Here is a set of reactions to the adoption of the first Global Stocktake:
Linda Kalcher, Executive Director, Strategic Perspectives
“For the first time, the UN climate talks have addressed the need to stop burning fossil fuels. COP28 marks the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era. This outcome must be harnessed by governments and markets, but clearly signals the beginning of the end for coal, oil and gas in the global economy and the massive growth of renewables.”
“Economic realities will kill some of the false solutions that this text still gives room to, such as CCS and so called “transition fuels”, but these cannot be allowed to distract from the job at hand. The COP28 leadership cannot claim they have saved 1.5C. This deal is still heavy with loopholes, lacking timelines and fails to provide the support that the majority of the world’s people are going to need to finance the rapid transition that is now required. The EU and the rest of the G20 can lead the way through the next round of NDCs and driving the long-overdue reform of global finance.”
Marcio Astrini, Executive Secretary, Climate Observatory, Brazil
“This COP28 outcome, strong on signals but weak on substance, means the Brazilian government needs to take the lead through 2024 and lay the foundations for a COP30 deal in Belem that delivers for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities and for nature. It can start by cancelling its promise to join OPEC, the group that tried and failed to wreck this summit. Without real acton, the Dubai outcome will not be celebrated among communities across the world who are suffering from climate extreme events”
Joab Okanda, Senior Climate Advisor, Christian Aid
“It is clear that the era of fossil fuels is coming to a close. We may not have driven the nail into the coffin here at COP28 but the end is coming for dirty energy. But there is a gaping hole on climate finance to actually fund the transition from dirty to clean energy in developing countries. Without that, we risk the global shift being much slower.”
Ruth Davis, Senior Associate, Smith School of Enterprise and Environment in Oxford
“Food and nature has long been due more space in the COP negotiating texts. For the first time ever, the promise to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030 has become a formal outcome. And 150+ countries pledged to put food in their new climate plans. The forgotten third of global greenhouse gas emissions will be under proper scrutiny, providing there is funding on the table. What we need now is to deliver on the money”
Avinash Persaud, Special Climate Envoy to PM Mottley of Barbados
“When the dust settles and dawn breaks, this will be seen as one of the most historic COPs. We have operationalised a loss and damage fund, recapitalised the Green Climate Fund and orchestrated an international climate finance system that prepares for new levies alongside emboldened development banks and new private sector flows. Today, we have committed to triple renewable investments and have a just transition from fossil fuels.
Some activists were disappointed we didn’t commit to an immediate fossil fuel phase-out. Still, without the trade, investment and finance to achieve it, it would either have hit developing countries hardest or been meaningless – – so meaningless that I saw some big developed country fossil fuel producers lining up to join that bandwagon before they had explained it to their electorates.
I believe in pragmatic ambition. We have to bring all along. The road to fossil fuel phase-out lies first through massive financial flows for a huge investment in renewables. Now, we have a plan to get there. Implementing that plan requires governments and the multilateral development banks to be better, bigger and bolder. So, my next stop from Dubai is D.C. and the Spring meetings of the multilateral development banks.”
Maria Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition
“Once upon a time the world put its climate future in the hands of a petrostate and asked it to phase out fossil fuels. This isn’t the perfect fairytale ending we had hoped for, but for the first time we have a global agreement to transition away from all fossil fuels in line with the science.
“COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber wanted to deliver something historic, unprecedented, and although we called for much more, the seeds planted here in UAE will be seen by future generations as the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era.
Johan Rockstrom, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor in Earth System Science at the University of Potsdam:
“Any credible GST text to have a chance of holding global warming at the 1.5°C limit, even after overshoot, will have to state clearly that fossil-fuels need to be rapidly phased out in line with the best available science. This require much more than a net-zero landing zone around 2050. It must also make clear that we need to bend the global curve of emissions in the next two years, and cut emissions by half by 2030. Nothing less is required to have a chance of holding 1.5°C alive. The current GST text (of 11 Dec) fails on all these accounts, and provides no confidence that we can avoid crashing through 1.5°C within 10 years, and then continue a disastrous path towards 2°C and beyond”
Prof Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy and Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professor and the Political Science Endowed Chair in Public Policy and Public Law in the Department of Political Science at Texas Tech University:
“Fossil fuels were not explicitly mentioned in COP climate outcomes until just two years ago. Glasgow saw countries agree to “phase down coal power” and “phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” So the fact that the term “phase out fossil fuels” made it into the COP28 draft text represents a tremendous sea change in a very short time. Yet there’s no question the text falls short of what science tells us is required to mitigate the existential risk climate change poses to us. It’s essential to remember that real change isn’t waiting in the wings of UN conferences; it’s unfolding now, across the globe. Action by cities, companies, organizations and more all underscores how our collective journey to a sustainable future is a shared, planetary responsibility for all who call Earth home.”
