COP28 roundup of announcements

14th December 2023

This year’s COP28 climate summit concluded with an “historic” agreement between countries to “transition away from fossil fuels”, although the final Global Stocktake text has been described as containing “a litany of loopholes”.

It does not include a commitment to “phase-out” fossil fuels, which many had hoped for, and calls for accelerating zero- and low-emission technologies, including carbon capture and utilisation and storage, which some believe is a cover for business-as-usual oil and gas production.

The text also mentions the need for “transitional fuels” – potentially code for continued fossil gas burning – and questions remain around how much climate finance will be provided for vulnerable countries to adapt to climate disasters, and when they get it.

However, there were some positive announcements made at the climate summit, and the Global Stocktake text does make reference to the importance of workforce training for the energy transition – something that IEMA has been campaigning for this year.

CEO, Sarah Mukherjee MBE, said: “The agreement struck at COP28 for a global transition away from fossil fuels demonstrates progress, albeit it falls short of the stronger commitment that is needed to phase them out altogether.

"Our priority concern has always been ensuring that there are the skills, jobs and education provision in place to deliver on the wider outcomes of COP28. We’re therefore delighted, after launching our campaign with more than 40 other organisations to get skills, training and education onto the cover text earlier this year, to see that the agreement refers to the necessity of skills development and training to tackle climate change.

"It is paramount that countries around the world now put in place plans for developing the green jobs and skills that are required to move the global economy onto a more sustainable footing, whilst recognising the need for there to be a just transition. IEMA will continue to campaign for this into the new year and beyond."

Key announcements:

  • The operationalisation of the loss and damage fund for countries most vulnerable to climate change was announced within the first 48 hours of COP28, with the World Bank to serve as its trustee for the first four years. More than $725m has been raised for the fund, although it is thought that billions will be needed to help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.
  • More than 130 prime ministers and presidents have signed up to the Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action, committing to incorporate food and land use into their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and adaption plans by 2025.
  • Over 60 countries have signed up to the Global Cooling Pledge, committing to reduce cooling-related emissions by at least 68% by 2050, compared to 2022 levels. Although this is not a commitment to net zero, it does represent the world's first joint effort to tackle energy emissions from the cooling sector, which is rapidly increasing as global temperatures rise.
  • The UK, France, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and African Development Bank all announced new commitments to expand climate-resilient debt clauses in their lending to allow countries breathing space when they are hit by climate catastrophes. The big question is whether China will also offer climate-resilient debt clauses, as many developing countries have infrastructure projects as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, which have significant debt repayments.
  • Over 60 governments signed up to a new Gender-Responsive Just Transitions and Climate Action Partnership, which includes a package of measures centred around improving quality of data to support decision making in transition planning; more effective finance flows to regions most impacted by climate change; ensuring access to education, skills and capacity building to support individual engagement in transitions. This will be reviewed at a second convening during COP31.
  • China announced that it would join the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People – a group of 118 nations that have pledged to protect 30% of world’s land and ocean by 2030, first launched at the One Planet Summit in Paris in 2021.
  • EU president Ursula von der Leyen launched the Global Pledge on Renewables and Energy Efficiency together with the COP28 presidency and 118 countries, which sets a global target to triple installed capacity by 2030, and double the rate of energy-efficiency improvements, from roughly 2% to 4% per year, by the end of the decade.
  • The Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy was endorsed by 22 national governments, including the US, France, UAE and the UK, while Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan signed up to the Global Methane Pledge, which commits to reducing methane emissions worldwide by 30% by 2030.

Image credit: Shutterstock


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