by Domenico Vito, Giacomo di Capua, Vladislav Malashevskyy, Asia Guerreschi
Dubai 30 nov – 13 dec , On the starting of the week after of the end of COP28 is time to get and reflect on the results of the climate negotiation of Dubai.
Every COP has its story, every COP has its mood: this one was the same as an action movie.
UNITE, ACT, DELIVER was the claim
The mission was seeming impossible.
The “special guy” in charge was the most business oriented (even too much).
All the ingredients were ready to take the breath since the last second. And it has been alike.
This COP had the heavy mandate to accomplish and keep alive the Paris Agreement, especially in providing finance.
In this post-COP28 article we are gonna analyze the overall results, adding some relevant comment from the community
2. Overall results
The overarching results of COP28 has been the approval of Global Stocktake Text .
We will provide a deeper analysis on the text, but in general we can resume the main outcomes of the text can be resumed in 8 points :
- triple renewable energy capacity globally and double the average annual rate of energy efficiency improvement by 2030 (see ALTERRA);
- accelerate efforts to phase out undisposed coal energy;
- accelerate global efforts towards net-zero emissions energy systems, using zero- and low-carbon fuels well before or around mid-century;
- abandon fossil fuels in energy systems, in a fair, orderly and equitable way, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to reach net zero by 2050, in line with scientific research;
- accelerate zero- and low-emission technologies, including, but not limited to, renewable energy, nuclear, abatement and removal technologies such as carbon capture and utilization and storage, particularly in hard-to-abate sectors, and low-emission hydrogen production;
- accelerate and substantially reduce non-carbon dioxide emissions globally, including in particular methane emissions by 2030;
- accelerate the reduction of road transport emissions through a range of pathways, including through infrastructure development and the rapid deployment of zero- and low-emission vehicles;
- eliminate as soon as possible inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transitions
In any case the Global Stocktake was meant to be scorecard of the Paris Agreement, and supposed to address the elephant in the room: fossil fuels.
Figure 1 – GST Ambition Cycle increase
In reality most of the 2nd week of COP was dominated with a tug-of-war between fossil fuel producing countries and the rest of the world. The end result was mixed, but the GST did manage to send a strong political signal that the end of the fossil fuel era is nigh.
Evaluating the text of the GST we can identify
- only slight improvement on fossil fuel language (transitioning away from all fossil fuels to reach net zero by 2050)
- inclusion of Carbon Capture and Storage for “hard to abate sectors” (not as bad as expected, still not great)
- gas as a transition fuel
- no progress on coal phaseout language
- limited progress on fossil fuel subsidy language
Positive elements include:
- tripling of renewable energy by 2030 and doubling energy efficiency
- important firsts on the reduction of methane, cleaning up transport, halting deforestation
- focus on the need to reform the global financial architecture
The other big element over this COP was the Loss and Damage Fund
A first pledge of $300 million dollars on the Loss & Damage was done since the first day: :actually $290-580bn is needed to help countries smashed by extreme weather. Developing countries want $100bn a year by 2030.
In total L&D has been refurbish by $726 million but several others financial flows has been streamed over Dubai meeting. Table 1 resumes the total amounts fo “finance” per stream that has been pledged on COP28:
Table 1. Financial Pledges over COP28
|Loss and Damage:
|Green Climate Fund:
|$3.5 billion (increasing second replenishment to $12.8 billion)
|Least Developed Countries Fund Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF):
|$129.3 million $31 million
|$30 billion from UAE, $200 million in Special Drawing Rights, and $32 billion from Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs)
|Relief, Recovery and Peace:
|Local Climate Action
Besides the big decision over GST , anyway COP28 demonstrated to be very inconclusive on the most of the agenda items. Figure 2 resumes graphically the elements agreed, not agreed, postponed, no text.
Figure 1 – Overview COP28 results
This COP has registered the highest number of application of the Rule 16 of the convention
In this COP there is one of the highest numbers of items on the agenda whose consideration has been postponed due to the impossibility of reaching an agreement, invoking Rule 16 – a procedural element that postpones the final decisions regarding negotiating elements at the next sessions of the subsidiary bodies and COPs.
In particular on Article 6: this COP had the crucial task of outlining some details on bilateral mechanisms, especially considering that several countries have already signed agreements, initiated projects and, in some cases, achieved tangible results.
