The COP28 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, was the biggest of its kind. Some 85,000 participants, including more than 150 Heads of State and Government, were among the representatives of national delegations, civil society, business, Indigenous Peoples, youth, philanthropy, and international organizations in attendance at the Conference from 30 November to 13 December 2023.

COP28 was particularly momentous as it marked the conclusion of the first ‘global stocktake’ of the world’s efforts to address climate change under the Paris Agreement. Having shown that progress was too slow across all areas of climate action – from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to strengthening resilience to a changing climate, to getting the financial and technological support to vulnerable nations – countries responded with a decision on how to accelerate action across all areas by 2030. This includes a call on governments to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels to renewables such as wind and solar power in their next round of climate commitments.

Below we unpack the significance of this crucial decision and some of the key highlights from COP28 that marked major steps forward in the global effort to address the climate emergency. Of course, the work doesn’t begin and end with COP28, so we’ve also outlined some of the challenges and opportunities heading into 2024 and beyond.

Signalling the ‘beginning of the end’ for the fossil fuel era

COP28 closed with an agreement that signals the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era by laying the ground for a swift, just and equitable transition, underpinned by deep emissions cuts and scaled-up finance. As COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said: “We have language on fossil fuel in the (COP) final agreement for the first time ever.” It clearly points to the direction of travel in the energy transition, and that the scale …

New funding for loss and damage

The two-week-long conference got underway with a historic agreement on the operationalization of funding arrangements for addressing loss and damage, including a new dedicated fund under the UNFCCC – the first time a substantive decision was adopted on the first day of the conference. Commitments to address loss and damage started coming in moments after the decision was …

Enhancing global efforts to strengthen resilience

In a major step forward, Parties agreed on targets for the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) and its framework, which identify where the world needs to get to in order to be resilient to the impacts of a changing climate and to assess countries’ efforts.

The GGA framework reflects a global consensus on adaptation targets and covers the themes of water, food, health, ecosystems, infrastructure, …

Linking climate action with nature conservation

COP28 resulted in unprecedented recognition and momentum for linking efforts to address the climate and biodiversity crises. Alongside pollution, these make up the triple planetary crisis – the three, main interlinked environmental issues facing humanity.

Governments were called on to consider ecosystems, biodiversity and carbon stores, such as forests, when developing their stronger national …

Ramping up practical climate solutions

In parallel with the formal negotiations, the Global Climate Action space at COP28 provided a platform for governments, businesses and civil society to collaborate and showcase their practical climate solutions.

The High-Level Champions, under the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, launched their implementation roadmap of 2030 Climate …

Looking ahead

The negotiations on the ‘enhanced transparency framework’ at COP28 laid the ground for a new era of implementing the Paris Agreement. UN Climate Change is developing the transparency reporting and review tools for use by Parties, which were showcased and tested at COP28. The final versions of the reporting tools should be made available to Parties by June 2024.

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COP28: What Was Achieved and What Happens Next?


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Tags: ‘beginning of the end’ for the fossil fuel era, COP28: What Was Achieved, Linking climate action with nature conservation, New funding for loss and damage, Ramping up practical climate solutions