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COP28 Chooses Gradual ‘Transition Away’ Over ‘Phasing Out’ Fossil Fuels

The declaration urged countries to help with the “transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, to achieve net zero by 2050 

For the COP28 climate meeting in Dubai, world leaders opted for a weaker wording that spoke of ‘transitioning away’ from fossil fuels rather than a more clear ‘phase-out’.

The declaration, which was the result of protracted discussions that continued past the two-week event’s scheduled conclusion, urged countries to help with the “transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, to achieve net zero by 2050.”

Even though some believe the language in the declaration is insufficient to persuade governments to take action to attain net zero, the fact that the parties agreed to even this in the face of strong opposition to the use of “phase-out” by oil-producing nations is a step in the right direction.

The “UAE Consensus” was signed by 198 nations in total.

The conference demanded that efforts to phase out unabated coal power be expedited, in addition to calling for a doubling of the global average annual rate of energy efficiency gains and a tripling of renewable energy capacity worldwide by 2030.

The countries also decided to accelerate efforts towards zero- and low-emission technologies, such as nuclear, low-carbon hydrogen generation, renewable energy, and abatement and removal technologies like carbon capture, utilisation and storage, especially in hard-to-abate sectors.

India had earlier in the meeting declined to accept a commitment backed by over 118 nations to phase out coal and triple renewable energy capacity by 2030.The conference noted that over the past decade, the unit costs of several low-emission technologies have fallen continuously, notably wind power and solar power and storage, thanks to technological advancements and economies of scale.


Additional decisions made at the conference were to:

• Accelerate and significantly reduce emissions of non-carbon dioxide by 2030 worldwide, with a focus on methane emissions.

• Accelerate the reduction of emissions from road transport through various means, such as the development of infrastructure and the quick deployment of zero- and low-emission vehicles.


phasing off ineffective fossil fuel subsidies as quickly as feasible, without addressing energy poverty or just transitions.

The International Monetary Fund reported in September that, in 2022, overall subsidies for fossil fuels will reach an astounding USD 7 trillion, or 7.1 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product.The conference was concerned that, despite progress, global greenhouse gas emissions trajectories are not yet in line with the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement and that there is a rapidly narrowing window for raising ambition and implementing existing commitments in order to achieve it.

It stated that the carbon budget needed to meet the temperature target set by the Paris Agreement is now limited and running low. It was agreed that, with a 50 per cent  chance of keeping global warming to 1.5 °C, historical cumulative net carbon dioxide emissions already account for around four-fifths of the whole carbon budget.

Finance requirements for adaptation 

The COP28 declaration made clear that in order for developing countries to reach net zero emissions by 2050, an annual investment in clean energy of roughly USD 4.3 trillion must be made up until 2030, and that amount must then increase to USD 5 trillion annually until 2050. Developing countries’ adaptation finance needs are estimated to be between USD 215 and USD 387 billion annually until 2030.

In order to support developing nations, especially as they transition in a just and equitable manner, it urged for scaling up new and extra grant-based, highly concessional funding and non-debt instruments.

In order to reach the scale of investments necessary to make a worldwide transition towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development, the conference acknowledged the role of the private sector and the need to increase policy direction, incentives, laws and enabling conditions.

COP28 Chooses Gradual ‘Transition Away’ Over ‘Phasing Out’ Fossil Fuels

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