Keep up with COP28: Final days

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In this article

The main event

Final days at COP28

  • Friday at COP was Youth, Children and Skills Day which focused on inclusion and the engagement of a broader set of voices. The first ever ‘Youth Stocktake’ was announced, intended to assess the inclusion of youth, and amplify the voices of those under the age of 35.[i]
  • In a similar vein, the Gender-Responsive Just Transitions & Climate Action Partnership was also launched and endorsed by more than 60 countries, aiming to improve the data on gender and climate, and to bring that data into decision making.[ii]
  • Nature, Land Use, and Oceans Day saw $186 million of new financing pledged to forests, mangroves, and ocean projects - building on that of the World Climate Action Summit earlier in COP where $2.5 billion was mobilised to protect and restore nature.[iii]
  • The COP Food, Agriculture and Water Day closed the two-week thematic program and included key announcements on global water scarcity and food security with the Declaration on Agriculture, Food Systems and Climate Action being endorsed by 152 countries. Now more than $7.1 billion has been mobilised during COP28 for climate action in the food system sector.[iv]

A historic deal

Opposition to the draft text of the final deal, the language of which left actions to combat climate change ‘optional’, pushed final negotiations into overtime. But the negotiations concluded on Wednesday morning with a call to action on fossil fuels for the first time ever. COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber called the deal 'historic'.

  • The final deal is backed by almost 200 countries who have agreed to begin reducing the global consumption of fossil fuels.
  • Before now, governments have not taken action this decisive on fossil fuels, with the recognition in the agreement that burning fossil fuels drives global warming. The text also recognises the need for 'rapid and sustained' reductions if humanity is to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. 
  • The deal doesn’t go as far as calling for the 'phase out' of fossil fuels, which more than 100 nations had originally lobbied for.
  • The deal also calls for a tripling of global renewable energy capacity by 2030, along with an acceleration of technologies such as carbon capture and storage.[v]

In the news 

Into extra time

Press coverage has focused on the pressure on delegates as they scrambled to get a final deal over the line. Divisions emerged regarding language on fossil fuels, and whether the language in the deal was strong enough to ensure global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees.

  • The pleasant venue and smooth running of COP has contributed to a less tense, more constructive mood among delegates, which has helped negotiations along.[vi]
  • Nonetheless, there were significant differences in opinion, with an initial draft of the final text including a reference to 'reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels'. This went too far for some, but not far enough for others.[vii]

Positive progress

The media has also pointed to areas of significant progress, with some analysts arguing that the progress made in bilateral talks could be a model for future COP negotiations.

  • An article in the South China Post highlights that China and the US have been in intensive talks. China’s lead negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, has pointed to a US-China deal on ramping-up renewable energy, agreed last month, as a model for COP delegates to follow.[viii]

The final agreement

In the end, the final agreement fell short of committing to “phase out” fossil fuels, but nations did agree for the first time to 'transition away' from them and accelerate action on decarbonisation.

  • The language was received positively in many quarters, with the media highlighting that it was the first time that an agreement had explicitly pushed nations to move away from fossil fuels.[ix]
  • Others reported concern at the lack of firm details on financing for poorer countries, given that these countries will find it more difficult to adapt their economies to rely less on the consumption of fossil fuels.[x]

Other voices

Commodities traders make pledge against deforestation

Eight commodities trading firms have vowed to stop buying soy from farms that are having a negative impact on South American grasslands, adding to previous pledges to avoid suppliers who clear forests.

  • Commodities traders pledge at COP28 to protect South American grasslands.[xi]

US has the resources to clear 1 billion tons of carbon from the air

A new report by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory finds that the US has the ability to remove 1 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year by 2050. The report shows that biomass carbon removal and storage technologies account for about 70% of the US’s potential to remove carbon. However, a lack of financing is cited as the limiting factor, the report putting the cost at $130 billion.

  • The US could remove 1 Billion Tons of Carbon from the Air – for $130 billion.[xii]

Indigenous women share ideas on contending with climate change

A group of indigenous women from across the globe have been sharing ideas at COP28 on ways their communities have been combating climate change. Examples range from cultivating eucalyptus plants to reduce soil salinity, to deploying float farms and rafts to grow organic agricultural products.

  • At COP28, Indigenous women have a message for leaders: Look at what we’re doing. And Listen.[xiii]


i. - COP28 hosts first ever Youth Stocktake with YOUNGO - 08.12.23
ii. - COP28 launches partnership to support women’s economic empowerment and ensure a gender-responsive just transition at COP28 Gender Equality Day - 04.12.23
iii. - United for nature: COP28 mobilizes action to protect and restore forests, mangroves, land and ocean - 10.12.23
iv. - COP28’s Food, Agriculture and Water Day secures major commitments to address climate impacts and keep 1.5C within reach - 10.12.23
v. [147kb, pdf] - COP28 President Delivers Remarks at Closing Plenary - 13.12.23
vi. - Ping-pong, ice pops and the planet's fate: Inside COP28's final hours - 12.12.23
vii. - COP28 heads for overtime as draft fossil fuel deal divides nations - 12.12.23
viii. - China’s role in spotlight as Cop28 climate talks in Dubai enter final phase - 12.12.23
ix. - Historic COP28 deal agrees to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels - 12.12.23
x. - Countries reach ‘historic’ COP28 deal to transition from fossil fuels - 13.12.23
xi. - Commodities traders pledge at COP28 to protect South American grasslands - 09.12.23
xii. - The US Could Remove 1 Billion Tons of Carbon From the Air — for $130 Billion - 11.12.23
xiii. - At COP28, Indigenous women have a message for leaders: Look at what we're doing. And listen - 11.12.23