In a significant shift, the UN climate conference (COP28) held in a region renowned for its fossil fuel wealth saw active participation from the representatives of the fossil fuel industry. This engagement, traditionally viewed as adversaries to environmental initiatives, is marked as a significant step towards more inclusive and effective climate action.
Phase-Out of Fossil Fuels
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres emphasized the necessity of committing to phase out fossil fuels in alignment with the 1.5 degree limit. The European Union's official negotiating position for COP28 also stressed the requirement of the global phase-out of unabated fossil fuels. The conclusion was clear - to keep 1.5°C of warming within reach means working towards an energy system free of unabated fossil fuels by mid-century.
Transparency in Private Sector Participation
Lawmakers urged the UNFCCC to strengthen rules and boost transparency around private sector participation at COP28. The discourse centered on eliminating persistent interference from the fossil fuel industry and its corporate enablers at international climate talks. This was a follow-up to a May letter urging U.S., EU, and UN officials to maintain the integrity of the conference.
Pressing Matters at COP28
Key discussions at COP28 revolved around arresting the world’s slide toward environmental catastrophe and the pressing question of who will pay for the costs of a hotter planet. The 28th UN Climate Change Conference presented a crucial opportunity to take stock of public financial flows to fossil fuels. Countries now have numerous opportunities to address the identified weaknesses at COP28 and in its immediate aftermath.
Leaders at the COP28 climate summit were urged to place human rights at its heart by agreeing to rapidly phase out fossil fuels and ensure civil society’s full and free participation in the meeting. The conference was seen as an opportunity for countries to better rein in climate change by devising improved targets and measures through tools such as finance, technology, and capacity building.