The COP28 World Climate Change Conference in Dubai was supposed to end on Tuesday, but went into extra time. The reason: the first draft of the final declaration caused great frustration among many participants. Germany, the EU and dozens of other countries - especially those that are particularly climate-vulnerable - demanded far-reaching improvements to the COP draft. In the end, they received a "balanced plan that addresses emissions" (COP President Ala Jaber). That is not enough, states Director and Head of Programme Climate Policy Dennis Tänzler, summarising the last two weeks.
The COP28 in Dubai has come to an end and followed the drama of the climate conferences. Even though the intention was to end on time, the world climate conference needed an extension. The original final declaration led to major protests from the various negotiating delegations and civil society.
Former US Vice President Al Gore commented on the content: "COP28 is now on the verge of complete failure. The world desperately needs to phase out fossil fuels as quickly as possible, but this obsequious draft reads as if OPEC dictated it word for word. It is even worse than many had feared."
Germany, the EU and other countries rejected the draft presented on Monday for precisely these reasons. There was no mention of phasing out fossil fuels in the final text. The language is also predominantly very vague in other respects. We need reliable statements in the areas of adaptation and financing. The negotiating delegations followed up and now the adopted final declaration at least refers to a move away from fossil fuels. COP President Al Jaber sees this as a "balanced plan that addresses emissions". Too little, too late - this will make it difficult to achieve the 1.5 degree target.
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COP28 announced the transition away from fossil fuels. In 1992 in Rio, when a Framework Convention on Climate Change was established, this was the main rationale and perhaps still news. In 2023, this decision is not historic and it is insufficient.
Director and Head of Programme Climate Policy
Climate negotiations among polycrises
The climate negotiations were held under difficult circumstances in the face of poly crises, although the German government has set a framework with the publication of the Strategy on Climate Foreign Policy, which should help to tackle these challenges in a more integrated manner in the future. There will be a lot to do in implementing the strategy, as COP28 made abundantly clear.
The actual positive momentum of the climate conference, the early agreement on funds for loss and damage at the start of the conference, has dwindled more and more over the two weeks. In terms of negotiating tactics, it can certainly be seen as a success that addressing loss and damage was not left on the table until the end, but was tackled early on together with the host country. However, this made the more than modest progress in the areas of mitigation, adaptation and financing all the more apparent as negotiations progressed:
Mitigation: At the latest with the presentation of the final draft, the host and other fossil fuel exporters have clearly positioned themselves as not wanting to agree to a clear move away from the use of fossil fuels. As part of the "Global Stocktake", COP28 should send a clear signal in this regard. The EU and other countries sharply criticise this stance, which is not in line with the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Agreement.
Adaptation: The main issue here is the design of a Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA). There are no statements on the definition of a framework of indicators in order to be able to monitor progress in a comprehensible manner. Decisive impetus for the intensification of adaptation efforts is not to be expected, at least not from this document - much is currently being done here with regard to the efforts to draw up and implement national adaptation plans.
Climate financing: On the plus side, there are a number of pledges on climate financing: including 30 billion US dollars for a new climate fund by the UAE, the replenishment of the Green Climate Fund by the US and others, as well as pledges for the Adaptation Fund and the Loss and Damage Fund. What is still missing are concrete figures on financial commitments, especially with regard to the period after 2025 and thus securing a long-term financing framework, which is so urgently demanded by developing countries.
adelphi sets the tone for the implementation of the Paris Agreement
While the climate negotiations in Dubai are once again on the brink of failure, adelphi has set the tone at this COP to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement. adelphi's Climate Diplomacy team supported the adoption of the COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate, Relief, Recovery and Peace and, in close cooperation with the African Union, published the first African Climate Security Risk Assessment at the COP.
The water team shared and discussed research findings on the impact of climate change on the country's water resources with the Somali Minister of Environment. At various events, adelphi's Carbon Markets team discussed the prospects for emissions trading and carbon pricing. These activities promote sustainable social transformation processes at very different levels - including in countries such as Haiti, which have a difficult position in international climate policy and are affected by a variety of crises.
Difficult discussions over sustainable solutions can also be expected in 2024. The climate caravan will move on to Azerbaijan for COP29, where the COP presidency in Baku from 11-22.11.24 will once again be held by a country that is heavily influenced by the production of fossil fuels.
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