The approval of guidelines on methodologies for the centralized mechanism and indications on removal projects was also expected, as well as providing directives on how the various bodies should act in the year ahead of the next COP to make the centralized mechanism operational. Unfortunately, the negotiations have completely failed, even lacking a general agreement.
This outcome, although not entirely unexpected, sends a strong signal of uncertainty to the newly emerging markets of Article 6. A particularly negative aspect is that the body responsible for working throughout the following year to outline further indications on the mechanism centralized, remained without a defined mandate. This shortcoming leaves the Parties free to interpret how to proceed, putting the entire 2024 program at serious risk.
3. Relevant comments
We report here come relevant comments on the Final Text by constituencies and non-state actors
3.1 CAN Network
Overall reaction from CAN (after release GST text on 11 December 2023 pm)
Current GST text needs to be strongly revised to be aligned with equity and science, staying in line with 1.5°C and answer the needs of the most vulnerable.
Developed countries need to make stronger commitments on equity, finance and adaptation – not doing so would make them responsible for a failed outcome.
Specifically: we call the EU to lead a public debate (in the upcoming plenary) to hold the line!
● A CLEAR CALL FOR A PHASE OUT: The call for “reducing” fossil fuels should be returned to a call for phasing out fossil fuels in line with 1.5ºC.
● WE NEED A PACKAGE NOT A MENU – The signal should be strong and clear: the energy package should be seen as a package not as a set of options (replace “could” to “shall” and delete “inter alia”)
● A CLEAR AND COMPREHENSIVE PACKAGE – The suggestion to triple RE and double EE is not tied to a global quantitative target (11TW) + needs to replace fossil fuels while phased out
● SHORT TERM ACTION ALIGNED WITH 1.5 – The draft fails to mandate a short-term decline in fossil fuel production and use this critical decade; and there’s no clear linkage in the draft to link with the 1.5°C warming limit
● NO DANGEROUS DISTRACTIONS – The inclusion of contentious solutions like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), hydrogen, nuclear, and the endorsement of “low carbon fuels” (potentially gas) is highly problematic and should be removed (delete 39 (d), delete “low carbon fuels” from 39(c))
● ENHANCE EQUITY & FINANCIAL SUPPORT : Para 36-38 and 47 gives good signal in terms of equity and differentiation but we need financial support to be strongly linked to the energy package, and the upcoming NCQG needs to asses the needs associated with the energy transition (para 40 needs to be reinforced)
We don’t get outcome an outcome on energy IF we don’t get an outcome on adaptation with strong language on finance
● Quantitative Target with timeline: we need more ambitious targets under the Global Goal on Adaptation that are quantitative with a timeline backed with strong means of implementation, especially finance.
● Financial support: the GGA framework is nothing without finance. We need clear language on the provision by developed countries of the means of implementation, and to mandate the development of the NCQG quanta to be based on the costs associated with the GGA framework and targets, plus a roadmap on the delivery of finance
● A standalone agenda item on GGA: We call for a stand-alone agenda item on GGA to continue the work in a more streamlined and coherent manner
● CBDR-RC and Equity: The GGA framework should be based on the principle of CBDR RC and Equity.
3.2. Health Community GCHA
- Transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science
- Tripling renewable energy, doubling energy efficiency
- Loopholes: unabated coal, CCS, transition fuels
- Gaps: Equity
- GGA target: attaining resilience against climate change related health impacts, promoting climate-resilient health services, and significantly reducing climate-related morbidity and mortality, particularly in the most vulnerable communities
- Loopholes: Vague
- Gaps: Resources, indicators
- First-ever health day, with over a dozen high-level events, a 2-week health pavilion programme, and various health installations
- 49 Ministers of Health, 76 Ministers overall, and senior delegates from 110 countries attended the climate-health ministerial, with many countries making commitments and formal statements on climate and health for the very first time
- 143 countries endorsed the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health (as of 13 Dec)
- $1 billion in climate-health finance commitment from a dozen partners
- 41 finance and implementation partners endorsed a set of climate-health finance principles
AOSIS acknowledges that from a procedural angle, the revised Global Stocktake text is an improvement and does indeed reflect a number of submissions made by small island developing states. We welcome the inclusions to strengthen Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the strong references to the science, and inclusions to ensure there are various support elements to create a runway from this Global Stocktake to the next. However, our world’s window to keeping 1.5 alive is rapidly closing, and we feel the text does not provide the necessary balance to strengthen global action for course correction on climate change.from Statement by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
AOSIS has been very clear that the Global Stocktake must be the vehicle for delivery of course correction, yet it sputters in significant areas.
