COP28: 4 key agreements from the Dubai climate summit

15 December, 2023

Maintaining the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC, initiating the transition to “leave behind” fossil fuels, accelerating the development of renewable energies and energy efficiency and setting up a fund for developing countries to deal with the consequences of global warming are some of the most important points made at the climate summit held in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is one of the most important diplomatic events in the world, attended by heads of state, ministers and representatives from nearly 200 countries to seek solutions in the fight against climate change. In addition, the role of the United Arab Emirates as host has conditioned the development of the COP28 itself, as this country is one of the world’s main oil producers.

The agreement could be a decisive step

towards the global goal of curbing temperature rise

What were the COP28 agreements?

On this occasion, the organisers did not schedule any conferences, lectures or high-level mass events during the last two official days of the summit. The intention was for delegations to focus on negotiations to reach the necessary compromises to meet the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial records. It even took an extra day for delegations to agree on the terms of the summit outcome document.

Some of the main agreements reached at COP28 are:

  • Preservation of the 1.5°C target. The most important point, on which the rest of the agreement is built, is the preservation of the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC, a target set in the Paris Agreement. The text explicitly mentions the need to reach net zero emissions by 2050, with an ambitious global emissions reduction pathway, and calls countries to action: 43% reduction by 2030 and 60% by 2035, both targets based on 2019 data. The roadmap also includes the intention to accelerate and substantially reduce emissions other than CO2, including in particular methane emissions. 
  • Phasing out fossil fuels. The delegations agreed to begin the transition away from fossil fuels. The signed text stresses the need for such a transition to be carried out in an equitable and orderly manner, taking into account the different needs of countries. This point has been considered historic, as it is the first time an explicit mention of the future of this type of fuel has been made at a climate summit. The agreement could be a decisive step towards the global goal of curbing temperature rise.
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency. Key actions in the agreement include tripling global renewable energy capacity to at least 11,000 GW by 2030 and doubling the average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements. This commitment is crucial to meet the 1.5°C limit and recognises the need for high-level political action to accelerate energy efficiency improvements and the scaling up of renewables.
  • Loss and damage fund. This mechanism had been previously agreed at COP27, held at Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt), but it was only at COP28 that its operation has been specified. This is a fund to help those developing countries that are suffering the most from the consequences of climate change

Several nations have already announced the amount of resources they will contribute. For example, the United Arab Emirates and Germany each pledged $100 million, the United Kingdom will give £40 million, the United States will pay $17.5 million and Japan will give $10 million.

After almost two weeks of negotiations and more than 70,000 attendees, COP28 left unfinished business in areas as diverse as financing, emissions reductions and the energy transition. During the next meetings in Azerbaijan (COP29) and Brazil (COP30), there will be more certainty about the future results of what has been agreed in Dubai.