DUBAI (December 13, 2023) The UN climate negotiations in Dubai concluded with delegates agreeing to transition the world away from fossil fuels, set the Loss and Damage Fund in motion and establish a framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation.   

Following is a statement from Ani Dasgupta, President and CEO, World Resources Institute:  

“Fossil fuels finally faced a reckoning at the UN climate negotiations after three decades of dodging the spotlight. This historic outcome marks the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era. Despite immense pressure from oil and gas interests, high ambition countries courageously stood their ground and sealed the fate of fossil fuels. Now a critical test is whether far more finance is mobilized for developing countries to help make the energy transition possible.  

“The outcome rightly recognizes that countries will follow different pathways to shift away from fossil fuels, but the resounding message is that no nation can sit out the energy transition. The shift from fossil fuels must be fair and fast — and no one can be left behind.  

“At COP28, governments delivered a robust response to the Global Stocktake that can steer humanity towards a safer future for us all. To turn the decisions at these climate talks into reality, countries now need to incorporate strong targets into their national commitments to shift away from fossil fuels, scale-up renewables and much more. 

“While negotiators sent a strong signal in Dubai, the final outcome contains some large footholds for the fossil fuel industry that must be swept away at future negotiations. Most notably, the deal fails to address limitations of carbon capture technology when the reality is it can only play a very small role in our fight against climate change and should not be used as an excuse to slow the transition to renewables.  

“The outcome makes clear that tackling the climate crisis requires transformational action across the board rather than any one sector. The combined calls to triple renewable energy, double energy efficiency, accelerate sustainable transport, transform the food system and protect forests and nature will accelerate the transition to a new climate economy that is good for people, nature and the only planet we’ve got.  

“Setting the Loss and Damage Fund in motion and announcing around $700 million in early pledges in the first days of COP28 was a clear step forward after the issue had languished in the negotiations for decades. Of course, these pledges are just a drop in the ocean compared to the $580 billion in climate-related damages that vulnerable countries may face in 2030. The success of the fund hinges on dramatically scaling-up funding and quickly deploying resources to people in need.  

“Negotiators brought the Global Goal on Adaptation to life by introducing a framework for how countries can bolster their resilience to increasingly severe climate impacts. However, it was disappointing that the targets did not have numbers attached to them and that the framework did not integrate a stronger call for financial support to ensure developing countries have the resources to actually deliver on these aims. 

“Now attention turns to decisive tasks that will dominate the climate agenda for the next two years: preparing for new national climate commitments and reaching agreement on a new global climate finance goal.  

“The final outcome at COP28 made clear that all future national climate commitments should emphasize ambitious sectoral measures, from shifting to fossil-free transport to scaling-up renewables. The Food Declaration reinforced this outcome by committing over 150 countries to set ambitious targets on food in their national climate plans, while the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships similarly called for countries to incorporate robust urban climate actions. New national climate plans must include targets with deep emissions cuts that align with the IPCC’s findings that we must reduce emissions by 60% by 2035 to keep the 1.5°C goal within reach.  

“The transition to a climate-smart future will be just a figment of our imagination without adequate funding flowing to developing countries to make it happen.  

“To keep global climate goals within reach, the world needs to achieve $4.3 trillion in annual climate-related finance flows by 2030. Announcements at COP28 moved things in the right direction with billions of dollars pledged to bolster resilience and support climate action in developing countries. But it is nowhere near enough. Over the next year we need to increase funding commitments, redirect capital to climate action, identify new sources and continue to overhaul the international financial system.  

“The COP29 climate summit in Azerbaijan next year must be one for the history books, when the world finally shifts the scale of climate finance from billions to trillions.”