A roundup of Christian Aid’s activity at COP28, including a breakdown of what was agreed.
Published on 18 December 2023
The UN Climate Conference (COP28) has wrapped up again for another year, but what actually happened? What was agreed, what fell through the cracks and what are some things you might have missed?
Firstly, what were the top line outcomes?
The big headline from this year’s COP is that after 30 years of climate summits the conference adopted a statement, signed by all 190 nations calling on the world, to “transition away from fossil fuels”. While it’s a far cry from the urgent need to phase out fossil fuels, as demanded by 130 of the most climate vulnerable states, it’s the first time a COP has produced language that points to the end of the fossil fuel era. So, progress, but we need to see urgent action to make it a reality, now.
That this decision was made in the context of this COP being hosted by the head of the United Arab Emirate’s national oil company and that big producers like Saudi Arabia, USA and Russia worked hard to avoid this commitment is testament to the work of campaigners across the world.
What might you have missed from the news headlines?
COPs are always about money – who should pay and how much – this conference was no different.
A global transition away from fossil fuels needs to be paid for and rich countries like the UK have come under fire for their need to radically increase financing for this transition. The question of new finance is expected to be a big feature of COP29 next year, in Azerbaijan.
Christian Aid will be campaigning for the UK to step up its public funding for global climate action and to find money from new pledges, not raiding existing aid budgets.
We will also continue to criticize the UK government’s decision to open new gas fields and issue new oil licenses. Fossil fuels need to stay in the ground. These new licenses weaken the UKs authority on the global stage as a climate leader. This is unacceptable.
It’s important to note that we also remain committed to exposing the UKs historical role in the climate crisis and its intersections with racial inequality. The Revd Dr Israel Oluwole Olofinjana wrote a great blog about the UKs history and its part in historical climate injustice.
A step forward for the loss and damage fund
The other big takeaway from the COP was the establishment of a UN backed Loss and Damage fund – a pot of money which rich nations fund to help countries on the frontline of the climate crisis recover from climate catastrophe. It’s something Christian Aid, along with our supporters, has been calling for for several years. We’re delighted to see it get off the ground, but…
…THE FUND NEEDS FILLING!
Pledges from rich nations were woefully inadequate. The UK committed to $60m, but this was repackaged money, from a pot already committed to tackling climate change. A long way off the £12.5BN that Christian Aid estimate would be needed.
“How on earth can the UK do that without British households paying the bills”, you might ask. Three words…
…Make Polluters Pay.
Maybe you took part in the Make Polluters Pay Action Day earlier this year? Christian Aid and our supporters will continue to call for a tax on the vast billions of profits that the fossil fuel industry post.
Final thoughts, next steps and some Christmas reading.
This COP had the potential to be a banana skin for the climate movement. The vested interests of the fossil fuel lobby loomed large but the efforts of campaigners kept us from slipping up.
Did it go far enough? No. Did it go further than some campaigners expected? Yes.
We take the wins and keep campaigning.
As ever, we take great comfort in the global network of climate activists and campaigners, many of whom took part in the Global Day of Action towards the end of this year’s COP. Here’s how it went down in Edinburgh.
The end of the fossil fuel era is in sight, Christian Aid will continue to campaign to ensure it comes to as swift an end as possible. We look forward to joining you on this journey.