An unprecedented compromise. After discussions which lasted a good part of the night and were largely overrun compared to the planned schedule, COP28 ended on Wednesday December 13 with a text calling, for the first time in the history of these climate conferences, to gradually abandon fossil fuels.
At the opening of the closing plenary session, delegates adopted the decision prepared by the United Arab Emirates, triggering prolonged applause.
The Emirati president of the conference, Sultan al-Jaber, hailed it as a “historic achievement”. “We are mentioning fossil fuels in the final agreement for the first time,” he said. Other texts are expected at the COP, notably on adaptation, but here is already what we must remember from the crucial one on the results of the Paris agreement.
This agreement is a victory for the president of the COP, head of the Emirati national oil company and whose appointment had caused serious concerns about the smooth running of the negotiations. This is a “historic decision to accelerate climate action”, he boasted.
“While we have not completely turned the page on the fossil fuel era in Dubai, this result clearly marks the beginning of the end,” said UN climate executive secretary Simon Stiell. closing of the Conference.
“This is a lifeline for climate action, not a finish line. All governments and all businesses must now transform these commitments into concrete economic results, without delay,” warned the UN climate chief, recalling that “we are currently heading towards a warming of just under 3 degrees » by the end of the century. To respect the Paris Agreement (COP 21) and the objective of keeping the rise in temperatures below 1.5°C, all countries will have to provide new contributions at the beginning of 2025, describing their mitigation actions, adaptation, but also the associated financing.
An unprecedented mention of fossil fuels
Their combustion since the 19th century is largely responsible for current global warming. Fossil fuels are mentioned for the first time in a final COP text. To date, only the “reduction” of coal had, in fact, been recorded at COP26 in Glasgow (Scotland) but never oil or gas had been mentioned.
After intense negotiations, the outcome document calls on countries to “transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a fair, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this crucial decade, in order to achieve neutrality carbon in 2050 in accordance with scientific recommendations.
The call to accelerate from the current decade was a demand of the European Union and many other countries. The text also calls for “gradually eliminating, as soon as possible, ineffective subsidies for fossil fuels” when these do not aim to respond to the lack of energy in the poorest populations.
Finally, the text recognizes the “loss and damage” fund, the implementation details of which were defined at the start of COP28, and includes $792 million already pledged to help vulnerable countries repair the damage from climate change. already present. But no State is forced to take the plunge when hundreds of billions will be needed to meet needs. “What has so far been put on the table to finance the fund corresponds to the salaries of the three highest paid footballers in the world! illustrates paleoclimatologist Valérie Masson Delmotte, former co-author of the IPCC. You see the gap…” There is therefore still work to be done to refine the path on which the international community has just embarked. The next edition, which will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, will be a COP focused on climate finance. Organized this time in a gas country, the event once again promises to be rich in controversy.