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14 Dec 2023

Moving Beyond Fossil Fuels: COP28 Agreement Requires Action for Global Implementation

Moving Beyond Fossil Fuels: COP28 Agreement Requires Action for Global Implementation
Photo: UNFCCC under Creative Commons

The landmark deal agreed at COP28 in Dubai to “transition away” from fossil fuels was never going to please everybody gathered at the United Nations Climate Change Conference over the past two weeks. The fact that negotiations on the final agreement went on well into the night is proof of that, but conferences of this nature, involving most of the nations of the world, are always going to end in compromise.

Make no mistake about it, the deal struck by delegates in Dubai - the so-called “UAE consensus” - is certainly a compromise, but it is one that for the first time instructs countries to embark on what is effectively a phase out of fossil fuels. Of course, the deal cannot force countries to end their dependence on energy sources that are putting the future of the planet in peril, but the direction of travel is clear – fossil fuels need to become history if the world is to meet its net zero targets.

According to the small island states that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, there are loopholes in the COP deal that could prevent the world from cutting greenhouse gas emissions by the amount needed to limit global warming to the Paris Agreement target of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The temptation to use these loopholes needs to be challenged by nations coming together in the spirit and practice of this deal to continue the positive moves already taken to phase out fossil fuels.

This means that nations, politicians, businesses, industry sectors and citizens all need to work together to ensure that COP28 marks a significant turning point for climate action and the “milestone moment” for the world spoken about before the thousands of delegates gathered in Dubai for the conference that has just ended.

Speaking after the deal was signed, former US Vice President and Chair of the Climate Reality Project, Al Gore, summed up the situation the world faces pretty well, saying: “Fossil fuel interests went all out to control the outcome (of COP28), but the passionate work of millions of climate activists around the world inspired and motivated delegates from many nations to loosen the industry’s grip. Whether this is a turning point that truly marks the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era depends on the actions that come next and the mobilisation of finance required to achieve them.”

Taking a positive view, despite its limitations, the climate deal struct at COP28 definitely represents crucial progress for countries, organisations and businesses that are committed to tackling the climate crisis - and that should be welcomed by everyone.

Many of those organisations, businesses and industry professionals will be gathering at London Olympia from 30 April to 1 May 2024, when Innovation Zero will host one of the largest sustainability and net zero expos ever seen in the UK. Over 12,000 delegates are expected to gather in the capital as part of a comprehensive programme featuring hundreds of world-class speakers across 175+ sessions, who are experts in climate change mitigation, clean technology innovation and implementing low carbon solutions.



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