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Here’s everything you need to know about COP28

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Talks at the COP28 in Dubai have wrapped up with an historic pledge for countries transition away from fossil fuels.
COP28 Dubai

COP28 wrapped up in Dubai this week with a commitment from nearly 200 countries to move away from fossil fuels.

The UN climate conference typically ends with a collective agreement to develop stronger climate policies.

The summit comes after leaders at last year’s COP failed to reach an agreement on phasing out fossil fuels. A recent global report found fossil fuel emissions increased from 0.5-1.5% over the past year.

What is COP?

COP (Conference of the Parties) is attended by the 198 countries that have signed the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The framework aims to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate.

COP21 led to the 2015 ‘Paris Agreement’ — a commitment that global average temperatures should not exceed preindustrial levels by more than 1.5°C. The Industrial Revolution, which began in the 18th century, is when emissions first started to rise.

Loss and damage fund

The first development out of this year’s COP was an announcement confirming the creation of a climate “loss and damage” fund.

The fund will compensate poorer countries for climate-related extreme weather events.

The fund was agreed to at last year’s summit, but the details on its form and structure weren’t finalised until COP28.

COP28: Failed Draft

COP28 ended with a collective agreement known as a “global stocktake”. A draft agreement divided leaders this year for failing to mention fossil fuels.

U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry urged stronger wording, describing the climate negotiations as a “war for survival”.

Whenever fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal are burnt, it pumps carbon dioxide (CO₂) into the atmosphere. Adding more CO₂ to the atmosphere creates warmer temperatures.

COP28: New agreement

Negotiations extended the summit by an extra day before all member states eventually agreed on a need to transition “away from fossil fuels” to reduce the impacts of climate change.

The agreement text recognised the need for “deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in line with 1.5°C pathways”.

It’s the first time nearly 200 member states have agreed on the need to phase out reliance on fossil fuels as the world’s main source of energy.

Australia

Australia’s Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen attended COP28, and described the agreement as a “turning point”.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the deal sounded the “death knell” for fossil fuels.

She added: “This agreement sets us on a clear path to embrace clean energy technologies like wind, solar and batteries, and move beyond fossil fuels.”

Other agreements

Countries also agreed to triple the current global infrastructure for renewables by 2030.

The commitment will see countries increase efforts to de-carbonise their energy sectors. Transport and manufacturing still rely heavily on fossil fuels.

The Australian Government wants renewables to make up 82% of the energy grid by 2030.

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