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COP-28 Finishes on 12 December

The global climate summit went into overtime on the last days with no deal on the meeting’s final agreement, and countries remained bitterly divided over whether to call time on fossil fuels. Negotiators scrambled at last-ditch meetings to salvage more ambitious language to address the cause of the climate crisis. At the time of writing this Newsletter, the latest draft of the COP28 summit’s centrepiece agreement had dropped previous references to phasing out fossil fuels, causing anger and frustration among some nations and advocates. One NGO labelled the event as just an opportunity for the energy companies to agree deals. More than 100 countries support a phase-out of fossil fuels in some form.

Countries put on a brave face at the end but the overall impression from reading media and blogs is that COP-28 did not reach its targets, at a time when climate change is affecting the globe from North to South and East to West. Climate change negotiators from Africa had called on COP-28 to deliver a fair and balanced Global Stocktake that catalyses greater ambition across all elements of climate action in Africa, centred on equity for a Just Transition, however, several countries have vested interests in fossil fuels and little incentive to change.

As our colleagues and friends at Tralac wrote, “Air pollution causes over 8m deaths per year. By 2050 extreme heat, diarrhoea, dengue, malaria, and malnutrition (stunting) will together cause 21m more deaths than there would be without climate change. At COP-28 in Dubai, state parties are rightly recognising the climate crisis as a health emergency – for the first time – with a Declaration on Climate and Health. COP-28 has also seen the launch of a new set of Guiding Principles for Financing Climate and Health Solutions, a dedicated Health Day and over $2.7bn pledged to health initiatives related to climate change. While these achievements are laudable, the lack of acknowledgement of the role of fossil fuels, specifically, has led to widespread criticism. It has also led to a Call to Action on Climate and Health from the World Health Organisation (WHO) which advocates for the phase-out of fossil fuels.”

We will report further in January. COP-29 will be held next year in Armenia, another oil producing country, and one with a pretty dismal environment record.

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Alastair Tempest

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