In terms of safeguarding 1.5C in a meaningful way –the language is certainly a step forward, it speaks to transitioning away from fossil fuels in a way the process has not done before. But we must note the text does not speak specifically to fossil fuel phaseout and mitigation in a way that is in fact “the step change that is needed”. It is incremental and not transformational.
We see a litany of loopholes in this text that are a major concern to us.
In paragraph 26 we do not see any commitment or even an invitation for Parties to peak emissions by 2025. We reference to the science throughout the text but then we refrain from an agreement to take the relevant action in order to act in line with what the science says we have to do.
It is not enough for us to reference the science and then make agreements that ignore what the science is telling us we need to do.
The paragraph on abatement” can be perceived in a way that underwrites further expansion. Phasing out of “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies is problematic, creating loopholes that were not there before. We see step backward with inclusion of energy poverty and just transition as caveats. “Inefficient” is an issue for us. The inclusion of “transitional fuels” is also quite problematic.
In sub paragraph 28 (d) the exclusive focus on energy systems is disappointing. We are concerned that paragraphs 28 (e) and (h) in particular, potentially take us backward rather than forward. In sub paragraph (e) we are being asked to endorse technologies that could result in actions that undermine our efforts. We need to see guardrails around this language.
AOSIS now looks forward to engaging in a spirit of cooperation with our other Parties to accelerate action in this critical decade for our vulnerable communities.
The final COP28 outcome has been agreed in Dubai. Read E3G’s reactions on finance, energy and the path forward:
👩💼 Alex Scott, E3G Programme Lead, said:
“Countries have agreed a path to address the gaps in global climate action: transition away from fossil fuels, deliver on global targets on adaptation, and take new steps to scale up finance for climate action, critically setting up a new loss and damage fund. There are gaps – especially on finance for adaptation – and loopholes – but the ultimate direction of travel is clear: the fossil fuel era is ending.
The proof will be in the delivery – in countries’ next climate plans due by 2025, and in the transformation of the wider finance system to deliver the economic shifts needed. These are the central tasks from now on the road to Belem at COP30 in Brazil in 2025.”
🧑💼 Tom Evans, E3G Policy Advisor, said:
“Champions for a rapid phase out of fossil fuels – both small island states and major economies – have pushed the rest of the world to realise this transition cannot be stopped. But this is only a small first step. It is clear that not everyone is ready to admit the truth of what’s needed to avert climate disaster. The COP text shows the hard work that lies ahead: rewiring the financial system, driving action to vastly scale up renewables and energy efficiency, and crucially paying much more attention to adaptation which has been neglected, putting all of us at risk.”
👩💼 On energy/mitigation, Anusha Mata, E3G Senior Policy Advisor, said:
“_This COP signals the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era, backed by science and boosted by agreements on tripling renewables and doubling energy efficiency by 2030. Its a clear call for governments, business and investors to commit to a cleaner future – all eyes are now on Parties to turn this into faster, real world action. Glasgow language on coal phase-down is locked in, but we still need a swift response to global calls for no new coal now. Finance to support a faster transition must match the scale of the economic transformation. Finally, regulation is required to ensure murky concepts like “abatement technologies” deliver real climate progress. The text does not fully live up to ardent calls for higher ambition, especially from climate vulnerable countries and communities who stand to lose so much. It is the responsibility of Parties to go faster and further from here.”
👩💼 On finance, Laura Sabogal Reyes, E3G Senior Policy Advisor, said:
“Finance was the constant drumbeat behind this COP, from the establishment of the Loss & Damage fund to the Global Stocktake’s final calls for scaled-up MDB finance, debt and tax reform. Although we are far from bridging the financial gap that will enable the transition to a climate safe world, the inclusion of these provisions was unimaginable just a few years ago. The GST paves the way for broader resource mobilization beyond the UNFCCC into next year’s World Bank’s Spring Meetings and the upcoming G20 Brazilian Presidency, as well as to ongoing initiatives like the UN Tax Convention and the recently-launched Global Expert Review on Debt, Nature and Climate championed by Colombia, Kenya and France.
