Home PlanetYucaEnvironment COP28 concludes with agreement that opens the door to the end of the fossil fuel era

COP28 concludes with agreement that opens the door to the end of the fossil fuel era

by Yucatan Times
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COP28 just concluded feverish negotiations in its final hours—actually, beyond its scheduled final hours—with the announcement of a final agreement Wednesday that includes language committing its near-200 participating nations to “transition away from” fossil fuels. That is the language negotiators landed upon to replace the previous language pledging to “phase out” the use of coal, oil and natural gas across the coming decades preferred by energy transition boosters.

(REUTERS).- Many observers are no doubt left wondering what the real difference is between the two phrases, other than that the “transition away from” language was found to be less offensive to big producers and users of these energy resources than a phasing-out turned out to be. It isn’t a bad question, to be sure.

Advocates for this final language claim it is “historic” in that it is the first time any of the 28 UN Conference of the Parties climate summits have overtly mentioned moving away from the use of fossil fuels in a final agreement. But it is fair to note that countries across the globe have invested many trillions of dollars—much of it funded by costly debt—in efforts to “transition away from” fossil fuels over the last three decades now and little has changed. The world still gets roughly 80% of its primary energy from coal, oil and natural gas, only a sliver less than it did at the turn of the century. The world will use record volumes of all three fossil fuels in 2023, and most experts project it will do so again in 2024 and beyond.

So, while this language may well be “historic,” it is also merely a restatement of commitments many of the signatory governments have already embarked upon for years and failed to achieve. Honestly, it is difficult to envision how what amounts to yet another COP-generated word salad will do anything to change the undeniable global dynamic.

Reuters quotes Anne Rasmussen, lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, assessing the language as uninspiring. “We have made an incremental advancement over business as usual, when what we really need is an exponential step change in our actions,” she said.

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