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COP28 Fails to Deliver a Fossil Fuel Phaseout


A survey of reactions by major NGOs concerned to the final statement of COP28, United Nations Climate Change Conference

The Climate Action Network headlines “New path to transition away from fossil fuels marred by lack of finance and loopholes.” The text says “COP28 in Dubai sends an important signal on the end of fossil fuels but leaves more questions than answers on how to ensure a fair and funded transition that is based on science and equity. . . Although COP28 recognised the immense financial shortfall in tackling climate impacts, the final outcomes fall disappointingly short of compelling wealthy nations to fulfil their financial responsibilities – obligations amounting to hundreds of billions, which remain unfulfilled.”

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Friends of the Earth says “COP28 outcome undermined by dangerous distractions and lack of finance . . . (and) enormous loopholes which only serve to prolong the fossil fuel era. . . . “The COP28 deal has fallen short of delivering meaningful commitments on fossil fuel phaseout and urgently needed climate finance. The deal opens the door to dangerous distractions that will prevent a just and equitable energy transition– carbon capture utilisation and storage, hydrogen, nuclear, carbon removal technologies like geoengineering and schemes that commodify nature.”

Oxfam headlines its reaction, “COP28 outcome misses the mark on justice for the majority of the world.” “Everyone fighting against the global climate crisis has little to celebrate from this disappointing COP28. Its final outcome is grossly inadequate. Oil, coal and gas won again, but they had to struggle harder to do so and their era is nearing its end. COP28 was doubly disappointing because it put no money on the table to help poorer countries transition to renewable energies.”

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Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

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The Pacific Island States (Alliance of Small Island States, AOSIS), said that the resulting deal falls severely short. ““We see a litany of loopholes,” the AOSIS statement said. “It does not deliver on a subsidy phaseout, and it does not advance us beyond the status quo. . . We do not see any commitment or even an invitation for Parties to peak emissions by 2025.”

Activists of Fridays for the Future demonstrated their displeasure with the results in a demonstration in front of the Swedish parliament. Their spokesperson, Greta Thunberg, said, “This text is toothless and it is nowhere even close to being sufficient to keep us within the 1.5 degree limit. It is a stab in the back for those most vulnerable. It was undemocratic. It was signed when many island states were not in the room. We cannot talk about climate justice without having those affected in the room.”

The Center for International Environmental Law says “COP28 was unquestionably a fossil fuel COP – not because it was hosted in a petrostate, presided over by a fossil fuel executive, and flooded by fossil fuel lobbyists, but because people power and mounting political will led by progressive governments finally put the central cause of the climate crisis at the center of the climate talks.  The test for governments was not just to talk about fossil fuels, it was to act on them, by delivering an unequivocal commitment to end the era of fossil fuels, to leave no loopholes for delay or inaction, and to ensure rich polluters move first and fastest, with real money on the table. They failed profoundly –

Greenpeace says “Although the final text made a call for a transition away from fossil fuels, the outcome of the climate talks failed to produce the words ‘fossil fuel phase out’, resulting in yet another year of lack of accountability for polluters, as the planet moves closer and closer to warming limits. . . . Both weeks of the climate negotiations were spent swatting away the polluting interests of the record high fossil fuel industry representatives in attendance, to the end. Despite rumors and hopes of an early or on time finish from weary summit goers, negotiations went into overtime through Tuesday night, the scheduled last day. The dash to a finish line resulted in a mostly disappointing final text . . .”

The press release of 350.org says “It is frustrating that thirty years of campaigning managed to get ‘transition away from fossil fuels’ in the COP text, but it is surrounded by so many loopholes that it has been rendered weak and ineffectual. The prize is finally on the table – a phaseout of fossil fuels and a world powered by renewable energy – but rather than clearing the way to it, we’ve been presented with yet another set of distracting doors that could still hold oil and gas expansion, and we don’t know just where the finance will come from.”

NGO’s were joined in their criticism by leading scientists.