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Dubai Consensus-CoP 28 Summit, Key Points, Outcomes

Context: COP28 in Dubai UAE adopted the ‘Dubai Consensus’ to transition away from fossil fuels.

Dubai Consensus-CoP 28 Summit

  • The COP28 Dubai Consensus is an agreement adopted at the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in November 2023.
  • The consensus calls on all parties to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly, and equitable manner, to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Dubai Consensus - CoP 28 Summit

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Key Points of the Dubai Consensus

  • Transition away from fossil fuels: The consensus calls for a rapid shift away from fossil fuels in energy systems, with a focus on accelerating action in the next decade.
  • Ambitious emission reduction targets: The consensus sets ambitious emission reduction targets, including a 43% reduction by 2030 and a 60% reduction by 2035, both compared to 2019 levels.
  • Focus on methane emissions: For the first time, the consensus mentions methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas, and calls for action to reduce them.
  • Natural gas as a transition fuel: The consensus recognizes natural gas as a transition fuel that can be used during the shift to renewable energy, but it does not explicitly call for phasing out natural gas use.
  • Carbon space:n The ‘Carbon Space’ refers to the atmosphere’s capacity to accommodate carbon without pushing global temperatures beyond a 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius rise by the end of the century. Currently, the Earth is 1.1 C warmer than pre-industrial levels​​.
    • Equity Among Nations: There is a call for equitable distribution of the remaining carbon space, with developing countries demanding their fair share and developed nations being asked to commit to deeper emission reductions​​.

India’s Stand

  • Historical responsibility: India has argued that developed countries have a greater historical responsibility for climate change and should therefore take on more ambitious emission reduction targets than developing countries.
  • Phase-down of coal: India agreed to a “phase-down” of coal use at the COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, but it has not yet committed to a specific timeline for phasing out coal entirely.
  • Focus on methane emissions: India recognizes the importance of reducing methane emissions, particularly from its agricultural sector.

Outcomes and Initiatives

  • Loss and Damage Fund: A landmark decision was the operationalization of the ‘Loss and Damage Fund’, with an initial pledge of $792 million to support vulnerable nations affected by climate change​​​.
  • Funding and Endorsements: COP28 saw the mobilisation of over $85 billion in funding and the launch of several widely endorsed initiatives, including the COP28 UAE Declaration on Agriculture, Food, & Climate, and the Global Decarbonization Accelerator​.

Critiques and Financial Challenges

  • Ambiguity in Language: There has been criticism over the use of “transitioning away” instead of “phase-out” for fossil fuels, which allows for varying interpretations and potential loopholes​.
  • Supporting Renewable Energy Investments: The summit addressed the need for restructuring global financial systems to enable developing countries to invest in climate change mitigation, considering the heavy debt burdens these nations face​.

Moving Forward

  • Paris Agreement and Climate Plans: Discussions at COP28 reinforced the importance of the Paris Agreement in guiding updated climate action plans, with the next global assessment slated for COP33​.
  • A Call for Action: Despite the progress, there is an acknowledged need for more definitive climate action and financial support to meet the ambitious climate goals established by the international community

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