Washington, DC – The agreement reached today in Dubai represents a transformational moment in global efforts to tackle the root causes of climate change. Foreign Policy for America applauds the final outcome of COP28, along with the many ambitious sectoral, finance, and policy initiatives launched at the summit. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration to strengthen U.S. leadership on what must come next: bold action and investment to deliver the energy transition and climate resilience called for in the Global Stocktake (GST).
“Today’s agreement is a tremendous win for families everywhere on the front lines of climate change,” said Andrew Albertson, Executive Director of Foreign Policy for America. “FP4A commends the leadership shown by the Biden-Harris Administration, developing country representatives, and the climate leaders who converged on COP in fighting hard for this important outcome in the face of fierce resistance. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry deserves particular credit for what emerged from COP, having pushed for greater ambition right up until the very last minute. From here, the hard work begins to ensure that the promise and opportunity of a clean energy and climate resilient future is fully realized, both here at home and around the world.”
On the first day of the summit, parties came together to agree to new funding arrangements to address climate-related Loss and Damage. Today, the gathering closed with another historic first: an agreement among more than 190 parties to the UNFCCC explicitly recognizing that the path to a sustainable, secure, and prosperous future requires a hastened transition from fossil fuel dependence to a global clean energy economy. It establishes a firm and quantifiable goal to triple renewable energy capacity and double the rate of energy efficiency improvement by 2030, and, in another first, calls for a comprehensive “transition from fossil fuels… accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science.”
To tackle a problem as vast and existential as climate change, we must start by diagnosing it accurately and honestly; that’s what today’s findings begin to do. Up to this point a narrow, qualified focus on specific categories or classes of fossil fuels and agreements among subsets of countries, such as the G7, have painted an incomplete picture of what needs to occur. Coming out of COP28, we have a new, clear, and shared understanding of the path forward and a basis for holding all parties, including ourselves, accountable.
Even as we celebrate the progress reflected in the GST, the same document offers a sobering assessment of how far off course we remain. There are also key areas in which it falls short or equivocates, including the role of “transition fuels… in ensuring energy security,” and the mobilization of finance and other forms of support for developing country climate efforts. Concerns being raised around these and other issues are well founded and speak to the need to build on the foundation that has been laid in Dubai. What will ultimately determine whether we are able to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change are the actions – and resources – we put behind the words on the page.