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COP28 decides to transition away from fossil fuels

Kaukab Shairani
December 13, 2023

All-night negotations in Dubai have resulted in a historic agreement to transition away from fossil fuels. Scientists say it is the last best hope to stave off climate disaster.


A historic deal reached at the UN climate conference.

Delegates agreed that fossil fuels have got to go, to keep up efforts to get to no more than one and a half degrees of global warming by the middle of this century.

Fossil fuels are by far the biggest driver of human-induced climate change

(Sultan al-Jaber, COP28 President)
''We have given it a robust action plan to keep 1.5 within reach. It is a plan that is led by science. It is a balanced plan that tackles emissions.''

Many world leaders present at the summit see it as a milestone. 

(Annalena Baerbock, German Foreign Minister)
"This is a day of great joy. Many people across the world have worked tirelessly to achieve this result."

It was no easy feat. 

The agreement came after hours of overtime negotiations at the Dubai summit.

Some parties were opposed to the words "phase out" being included in the deal.

The phrase was eventually replaced with "transitioning away" from fossil fuels. 

Some climate activists feel it is too little, too late. 

(Joseph Sikulu, Tonga Climate Activist)
''The text as it is now is still a death sentence for the Pacific. We can celebrate the small incremental changes but there is not enough done in there to address the root cause of the climate crisis which is the extraction of fossil fuels. There is not enough in there to address the phaseout of fossil fuels and we cannot continually come here and celebrate the peanuts that is given to our region.''

Other critics of the deal say it does not impose enough responsibility on rich countries to cut fossil fuel use — and provides too little support to low-income nations. 

But that did not stand in the way of a deal going through.