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News | 2023-12-14
Klimatmöte COP28 i Dubai.

Foto: Christopher Pike, UNFCCC

COP28: Historic agreement reached at Dubai climate summit

The COP28 climate summit in Dubai concluded with a historic climate agreement that sees the world's countries agree to move away from fossil fuels.

"Finally – after 30 years of negotiations, the UNFCCC is discussing what reducing emissions really means, as the issue of fossil fuel use has become so clear", says Kenneth Möllersten, researcher at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute and climate negotiations expert.

On Wednesday morning, after lengthy negotiations, the climate agreement was finally passed. It specifies that countries must triple the level of renewable energy by 2030 and move away from fossil fuels. This is the first time that fossil fuels have been mentioned so clearly in the final document agreed by the countries. The transition should be implemented in an equitable and orderly manner, but also more rapidly than before.

According to Kenneth Möllersten, it is a significant step towards meeting the 1.5 degree target, but the wording is still vague and the effect of the new agreement will depend on what the actors do with it.

"The more than 120 countries that supported a strong decision to phase out fossil fuels must now very clearly move from words to action. The 1.5 degree target still feels very far away. Only if the countries of the world massively accelerate the collective climate ambition can we come close to the target”, says Kenneth Möllersten.

The international process under the UNFCCC sets benchmarks for expected behaviour from governments and other actors, and Kenneth Möllersten argues that the last three climate summits have made enormous progress. Opposition from oil giants like Saudi Arabia, which tried to remove fossil fuels from the talks, shows the importance of the agreement. But also that there are strong vested interests in maintaining the status of fossil fuels.

"Now we have decisions that go in the right direction, yet they are much less than what is needed. But we have to deal with the world we live in, where conservative interests still have enormous power."

Another success at COP28 is the climate fund for damages and losses that the countries agreed to at the beginning of the meeting. The fund, which developing countries have been demanding for many years, will provide financial support for countries to deal with the effects of climate change.

"It's very positive that the fund is finally in place. But again, the results will depend on its implementation”, says Kenneth Möllersten.

In the negotiations on emissions trading between countries ("Article 6 cooperation"), it was clear from day one that the parties were far apart. The failure to reach a decision means that we now face another year of preparations and negotiations.

"Many experts emphasize the benefit of not reaching a decision when the alternative was probably a bad decision that would have risked undermining the environmental integrity of the Paris Agreement”, says Kenneth Möllersten.

Read more in the UN Climate Press Release: COP28 Agreement Signals “Beginning of the End” of the Fossil Fuel Era External link, opens in new window.

For questions, please contact:
Kenneth Möllersten, kenneth.mollersten@ivl.se, tel. +46 (0)10-788 68 79

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