COP28, a missed opportunity to phase-out fossil fuels
The COP28 has been a controversial summit from the beginning, because of its presidency having close ties to fossil fuels and an unprecedented presence of lobbyists. It concluded on December 13 with an insufficient agreement. Our colleagues Bruna Cañada and Clàudia Custodio travelled to Dubai to follow it up.
24 hours later than expected, the first global assessment of the Paris Agreement has been approved, which evaluates the work of the countries in adopting measures to face the climate emergency and marks the roadmap to achieve future commitments. Although the document talks about fossil fuels for the first time and directly relates them to the climate emergency, it does not commit countries to abandon them, but simply to reduce the most polluting ones.
Despite Al Jaber’s earlier statements that science had not proven that fuel phase-out was necessary, the final agreement acknowledges the work of the IPCC and the need to make major changes to contain the temperature rise to below 1.5ºC. However, it comes with a carte blanche to false solutions.
The linguistic dispute between “phase-down” and “phase-out” has given rise to a new term, “transition away”, a way of referring to “leaving behind” or “transitioning towards”. This is problematic because there is no mention of the need to move away from fossil fuels for good. This insufficient abandonment of fossil fuels is put on the same level as the promotion of alternatives such as low-carbon hydrogen, nuclear energy or carbon storage technologies. Technologies that continue to depend on increased fossil fuel extraction, and therefore do not represent a real alternative to address the climate emergency.
With regard to financing, the parties’ inability to raise the 100,000 million dollars for the loss and damage fund and the difficulty of obtaining public financing that does not involve conditionalities or an increase in the external debt of those countries that are suffering most directly from the consequences of climate change were also pointed out. On the other hand, although the Adaptation Gap Report mentions the need for adaptation funding and the willingness to double current funding, the sum would be insufficient to cover real needs. Without upfront, transparent and quality funding, an unjust globalisation model will continue to be perpetuated, leaving rich countries green and impoverished countries grey, flooded and displaced.
COP29 in Azerbaijan
And after a COP28 that was not very ambitious in terms of eliminating fossil fuels, the next meeting in 2024 also looks set to take place in another oil-producing country, Azerbaijan. COP29 will take place in another oil-producing country, Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has been ruled by the Aliyev family since 1991 and has a long list of political prisoners, regime opponents and human rights defenders who have been systematically repressed by the Aliyev regime. Last November journalists Sevinj Vagifgyzy and Ulvi Hasanli were arrested for investigating the family’s wealth. The country’s current president, Ilham Aliyev, was found to be corrupt in 2012 by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.
Azerbaijan’s national hydrocarbon company has done business with the EU to export gas through the Southern Gas Corridor (Azerbaijan-Italy pipeline) and has recently been one of the companies chosen by Israel to explore gas reserves in the Levant Sea in the midst of the genocide in Gaza. Azerbaijan also has a fluid relationship with Israel through arms purchases from the Zionist regime.
To see the follow-up videos of our partners, from Dubai: