While the outcomes of COP28 are being hotly debated in both the scientific and social justice arenas, the climate conference has taken an unprecedented step forward toward a just transition, says Yamide Dagnet, Director for Climate Justice at the Open Society Foundations.
Making some preliminary remarks a day after the climate conference ended, she said: “COP28 ends like it started: imperfect, yet an important and unprecedented step forward in our “course correction” for a just transition towards resilient and greener economies.”
The UN decision acknowledged the need for the decline of coal, oil, and gas for the first time in an agreement that talks about transitioning out of fossil fuels. It will also be known for operationalizing the Loss and Damages Fund, even if the funding falls far below the requirements for climate-stressed countries and communities.
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell acknowledged these contractions in his final speech.
“While we didn’t turn the page on the fossil fuel era in Dubai, this outcome is the beginning of the end,” Stiell said.
He also noted that climate finance, which he said was a great enabler of climate action, fell short of the trillions needed to support developing countries with clean energy transitions and adaptation efforts.
He urged ordinary people everywhere to not relent in their demands for a climate-just world.
“In the crucial years ahead, your voices and determination will be more important than ever. I urge you never to relent. We are still in this race. We will be with you every single step of the way.”
Dagnet believes that COP28 is the start of a new era in climate justice.
“This is not an end; rather, just the beginning of an implementation journey that we know is hard but can be so positively transformative, and just if we manage to mobilize, in an equitable manner, all hands-on deck. A climate-just journey and outcome require vigilance, creativity, and accountability; stronger solidarity and engagement at all levels; promoting human rights; and shared prosperity for all,” she says.
This COP, Danget says, laid bare the issues with the Paris Agreement, especially with the just transition.
“More specifically, this COP exposed all the contradictions and challenges faced when implementing the promises of the Paris Agreement, especially a managed, equitable transition away from fossil fuels and the sustained mobilization, alignment, and access to financial flows domestically and internationally to decarbonize and build resilience,” Dagnet says. “
While some signals got clearer with more substantive commitments, challenges remain, however, in how the just and equitable transition is sequenced.
“Inclusive processes matter to foster shared prosperity and benefits throughout the journey, together with adequate safeguards to minimize unintended adverse impacts of climate-related measures and technologies and to protect frontline and marginalized communities.
“Similarly, the just operationalization and continued capitalization of the Loss and Damage Fund will require vigilance, effective guidance, and mechanisms to make sure commensurate funding is actually mobilized and reaches the communities that need it the most in a timely manner. Adequate mobilization of finance for adaptation by the donor community is also essential to tackle losses and damages with dignity. We are happy that a dozen of them committed to join OSF efforts in this regard.”
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