27 December 2023

COP 28: Final agreement sets out exit from fossil fuels

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said that globally, last October was the hottest on record, with temperatures 0.8 degrees Celsius higher than the 1991-2020 average. It is almost certain that 2023 will be regarded as the hottest year on record.

The just-concluded edition of COP28 ratified an agreement signed by all world leaders: the decarbonization of the energy sector in favor of renewables and energy efficiency must be accelerated if the 2015 Paris agreements to limit average global warming are to be met. Goals, no longer procrastinable, that apply to the present and future of generations across the planet.
What is COP 28 UAE?
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) is an international climate summit held almost every year. It is attended by world leaders who come together to negotiate and agree on actions on how to address climate change, limit emissions and stop global warming. There are currently 198 Parties (197 countries plus the European Union) to the Convention-a nearly universal membership. Thousands of nongovernmental organizations, businesses, youth groups and other stakeholders also participate in the COP.
This year's COP28 UAE was held from November 30 to December 12 at Expo City Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates as the host country.
What are the most important decisions made in this edition
The organizers and various leaders call this edition of COP28 historic. The most important document produced was the Global Stocktake (GST), which defines the concrete actions that countries will need to put in place to limit global warming to 1.5°C, as stipulated in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Unprecedented, the GST includes a commitment to “moving away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this decade-that is, by 2030-so as to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, as indicated by science.” Removed the
wording invoked by some “phase-out” in favor of “transitioning away” or “moving away”: to many, this wording does not sound reassuring. More industrialized countries may find loopholes. But it is a step forward.
In addition to the net-zero goal by 2050, commitments made by world leaders include:
- Triple global renewable energy capacity and double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030;
- Accelerate efforts to phase out coal-fired power in favor of net-zero energy systems;
- Accelerate zero- and low-emission technologies, such as renewable energy, nuclear, carbon abatement and removal technologies;
- Reduce methane emissions;
- Accelerate the reduction of emissions arising from road transport including through the development of infrastructure and deployment of zero- and low-emission vehicles.
The word oil never appears in the agreement, but “fossil fuels” appears for the first time. More than just a curiosity, noted globally, to emphasize how sensitive the topic was, especially in this edition of COP organized by the UAE, one of the world's most oil-producing countries.
Imperfect as it is, the agreement admits the interconnectedness that exists between global warming, greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuels. To reach the 1.5°C target set by Paris, there is no alternative solution to eliminating coal, gas and oil.
Next steps for Italy
According to ASVIS (Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development) in order to hit the European 2030 ( - 55 percent emissions compared to 1990) and 2050 (zero net emissions) targets, Italy needs to revise its Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Plans, i.e., Pniec and Pnacc. Most importantly, Italy should have a climate law that outlines objectives and effective governance, actively involving economic and social actors in climate policy making.
Also according to ASVIS, given the decision to prolong the predominant use of natural gas in electricity generation and given the fluctuating and high prices of gas itself, the country's system should favor the development of the renewables industrial system. Self-consumption, energy storage, programmed energy efficiency digitized and equipped with artificial intelligence, as well as fostering forms of solidarity-based participation in energy consumption (in particular CERs, Renewable Energy Communities) are drivers of development to really make the goals to combat climate change possible.