Friederike (Fredi) Otto, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment and co-founder of World Weather Attribution
“This COP had a job: to learn the lessons from the first ever Global Stocktake. It has sent signals that there is a growing willingness to do so, but it has not delivered a strong framework to act.
“By not phasing out fossil fuels, by using language that leaves serious action on mitigation and adaptation voluntarily, we do not have a framework to get the world on track to achieve the Paris Agreement.
“The Paris Agreement is a human rights treaty. Not achieving its goals is violating essential human rights of a large part of the population”.
Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance
“The developments at Dubai further underscores the imperative to transition towards renewable energy for achieving net-zero emissions. The call to triple renewable energy had been made at G20 and the signals at various multilateral gatherings have only served as a catalyst for intensified collective efforts but also emphasize the urgency of addressing the well-being of the poorest and most vulnerable.
Millions lack access to affordable and reliable energy, posing hindrances to human and economic development. This energy gap significantly impacts income generation, health, education, transportation, equity, and overall well-being. While the decreasing costs of solar photovoltaics have facilitated electricity access through off-grid systems, these measures alone are insufficient. Accelerating transition to renewables is imperative, which requires at least tripling the investments with the actual requirement potentially reaching up to five times the current level to achieve the necessary scale.
For this we need accelerated actions in providing access, enabling financial mechanisms and business models, and agile institutions that can support these.”
Wangari Muchiri, Africa Director, Global Wind Energy Council
“For the first time we see renewable energy taking a prominent position, with the call for tripling renewable energy globally and doubling energy efficiency by 2030. We also see wind power, solar and storage recognized in the text as affordable and accessible technologies for the energy transition. This is a key step forward as it is clear, despite the weak language, that they are key solutions for the energy transition. The GST text also refers to “transitioning away from fossil fuels”, another first! This is the signal that the end of the fossil fuel era has begun. While this is a welcome signal, there is a missed opportunity on a stronger “fossil fuel phaseout” or “accelerated transition” text. At Africa WindPower, we stand strongly for a fossil free future and call for the urgent development and deployment of wind power and other renewable technologies to reach the tripling target within this crucial decade. Let’s triple renewables globally, together!”
Friederike Röder, Vice President, Global Citizen:
“COP28 was meant to herald the demise of fossil fuels, the primary driver of climate change. For the first time ever, a COP agreement does state the need to turn away from fossil fuels by 2050. As important as that signal is, it is frustrating that the presidency fell short of providing the clarity and urgency needed. The final outcome does not provide the interim targets needed for urgent action now, but instead includes distractions and loopholes on so-called transition fuels and carbon capture technology.
“Achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science”, as set out in the COP28 agreement, there is no space for ambiguity and interpretation. The majority of governments have made this very clear. Now the ball is in their court as what matters in the end is action, not words.
The phase out of fossil fuels will only be possible with the right financing package for poor and vulnerable nations. Despite a strong start into COP with the creation of the Loss and Damage fund, in the end, the financing package falls short of expectations and lacks any reality. It does not even set out the need to agree on a definition of climate finance or take any steps to improve the transparency of financial flows. Adaptation finance fell by 14% according to the latest data available. Reiterating old promises, such as doubling funding for adaptation by 2025, without requesting implementation plans is no progress. It blatantly ignores the reality of those on the front lines of climate change, who urgently need support.
One ray of hope, though, is that the final outcome mentions taxation – the main lever we have today to rapidly and significantly scale up grant financing. Since the start of COP, the oil and gas industry has made $95B in profits – only 1% of these profits would provide more funding than what was pledged for loss and damage so far”
Harriet Kingaby – CAAD Coalition – Head of ACT Climate Labs and Co-chair of Conscious Advertising Network
“Fossil fuel companies and their enablers do not have society’s best interests at heart. This COP, we’ve seen these companies and countries aligned with them position unproven technologies as ‘silver bullets’ to tackle climate action, while simultaneously funding front groups which demonise activists. All designed to keep the status quo. Now we see their influence in the final Global Stocktake Text; references to “transition fuel” and “CCS” may not only jeopardise the climate action but also create spaces for the industry to ramp up greenwashing. We need to stay vigilant and take measures to protect the information integrity on climate change more to prevent such pollution in the media space in the future.”
Jess Beagley, Policy Lead, Global Climate and Health Alliance
‘Fossil fuels are the leading driver of climate change and its health impacts, and inflict additional health hazards from the moment of extraction to combustion. While this text clearly signals the impending end of the fossil fuel era, naming the need to end dependence on fossil fuels for the first time in a 30 year process, it leaves gaping and potentially dangerous loopholes such as carbon capture and storage, “transitional fuels” like fossil gas, and nuclear power. Meanwhile, language on adaptation and finance leaves vulnerable people unprotected and risks reinforcing cycles of debt, disease and death.’