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The Colombian Environment Minister highlighted that the final agreement does not introduce changes to the international power structures that drive the current climate crisis.
On Wednesday, 198 countries approved the final declaration of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) through which it was agreed to advance an energy transition through the gradual abandonment of fossil fuels.
The COP28 text seeks to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To this end, deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of 43 percent by 2030 and 60 percent by 2035 are requested, taking the emissions recorded in 2019 as a reference.
"It is a historic and unprecedented achievement," said COP28 President Emirati Sultan Al Yaber, who thanked the hard work of the delegations that negotiated the "Global Balance" text to reach consensus until the early hours of today.
For the first time in United Nations climate summits, the current text acknowledges the need for a transition away from fossil fuels and opens the door to transitional fuels and carbon capture and storage technologies.
A New UN ‘Roadmap’ Lays Out a Global Vision for #Food Security and #Emissions Reductions. Critics applaud food-related ambitions at COP28, but say they don’t address livestock emissions and rely too much on #bioenergyhttps://t.co/BnPV5ERi9T
"Many said this couldn't be done, but when I spoke to you at the beginning of this assembly, I promised a different summit, one that would bring everyone together: the private and public sectors, civil society, NGOs, religious leaders, youth, and Indigenous peoples. Everyone came together from day one," Al Yaber pointed out.
"The world has just made a historic decision at COP28 to initiate an irreversible and accelerated transition away from fossil fuels," said Wopke Hoekstra, the European Commissioner for Climate Action.
"It is not all done, but we have taken a very important step forward," said the Spanish Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera.
"It's a first step and an advance over the Paris Agreement. Let's accelerate!" said French President Emmanuel Macron.
The general atmosphere at the Dubai convention center was one of satisfaction, but dissenting voices were also heard.
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"It is crucial that developed countries take the lead and ensure the necessary means for developing countries," explained Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva.
The text represents a "step forward" but "does not provide the necessary balance to strengthen global action," reacted the Alliance of Small Island States.
Colombian Environment Minister Susana Muhamad lamented the inclusion of transitional fuels in the COP28 agreement and recalled that her nation has joined a coalition of countries committed to ceasing investments in oil exploitation.
Furthermore, the ambition outlined in the COP28 agreement to move away from fossil fuels must be supported by "a change in the rules of the international economic and financial system," Muhamad requested.
I don’t care how some politicians try to spin it: the @COP28_UAE was a huge failure.
"Those rules are currently disadvantageous and maintain structural inequality between developed and developing countries," the Colombian minister stressed.
"To ensure that the goals set today truly reach 1.5 degrees, a more structural change must be made that we have not really achieved in this COP. We haven't even sent a strong and sufficient political signal," she lamented.
This lack of decisiveness poses risks such as "fossil capital taking over decarbonization spaces under the banner of transitional fuels, which are still fossil fuels and do not contribute to the transformation we need in the time we need it," Muhamad warned.
"It's a risk that the text leaves open, and if there is not a real action to treat climate as an emergency, as we did with COVID with extraordinary measures, it can easily materialize."
#FromTheSouth News Bits | The world could exceed the 1.5°C warming threshold in just seven years if CO2 emissions continue to rise, a group of scientists warned, urging countries participating in COP28 to act now. pic.twitter.com/nv00XHRxZN