COP28: Key takeaways from the UN climate summit

Posted on December, 13 2023

After two weeks of negotiations the UN climate summit, Cop28, came to a close in Dubai. Here are the main takeaways from 2023’s largest global conference on the climate crisis.

A transition from fossil fuels but not a full phase-out

After days of intense negotiations, a landmark agreement emerged from the UN climate summit in Dubai, marking a significant step towards addressing the climate crisis. 

For the first time in history, the agreement explicitly calls on all nations to transition away from fossil fuels, a crucial step in curbing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global warming.

While the agreement stopped short of explicitly calling for a phase-out of fossil fuels, a move that many governments had hoped for, its acknowledgment of the need to move away from these polluting energy sources represents a significant shift in global climate diplomacy. 
The text clearly recognizes the urgency of the situation, stating that "deep, rapid and sustained reductions" in emissions are essential to avoid the devastating consequences of exceeding the 1.5°C warming threshold set out by the Paris Agreement.

This newfound recognition of the need to transition away from fossil fuels is a testament to the growing global consensus on the urgency of the climate crisis. 

It is a sign that even in the face of immense challenges and vested interests, nations are able to come together to address this existential threat. Now countries must turn this agreement into action.

This will require a significant scale up of climate finance to unlock this action.

Developed countries must deliver the finance needed to ensure all countries can rapidly decarbonise and restore nature.

Despite these challenges, the agreement reached at COP28 is a step in the right direction, signaling a willingness among nations to recognize the gravity of the situation and take action to address it. 

The first global stocktake revealed we're off track

The world is not on track to meet the goal of limiting rising temperatures to 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels. This was the stark conclusion of the first Global Stocktake (GST), conducted at COP28, the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The GST, a comprehensive assessment of global climate action, found that current national commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are woefully inadequate. 

To stay within the 1.5°C warming target, global emissions need to be cut by 42% below 2010 levels by 2030. However, current NDCs put us on track for only a 14% reduction.

The GST served as a sobering reminder of the urgency of climate action. 

The world is rapidly approaching the point of no return, and we need to take immediate and drastic action to avert the worst impacts of climate change. 

The GST outcome is a call to action for all countries, businesses, and individuals to step up their efforts and work together to achieve a sustainable future.

What is WWF’s assessment?

WWF welcomes the decision by countries to transition away from fossil fuels, but is disappointed at the failure to commit to a full phase out.

WWF calls for increased ambition and implementation of climate action, highlighting the need to transform energy systems and replace fossil fuels with clean and cheaper renewable energy at an unprecedented speed and scale.

The WWF also calls for more funding to help people in harm's way and for action to protect nature.

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