The United Nations' twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties on climate change (COP28) ended in Dubai on 13 December, 23 hours later than planned. Included in the final wording of the 'Global Stocktake' was an agreement to "transition away from fossil fuels", which was ratified by almost 200 nations.
Many countries and environmental groups remain concerned that the more definite "phase out" of fossil fuels - asked for by over 130 countries - was omitted from the final wording. The text also gives plenty of wriggle room for fossil fuels to gon on being both produced and consumed. There are no timescales or concrete targets.
However, the UN's climate chief, Simon Stiell was more optimistic, saying
"While we didn't turn the page on the fossil fuel era in Dubai, this outcome is the beginning of the end." And it's the first time 28 years that all fossil fuels have been specifically mentioned in a final COP decision.
The stocktake looked at the world's efforts to keep global temperatures at or below 1.5C above pre-Industrial levels. As well as transitioning away from fossil fuels, the stocktake calls on countries to triple worldwide renewable energy use and to double energy efficiency improvements by 2030.
Early in the conference, a new fund to pay for loss and damage experienced by countries because of climate change finally came into being. By the end of COP28, a total of $770.6M had been pledged to the fund, including contributions of $100M each from the UAE and Germany. However, with estmiates for the annual cost of loss and damage running from $100bn to $580bn, the fund is very far short of the money it's going to need to work effectively.
New funding, amounting to $3.5bn was pledged to the Green Climate Fund, which was established to help developing nations.
COP29 will be hosted in Azerbaijan, another oil-producing state, in November/ December 2024/