Climate change

Historic deal delivered at COP28

In spite of the controversies surrounding COP28, progress has been made at this year's climate summit in Dubai as nearly 200 countries reached a historic agreement.

15/12/2023
Written by Oceanographic
Photograph by Grant Thomas / Ocean Image Bank

For the first time in the history of the climate conference, COP28 delivered a deal which “calls for a transition away from fossil fuels, sets a goal to triple renewable energy by 2030, and outlines aggressive targets to cut methane emissions”, according to an article by Only One.

“One of the biggest breakthroughs came on the very first day, when, in an unprecedented signal of unity, delegates agreed on the framework for the Loss and Damage Fund and proceeded to seed it with more than $700 million to help climate-vulnerable countries cope with the mounting costs and impacts of the climate crisis,” it further read.

Almost 200 nations negotiated the details of the much-anticipated deal into overtime until early Wednesday morning. The agreement calls for tripling renewable energy by 2030, reducing methane emissions, the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund, and for the first time, a transition away from fossil fuels. Following the announcement, Bloomberg News commented: “Dubai may well be the most significant COP since the Paris Agreement in 2015.”

John Auckland, CEO and co-founder of Seafields, a UK-headquartered company that aims to remove billions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere by cultivating and harvesting seaweed in the Atlantic Ocean, said: “The decision to move away from fossil fuels is a welcomed recognition of what we must do to prevent the catastrophic impacts of climate change becoming a reality. We already have the ability and ideas to make the transition to use alternatives to fossil fuels – such as products made from seaweed. For example, typical fertiliser production produces a lot of CO2, but if you instead make it from Sargassum (which itself sequesters carbon), there is a substantial net emissions decrease.”

He continued: “We are pleased by today’s news but stopping ongoing carbon emissions isn’t enough; we must do more. We need to remove historic emissions from the fossil fuel industry to bring our climate back into a safe zone. At Seafields, we will permanently remove CO2 from the atmosphere by cultivating Sargassum and then processing, baling and sinking it to the bottom of the deep ocean. We hope the decision today shifts the focus on to alternatives to the fossil fuel industry and simultaneously allows for significant upscaling of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) solutions too.”

Other significant commitments made over the past two weeks are a new marine protected area in the Pacific five times the size of the United States, a $225 million commitment to protect one billion hectares in the ‘Pacific Blue Continent’ which will fund the creation of new MPAs to safeguard 30% of the Pacific Ocean, the first-ever summit of local leaders, the expansion of the Zero Emissions Maritime Buyers Alliance and the announcement of new green shipping corridors, additional commitments to the Green Climate Fund, including $3 billion from the United States, a $2.59 billion investment in protecting and restoring nature, including mangroves, the fact that 134 world leaders signed on to Food and Agriculture Declaration, and seek to mobilise $2.5 billion in investment, as well as the commitment of over $1 billion to cut methane emissions.

“These commitments and so many others from cross-sector leaders mark significant progress that is worthy of celebration. Yet, as we come to the end of COP28, it’s hard to ignore the truth that we still need to move much faster and much further to tackle the climate crisis, support the communities that are most impacted, and avoid the most devastating consequences going forward,” commented a spokesperson from Only One.

Tara Clee, ESG analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “COP28 has been a conference of controversies. From leaked briefing documents allegedly show the UAE’s intention to strike fossil fuel deals with 15 nations, to the unprecedented number of fossil fuel lobbyist attendees. This perfect storm has shifted the trajectory of our transition, with the decision to “phase out” of fossil fuels weakening to be a commitment to “phase down”. This lack of urgency from policymakers highlights the need for investors to take the reins in driving real world emission reductions.”

 

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Written by Oceanographic
Photograph by Grant Thomas / Ocean Image Bank

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