At the close of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) in Dubai, representatives from nearly 200 countries reached an historic consensus, unanimously adopting an agreement that marks a significant turning point in the global fight against climate change. The drafting of this document, drawn up after intense negotiations and a whole night of discussions, testifies to the crucial importance that nations attribute to the climate issue, highlighting a new impetus for a more sustainable future.
Context and significance of the Agreement
The agreement adopted at COP 28 in Dubaï is of historic importance, introducing for the first time the principle of phasing out all fossil fuels. This recognition marks a major milestone in the global quest to contain global warming, underlining the ambitious goal of a fair, orderly and just transition away from fossil fuels by 2050, with the ultimate objective of achieving carbon neutrality.
The negotiation process required a delicate balance between the most ambitious countries, advocating an immediate phase-out of fossil fuels, and those economically dependent on these resources. The compromise reached is based on the concept of “transition”, avoiding more categorical terms such as “phase out”. Although the agreement lacks precise targets and dates for phasing out fossil fuels, it maintains the commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050.
Fossil fuel phase-out: a delicate issue
The notion of “transition” in the text of the agreement represents an initial compromise between the most ambitious countries, such as the small island states and the European Union, and those with more reservations, such as the major oil producers, in particular Saudi Arabia. The former wanted a clear mention of the fossil fuel phase-out, while the latter defended their fossil fuel-dependent economic model.
With no quantified target and no specific date for the definitive phase-out of oil, the agreement was able to satisfy the Gulf States. To secure the support of the most ambitious nations, the text reaffirms the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. At the explicit request of the European Union, it also stresses the urgency of starting to move away from fossil fuels during this “crucial decade”, at a time when the global peak in greenhouse gas emissions linked to these energies has not yet been reached.