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Reform Magazine | July 15, 2024

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COP28: The end of the Fossil Fuels Era? - Reform Magazine

COP28: The end of the Fossil Fuels Era?

The COP28 summit on global warming reached what has been called a historic agreement. Does it signal the end of fossil fuels or is it just more empty rhetoric? asks Hannah Eves

After a tense final two days, on the morning of Wednesday 13 December, COP28, meeting in the United Arab Emirates, concluded with a ‘global stocktake’ decision known as the ‘UAE Consensus’. This acts as a climate report card, with the goal of measuring countries’ progress on actions to address climate change, against what was set out in the Paris Agreement of 2015. Fossil fuels were at the heart of discussions because the science has been clear for a long time now that we cannot keep burning coal, oil and gas if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate breakdown.

What we got was a mixed bag. On the one hand, this is the first time that we have seen the key cause of climate change – burning fossil fuels – acknowledged in the text. This offers a useful tool to push for more action from UK political leaders. However, the document has been widely criticised as falling short of what the science demands, which is to insist on a rapid end to fossil production and consumption. The text simply calls on countries to ‘transition away from fossil fuels’. The UAE Consensus also contains a ‘litany of loopholes’ allowing governments to avoid cutting fossil fuels, and instead concentrate solely on capturing and storing carbon – a technology untried at scale – and invest in renewable energy. It cannot be one or the other, we must phase out fossil fuels rapidly as well as investing in climate solutions. Whatever the groundbreaking rhetoric, it is clear that in reality we are still not moving as fast on as science urges…

Hannah Eves is Policy and Campaigns Officer at the environmental charity A Rocha UK

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Join A Rocha UK’s Wild Christian community for regular updates on campaigns at arocha.org.uk/wild-christian. Join A Rocha UK’s Eco Church scheme at ecochurch.arocha.org.uk

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This is an extract from an article published in the February 2024 edition of Reform

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