In the aftermath of COP28, the world reflects on a historic moment in climate negotiations. With 198 countries collectively acknowledging the need to address the root cause of the climate crisis—the end of the fossil fuel era—COP28 signifies a significant step forward. However, beneath the surface of this landmark agreement lie challenges and critical considerations that demands attention.
1. Not Fast, Fair, or Funded
COP28 marks a welcome shift as, for the first time in 30 years, 198 countries agree that fossil fuels need to become a part of history. However, they opted for a transition away from, not a phase-out of, fossil fuels.
Trócaire CEO, Caoimhe de Barra said “This transition is neither fast, fair nor funded. These were the litmus tests of success.”
” This does not mean the COP is not worthwhile; we need more multilateralism, not less. But it is imperative that more countries join the high ambition ‘group’, alongside Ireland and highly vulnerable countries, and to make every day count from now until the next COP.”
” The rocks this COP could have foundered on, and are still a real threat, are the enormous power and influence of the fossil fuel industry and the lack of willingness of developed countries to pay their fair share in climate finance. The responsibility to do the heavy lifting to protect this planet is on those that have historically emitted most, and who have the most resources, rather than the world’s most vulnerable, who have contributed little to this problem.”
“This is not charity, this is justice.”
2. Climate Finance Shortcomings
While the decision text outlined the scale of climate finance required, in the trillions, COP28 fell disappointingly short in compelling rich nations to fulfil their financial responsibilities. Trócaire’s Head of Policy Siobhan Curran states, “As long as richer countries do not provide their fair share of climate finance, it is the poorest and most marginalised communities in the Global South that will continue to pay the price for the climate crisis.”
This disappointment is exemplified by the pledges of just over 700 million dollars to the new Loss and Damage Fund, far below the required billions. This fund, crucial for communities facing the costs of dealing with climate change-induced events, saw a win for developing countries on the first day of COP28. Despite this, the gap remains significant.
3. Urgency Amid Slow Progress
The urgency of the situation is emphasised by the slow progress at COP28. As climate change continues unabated, the world cannot afford delays. Trócaire partner GIft Nyeri of Malawi’s Civil Society Network on Climate Change emphasises this urgency, stating that progress has been slow at COP28, and climate change will not wait for us.