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The twenty-eighth conference of the parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, between 30 November and 12 December 2023. Negotiations overran the conference by one day and concluded on 13 December.

The first global stocktake

The conference featured the first global stocktake, an assessment of action towards the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. In Paris, countries committed to holding global temperature rises “well below” 2˚C and to pursue efforts to limit heating to 1.5˚C. It was billed as a critical moment to “keep 1.5˚C alive” as global temperatures fast near this threshold.

The headline outcome of the conference was an agreement to “transition away from fossil fuels” as part of the global stocktake (PDF), the first COP text to mention a global shift away from using fossil fuels.

There was also an early announcement, on the first day of the conference, that the loss and damage fund was operationalised, a framework was agreed for measuring progress on adaptation, and international declarations made on renewables and energy efficiency, ending deforestation, and the health impacts of climate change.

Reaction to COP28 pledges

Many of these outcomes and agreements have been criticised for their lack of detail and limited commitments to tangible action.

The United Arab Emirates was subject to continued scrutiny for close involvement with the oil and gas industry, with COP President Sultan Al Jaber’s role as CEO of state oil company Adnoc attracting wide media attention.

International organisations also critiqued the involvement of the fossil fuel lobby with the COP process. A record number of delegates were linked to fossil fuel producers at COP28, although increased transparency in the registration process may mean that previous years’ statistics did not capture the full extent.

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