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The historic climate agreement reached in Dubai at COP28

The historic climate agreement reached in Dubai at COP28

Perhaps the most decisive handshake occurred at 10:30 a.m. in the Al Hayrat Grand Hall for the COP28 climate meeting in Dubai. China’s chief negotiator Xie Zhenhua approached Danish Environment Minister Dan Jorgensen, shook his hand and said, “Thank you for your hard work” and “We don’t like this text, but we accept it.”

Dan Jorgensen was responsible for the toughest issue in the negotiations: the global review involving the phase-out of fossil fuels. This announcement means that a historic agreement was very close to being reached in Dubai.

Late Monday he threatened The European Union withdrew from the negotiations, after proposing an agreement that many interpreted as a disaster. But after a long night of distraction, the host nation, the United Arab Emirates, was able to submit a new proposal early Wednesday morning local time — and much of the weak wording disappeared.

Photography: Giuseppe Casassi/AFP

Shortly after Shaking Led Jorgensen’s hand, Sultan Al Jaber, the head of the COP28 climate summit, was able to put the gavel on the table – and with a standing ovation, he announced that the agreement had been decided.

He said: – Together we have put the world in the right direction. We have created a strong plan to keep the 1.5 degree target alive, a plan based on science.

According to Dan Jorgensen, the gathering of forces from a large part of the world’s countries within two weeks of the meeting was what ultimately decided.

Danish Environment Minister Dan Jørgensen.

Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

– I stood by Xie two years ago, when we were trying to reach an agreement on coal. Then China became very angry and threatened to withdraw from the negotiations. It’s only been two years. Now we have an agreement that applies not only to coal, but to all fossil fuels, he continues:

The turning point was when the president realized that 130 countries were behind the phase-out of fossil fuels.

Really as sharp as it gets However, the wording is not related to fossil fuels. Under the agreement now reached, countries around the world must double renewable energy and triple energy efficiency. The phase-out of coal-based energy – a formula that made history in Glasgow two years ago – must be accelerated. Hence the most controversial issue of all: the world must transition away from fossil fuels in its energy systems. It must be done in a fair and orderly manner, but also at a faster pace “during this critical decade.” Fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or a just transition must be eliminated as quickly as possible.

It is a weakening of promises to phase out fossil fuels discussed earlier during the climate meeting, but a sharp tightening compared to the previous draft.

A crowd of people at the Al Hayrat public hall for the COP28 climate meeting on Wednesday.

Photography: Giuseppe Casassi/AFP

Residents DN spoke to believe this represents a paradigm shift in global climate action.

“It is certainly a historic turning point,” says Alden Mayer, senior advisor at the E3G climate think tank.

He means that agreement The Glasgow conference two years ago, where the world agreed to phase out coal power, was the first crack in the massive resistance that had prevailed in the negotiations to even talk about fossil fuels.

– If it is the first crack, this means a massive failure of the dam. Now oil and gas are included, and we also have formulas to triple renewable energy by 2030, he continues:

– If I were Saudi Arabia, I would be worried. The dam collapses before their eyes. They try to save him, but they are on the wrong side of history.

The COP28 climate conference is held in Dubai.

Photography: Giuseppe Casassi/AFP

At the same time there are some The wording is sure to attract criticism in the text, among other things, about carbon dioxide capture – but there are nonetheless limitations to this being done mainly in sectors that have difficulty transitioning away from fossil fuels.

They all have a common goal of having the world reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Environmental groups on Wednesday morning welcomed the tightening of the agreement, but criticized it as insufficient, and questioned Al-Jaber’s claim that it would limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

– This text helps avoid a disaster in Dubai, but it does not avoid a disaster for the planet, says Tom Evans, a policy advisor at the climate research center E3G.

For decades, UN climate negotiations have failed to identify fossil fuels as the driving force behind climate change

Stephen Cornelius, Head Chef As for the climate within the WWF, he also believes the agreement represents a clear improvement over what was on the table Monday.

– The wording regarding fossil fuels is much better, but it does not stipulate the necessity of phasing out coal, oil and gas completely. He says this is not quite in line with what is needed to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

It may seem ridiculous that the world was previously unable to agree on the necessity of the disappearance of fossil fuels, after science has been able to prove for more than a hundred years that burning fossil fuels leads to global warming. The reason is that decisions at climate meetings must be made by consensus – nearly 200 countries, fossil fuel nations, poor and vulnerable nations, rich Western nations and small island nations must agree on all formulations.

Teresa Ribera, Minister of the Environment in the European Union Presidency of Spain.

Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Earlier in the morning, DN met with Teresa Ribera, Environment Minister at the EU Presidency in Spain who is leading the EU delegation in Dubai, when she was on her way to a meeting with other EU countries.

Is it exciting that fossil fuels are back in the draft?

– It took 30 years, she says.

At the same time, there are many strong statements about the state of the world. The countries express “deep concern that 2023 will be the warmest year on record and that the impacts of climate change are accelerating rapidly.”

The agreement also stipulates Poor countries do not need to act as forcefully and quickly as rich countries, which was a point of contention in the negotiations. Among other things, the “principle of common but differentiated responsibility” is highlighted here. Measures must also be consistent with sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

fact.This is what the countries promised

In the agreement, the countries wrote that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees requires “deep, rapid and permanent reductions in global emissions of greenhouse gases.” Emissions must be reduced by 43 percent by 2030 and 60 percent by 2035 compared to the 2019 level. By 2050, the world needs to reach net zero carbon dioxide emissions.

To achieve this, countries commit, among other things, to:

● Accelerate global efforts towards zero-emission energy systems

Use zero-emission or low-emission fuels.

● Accelerate efforts to phase out coal power without using carbon capture technology.

● Achieve an orderly and just transition away from fossil fuels and accelerate action “in this critical decade,” to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 based on science.

● Accelerate the pace of low-emissions technologies, including renewable energy, nuclear power, and carbon capture technologies – especially in sectors where phasing out fossil fuels is difficult.

● Accelerate and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, especially methane emissions, by 2030.

● Accelerating the reduction of emissions resulting from land transport in various ways

● Phase out ineffective fossil fuel subsidies that do not target energy poverty or a just transition, as soon as possible.

However, countries also point out that “transition fuels” – fossil gas – can play a role in facilitating the energy transition while ensuring energy security. At the same time, it is welcome that the costs of many low-emission technologies have been falling continuously, especially wind, solar and storage.

Countries also stress the importance of preserving, protecting and restoring nature and ecosystems to achieve the 1.5 degree target – including through increased efforts to stop deforestation by 2030.

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