_The missing element, however, was a clear financial package for countries embarking on their energy transition as well as clarity about how to fill the adaptation finance gap. To keep 1.5C within reach, leaving no one behind, developed countries must deliver the necessary essential concessional and grant-based resources to enable these pivotal transitions in developing countries._”
📲 E3G experts are available for background, comment and analysis from Dubai. Please contact our press team at firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to this message
3.5 OCHA : Four outcomes that matter to the aid community
OCHA and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee established the first-ever Humanitarian Hub at a COP event. The Hub hosted more than 40 events organized with the support of dozens of entities, including local and international humanitarian partners, academics, the private sector and Governments.
The Hub aimed to showcase how climate-related disasters affect people in crisis situations and spotlight the local-level solutions to those disasters. OCHA received positive feedback from several organizations, such as Internews and Ground Truth Solutions, local NGOs such as Emirates Nature Foundation, The Great Green Wall of Africa, NAHDA Makers and the Benevolence Coalition for Humanitarian Relief. UN agencies including UN Women, the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Programme, and the UN Resident Coordinator Office in the United Arab Emirates also appreciated the Hub and the role it played in providing a platform for the aid community.
OCHA’s Zommers said the humanitarian community will have to advocate more than ever for substantial funding to reach the most vulnerable communities, but it will also have to reflect on how best to coordinate with this new Fund to ensure maximum impact.
The decision by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) called for the UN Secretary-General to bring the climate, humanitarian and development communities together each year to discuss how to address losses and damages.
Singh also noted: “The decision to host this fund under the World Bank has raised significant concerns, primarily due to the Bank’s loan-based model and its tendency to serve the interests of rich countries, which are its major shareholders.”
3.6 Other Relevant opinions
Fossil fuel phase-out will ‘not avert climate breakdown without protections for nature’
Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told the Guardian
“Even if we phase out all fossil fuels, if we do not get involved in nature, [the destruction of natural landscapes and habitats] can make us lose what we all have agreed on the safe future for humanity on Earth – that is, to stay within the 1.5C limit. It’s really decisive, that we get it right on nature.”
“Our mistake would be accepting that this is the best we can do… …History shows us that true leadership will not come from those who benefit from the system remaining unchanged. True leadership will come from those who have everything to lose; but also, everything to gain.” I couldn’t put it better myself. To the outside world, it may seem like the COP is a travelling circus featuring a few world leaders doing a few speeches. When in fact, it is the culmination of the relentless and tenacious work of thousands of individuals and organisations from across society, including the private sector, public sector, indigenous representatives, youth leaders, NGOs and academia driven by their shared ambition to ensure a habitable and prosperous world. These people are the true leaders of our time. In Dubai, someone recalled at a dinner that they were once told: “tell me a story that ended with ‘and then they gave up’”…. We must not give up.
Surely we will remember this COP for several reasons, starting from the fact that was hosted by one of the most prominent fossil fuels productors.
Moreover for the intense media coverage and activity even performed by the presidency : such activity several times wanted to shadow running problems, failures and even still unclear influences of the fossil fuels arguments into the negotiation.
Beside the inconsistency of several negotiation stream that at least need to be noted, big claim has given to the final text of GST as a historical outcome.
Surely have defined a deadline for “transitioning away” from fossil fuels is a big achievement, but actually the very question is : what does it mean “transitioning away”? what’s the difference between phase out? and what’s the plan?
On this the text remains very weak and with loopholes, with misty references still carbon and gas.
Of course, not achieving even this should led to a complete failure of the process with the risk of threatening the Paris Agreement even: but surely that should be a difference between an ambitious success and the bare minimum achieved.
One should be happy to do not have risked the worst scenario , for sure , but not claiming a Caesarian win over the enemy.
Other negotiation stream reflected the reality of a very conflictual and difficult negotiations that led to the situation “a big deal is a bad deal” (when the deal was even achieved).
In conclusion ad UNFCCC website claims , this is just the “beginining of the end of the era of Fossil Fuels” : and let’s take it as it is..
With the conscious humbleness that this is just the first step and commitment, resources, investment and real ambition are needed to sustain the real path to not “jump-on-the-place” in the business as usual.