World Climate Summit in Dubai COP 28

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World Climate Summit in Dubai COP 28

Written by Stefania De Cristofaro

The COP28 conference, attended by representatives of 197 countries plus the European Union as parties to the UN Framework Convention, ended on 12 December 2023.

Dubai in the United Arab Emirates hosted COP 28, the 2023 edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties.

From 30 November to 12 December 2023, the Expo City hosted representatives from 197 countries, plus the European Union with its 27 states, as parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Eighty thousand participants.

It was an opportunity for international discussion on sustainability issues, for the achievement of the climate goals set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement that all EU countries have ratified, mainly to keep the global temperature within 1.5 degrees.

The first summit to discuss the health of the Earth took place in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro with the aim of beginning to address global warming and define actions against the climate crisis. The first COP was held in 1995 in Berlin. Since then, it has been held every year, with the exception of 2021, due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

COP 28, chaired by Sultan Al-Jaber, approved the text containing the agreement on the so-called global stocktake, i.e. the first stocktake on commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: the text calls for accelerated climate action in this decade, defined as critical, to achieve carbon neutrality (zero net emissions) by 2050. This means that the world will have to commit to a “transition away from fossil fuels” by that date. In fact, the text calls for a “transition away from fossil fuels” and is the first time that oil and its derivatives have been explicitly referred to in a conference document.

The final document

A long and hard negotiation produced a 21-page outcome document that “recognises the need for deep, fast and lasting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 1.5 degree trajectory and calls on parties to contribute to global efforts in a nationally determined manner, taking into account the Paris Agreement”.

Among the explicitly stated actions is the call to “triple global renewable energy capacity and double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency by 2030”, and there is also the call to accelerate efforts towards phasing out coal-fired power, i.e. without capture and storage technology. The text also calls for “accelerating global efforts towards net-zero energy systems, using zero or low-carbon fuels well before or around mid-century”.

The European position

The document is the result of confrontation and compromise between the countries after an earlier text created a scuffle, with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Russia opposing the phase out.

At COP 28, the EU is represented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the rotating Presidency of the Council, which this year falls to Spain. The EU delegation participating in the negotiations is led by the European Commission and the Spanish Presidency. The European position for COP 28 was agreed at the Environment Council last October.

In its conclusions, the Council stressed “the opportunities that ambitious climate action offers for the planet, the global economy and people, and the importance of ensuring a just transition”. “Just transition”, the Council document reads, “leaves no one behind” and aims for “sustainable, climate-resilient and climate-neutral economies and societies”.

“In Dubai, we will be at the forefront of the negotiations to demonstrate the EU’s full commitment to the green transition and to encourage our partners to follow our example,” explained Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, Third Vice-President of the Spanish Government and Acting Minister for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, on the eve of the talks. “The EU is an engine of change, and we must speak with one voice in the world. We cannot use the difficulties as a mere pretext to return to the situation before the Paris Agreement”, she stressed.

Half-satisfaction

For EU Member States, the 1.5 degrees Celsius target remains unattainable, in line with the Paris Agreement. For European nations, the commitments made at COP 28 are not sufficient to reach the target and, for this reason, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies need to be updated. In fact, the Council document states that “major economies should have updated their long-term strategies”.

For the EU, it remains crucial to “reduce its net GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to reach climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest”. On the energy sector, the Council considered it necessary to aim for “phasing out fossil fuels well before 2050, to work towards a fully or predominantly decarbonised global energy system by 2030, leaving no room for new coal plants, as cost-effective emission reduction measures are already available”. In parallel, the Council called for “phasing out as soon as possible fossil fuel subsidies that do not address the issues of energy poverty or a just transition”.

The Council also stressed the need for “global action to triple the installed renewable energy capacity to 11 TW and double the rate of energy efficiency improvement by 2030, while respecting each country’s national energy mix” and underlined that “cooperation with developing countries is essential to address the challenges and ensure the benefits of the transition”.

complementary activities

EASY

World Climate Summit in Dubai COP 28

Written by Stefania De Cristofaro

The COP28 conference, attended by representatives of 197 countries plus the European Union as parties to the UN Framework Convention, ended on 12 December 2023.

Dubai Expo City in the United Arab Emirates hosted the work of COP 28, welcoming representatives from 197 countries, plus the European Union with its 27 states, as parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change: world leaders met from 30 November to 12 December 2023.

COP 28, chaired by Sultan Al-Jaber, approved the text containing the agreement on the so-called global stocktake, i.e. the first budget on commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: the text calls for accelerated climate action in this decade, defined as critical, to reach carbon neutrality (zero net emissions) by 2050. In fact, it calls for a “transition away from fossil fuels” and is the first time that fossil fuels have been explicitly referred to in a conference document.

The 21-page outcome document “recognises the need for deep, fast and lasting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 1.5 degree trajectory and calls on parties to contribute to global efforts in a nationally determined manner, taking into account the Paris Agreement”. Among the actions listed is the call to “triple global renewable energy capacity and double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency by 2030”. And there is also the call to accelerate efforts towards phasing out energy from coal, i.e. without capture and storage technology. The text also calls for “accelerating global efforts towards net-zero energy systems, using zero or low-carbon fuels well before or around mid-century”.

The document is the result of confrontation and compromise between the countries after an initial text had created a rift: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Russia had opposed the hypothesis of an exit from fossil fuels (the so-called phase out).

The EU is represented at COP 28 by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the rotating Presidency of the Council, which this year falls to Spain. The EU delegation participating in the negotiations is led by the European Commission and the Spanish Presidency. The European position was agreed at the Environment Council held last October.

The Council stressed “the opportunities that ambitious climate action offers for the planet, the global economy and people, and the importance of ensuring a just transition”. “Just transition”, the Council document reads, “leaves no one behind” and aims for “sustainable, climate-resilient and climate-neutral economies and societies”.

For Member States, it remains crucial to significantly increase the level of global ambition so that the 1.5°C target remains achievable, in line with the Paris Agreement. At the same time, they noted that the nationally determined contributions and their updates to date have not been sufficient to reach the target and therefore long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies need to be updated.

For the EU, moreover, it remains crucial to “reduce its net GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest”. For the Council it is also necessary to aim for “the phase-out of fossil fuels well before 2050, working towards a fully or predominantly decarbonised global energy system by 2030”.

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