Top takeaways from historic COP28 deal on fossil fuels

Senior Global Correspondent
Illustration by Samson Awosan.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — The annual climate conference COP28 concluded here with a historic agreement to transition away from fossil fuels to complement nearly two weeks of side deals and a plethora of pledges for new climate finance.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Final agreement by all countries to “transition” from fossil fuels “in a just, orderly and equitable manner” while “accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science.” While a compromise and carefully worded, this statement is the first time a COP has ever addressed the future role of all fossil fuels in the energy transition.
  • Set up a special fund to funnel money from wealthy to low-income countries.
  • More than 120 countries agreed in a side deal to strive to triple renewable energy and double energy efficiency.
  • The UAE, which hosted the conference, teamed up with global financiers and philanthropies pledges more than $80 billion in climate financing. This includes a $30 billion fund that Abu Dhabi and a collection of global financial titans such as Blackrock agreed to set up, and another $31 billion that multilateral development banks said they would devote to climate projects.
  • Key pieces of UN rules about how carbon markets will work were put off until next year’s COP.

Read more in Cipher’s Top Reads and Hot Takes from other media outlets:

COP28 ends with deal on transition away from fossil fuels Bloomberg

Bill’s take: For all the caveats and hedging, it’s impossible not to see the conclusion of this year’s climate summit as a historic declaration that marks the beginning of the end of fossil fuels. Only hard work and purpose will make it actually happen, and fast enough to make a difference to global warming.

Reaction to the final COP28 climate dealReuters

Anca’s take: Useful, comprehensive and diverse set of immediate reactions from government officials. Some applaud the deal as a milestone, others describe it as a bare minimum.

After 30 years of waiting, Cop28 deal addresses the elephant in the roomThe Guardian

Anca’s take: It’s remarkable that an oil-producing country managed to insert a commitment on reducing fossil fuels into the deal, but it’s also important not to forget that many countries are planning a massive increase in production in the years ahead.

The price tag of COP28’s renewable energy pledgePOLITICO Europe

Anca’s take: To achieve the renewable target, countries will need to bet big on solar and wind. Doubling energy efficiency improvements (the second pledge) is a more complex challenge.