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber described the agreement as “historic” in his speech to national delegates at the final session to approve the agreement. “We have language on fossil fuels in our final agreement for the first time ever,” he said, adding that the agreement represents “a paradigm shift that has the potential to redefine our economies.”

Some countries have claimed the agreement signals the end of the fossil fuel era, but more ambitious nations and climate advocates have said it is still far from being sufficient to reverse climate change. The growing urgency of the climate crisis.

“Loud calls to end fossil fuels have finally made it to black and white paper at this COP, but cavernous loopholes threaten to undermine this breakthrough moment,” said Jan Su, director of energy justice at the Center for Biological Diversity.

The agreement falls short of requiring the world to “phase out” oil, coal and gas — something more than 100 countries and several climate groups have called for, and language that was included in an earlier version of the draft.

Instead, the agreement “calls” on countries to “contribute” to global efforts to reduce carbon pollution in ways they see fit, and offers several options, one of which is to “transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems…accelerate action in this critical decade.” . This is to reach net zero by 2050.”

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) took place at the end of a year marked by unprecedented global temperatures, leading to deadly extreme weather, including… Forest fire record, Deadly heat waves And Catastrophic floods. It’s officially this year The hottest everDue to a combination of human-caused global warming and the El Niño phenomenon, next year is expected to be even hotter.

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The Dubai conference was marred by controversy and criticism Oil interests were influencing the talks.

Thomas Mukoya – Reuters

Lycypriya Kangujam, an indigenous climate activist from India, holds a protest banner during talks on December 11, 2023, before the agreement was concluded.

The conference was also deeply divided, with Saudi Arabia leading a group of oil-producing countries that rejected language on phasing out fossil fuels. On the other hand, more ambitious parties, including the European Union and a group of island nations, expressed anger at an earlier draft that included watered-down language on fossil fuels.

US climate envoy John Kerry said that the divisions almost derailed the conference, with oil and gas producing countries retreating from the language of fossil fuels.

“I think there were times over the last 48 hours where some of us thought this might fail,” Kerry told reporters on Wednesday. But in the end, they “came forward and said, ‘We want this to work.'”

Kerry described the agreement as successful and supported multilateralism.

“We can all find a paragraph, sentences or sections where we would have said it differently,” he said in an earlier speech after the deal was agreed. But he added: “For a document as strong as it has been put together, I find that a reason for optimism, a reason for gratitude, and a reason for some huge congratulations to everyone here.”

He said the agreement was “a much stronger and clearer call for 1.5 than we have ever heard,” referring to the internally agreed ambition for 1.5. Restrict global heating to 1.5 degrees percent higher than pre-industrial levels, a threshold beyond which scientists say humans and ecosystems will have difficulty adapting.

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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 going back.”

Several parties expressed their disappointment and concerns about how quickly Al Jaber hit his hammer and approved the draft deal. States usually express their support or objection, and an agreement is reached after discussion.

“It appears that you issued the decisions and SIDS were not in the room,” Anne Rasmussen, chief negotiator for AOSIS, told Al Jaber as they entered the room.

The Alliance of Small Island States, an intergovernmental organization that includes countries disproportionately at risk from the climate crisis, is one of the most powerful voices at the annual climate talks.

Rasmussen added that AOSIS was “exceptionally concerned” about the agreement. She said that although the text contains “many good elements, the required course correction has not yet been secured.”

03:45- Source: CNN

This deceptively simple term may be the key to the planet’s survival

“It is not enough for us to go back to science and then make agreements that ignore what science tells us we need to do,” she said in her speech, which received warm applause from delegates.

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

“After decades of evasion, COP28 finally shines a stark light on the real culprits of the climate crisis: fossil fuels,” said Harjit Singh, head of global political strategy at the international non-profit Climate Action Network. “The long-awaited trend away from coal has been set.” And oil and gas.

But he added, “The decision contains loopholes that provide the fossil fuel industry with many escape routes, relying on unproven and unsafe technologies.”

His reference is the controversial technology known as Carbon capture and storage – A group of technologies being developed to pull carbon pollution from polluting facilities such as power plants and from the air and store it underground. The agreement calls for accelerating technology.

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Many scientists have expressed concern that carbon capture has not been proven on a large scale, which represents a distraction from policies to reduce the use of fossil fuels and is expensive.

Some countries and experts have expressed alarm over the agreement’s recognition of the role of “transitional fuels” in the energy transition — which is largely interpreted to mean natural gas, the fossil fuel that heats the planet.

“We want to sound the alarm that transitional fuels will become permanent, especially in developing countries,” an Antigua and Barbuda delegate said.

There has also been criticism about the failure to ensure adequate financing flows to the poorest and most climate-vulnerable countries to help them adapt to the escalating impacts of the climate crisis and move their economies towards renewable energy.

COP28 began with Early success On financing. On day one, countries formally adopted a Loss and Damage Fund that was decades in the making, and have since pledged more than $700 million to help countries on the front lines of climate change.

But the summit agreement – despite recognizing that developing countries need up to $387 billion annually to adapt to the effects of the climate crisis and about $4.3 trillion annually until 2030 to expand renewable energy – does not include any requirements that developed countries must provide. more.

Developing countries “remain dependent on fossil fuels for energy, income and employment, and are left without strong guarantees of adequate financial support,” Singh said.

The “transition” in this agreement is “neither funded nor fair,” Mohammed Addo, director of Power Shift Africa, said in a statement.

“We still lack sufficient financing to help developing countries decarbonize, and there must be greater expectations from wealthy fossil fuel producers to phase out first,” Addo said.