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A done deal? Analysing the second week of COP28


In a bustling conference hall on the final day of COP28, the gavel came down on what has been described as a ‘landmark’ deal to transition away from fossil fuels and save the globe from further climate breakdown. But is it the solution we’ve been searching for, or just a quick fix riddled with ‘gaping loopholes’?

First, the positives. Throughout the last two weeks of climate negotiations, the spotlight has been shone on the fossil fuel industry, exposing it to scrutiny from all sides. Delegates from nations across the globe have hailed the success of COP28, with some praising COP President Sultan Al Jaber for his leadership, and others applauding the multilateral approach taken to amend the first draft of the text after some had expressed concerns.

As the summit drew to a close, John Kerry, US climate change envoy, said: “I want to first thank the entire UAE team. I think as you look around this room, it underscores the complications of bringing 200 countries together and finding consensus. Everyone here should be pleased… this is a moment where multilateralism has come together. That is hard.”

That positive opinion was not held by everyone, however. Scientist Bill Hare, from non-profit Climate Analytics, stated that: “Overall, the text looks like a major victory for the oil and gas producing countries.” He argued that the lack of solid commitment to phase out fossil fuels, and no commitment for emissions to peak by 2025, are serious omissions. The chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, Anne Rasmussen, said: “This process has failed us. It seems you just gavelled the decision and the small island states were not in the room.”

Small island states such as Samoa, Haiti, Fiji, St Kitts and Nevis, Mauritius, and Vanuatu are incredibly vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels. She concluded that despite “strong elements” of the text, “we have come to the conclusion that the course correction we have needed has not been secured.”


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