COP28: Countries pledge to 'transition away from fossil fuels' in historic final text

A final text calling for a "transition away from fossil fuels" was adopted at the UN climate summit in Dubai on Wednesday, for the first time in the summit's history. The 21-page text was released on Wednesday morning and adopted in a plenary session hours later.

The final text of COP28 calls on countries to make a "just, orderly and equitable" transition away from fossil fuels by accelerating action in "this crucial decade" to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It also calls for a tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030 and a doubling of energy efficiency.

COP28 president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, who is also the head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, called it a "historic agreement". He said the agreement was sufficient to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, as agreed in the 2015 Paris climate accord.

"The beginning of the end for fossil fuels"

European Commissioner for Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra said "we have achieved what we wanted" and that the agreement marked "the beginning of the end for fossil fuels".

"I think everybody here should be pleased that in a world of Ukraine and the Middle East war and all the other challenges of a planet that is foundering, this is a moment where multilateralism has actually come together," said US climate envoy John Kerry.

Critical island states

However, the text also faces criticism. Reaching an ambitious deal is difficult because the text requires unanimous agreement. For example, a fossil fuel phase-out demanded by more than 100 countries did not make it into the final text.

Developing countries have also pointed to loopholes in the agreement, such as the continued use of gas and the use of controversial technologies such as carbon capture and storage. "The course correction we needed has not been made," said Samoa representative Anne Rasmussen, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States:

UN secretary-general António Guterres reacted cautiously. "Whether you like it or not, the phasing out of fossil fuels is inevitable," he said. "Let's hope it's not too late."


COP28 president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber (centre) © PHOTO GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP

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