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SCIAF reaction to COP28 outcome

13 December 2023

General climate change

Ben Wilson, Head of Advocacy, has been reflecting on his time in Dubai, the progress made at COP28 and its implications for the countries it operates in.

COP28 in Dubai closed on Wednesday morning to rounds of applause and standing ovations for the agreement to transition away from fossil fuels. However, many observers and representatives of climate vulnerable countries fear celebrations will be short-lived if decisions here are not followed up with real action, and caution that the agreements at Dubai are not strong enough to drive climate action and deliver justice.

The positive agreement on day one of the conference on the Loss and Damage Fund started proceedings on a positive note. However, the following two weeks saw deep conflicts continue between the Global North and the Global South, with developing countries scarred by historical and continued broken promises from the developed countries who caused this crisis.

SCIAF's Head of Advocacy, Ben Wilson, said:

"COP28 makes clear that the writing is on the wall for fossil fuels, but we needed more in the text. Once again, a few countries fought tooth and nail to protect their short term national interests rather than for the common good and for the next generation. But the climate crisis won't be won or lost at any one moment or any one COP. Progress has been made on "what" needs to happen, but next we must turn attention to "how" and "when". Parties disappointed in this outcome should remember that they don't need a COP decision to urgently ramp up domestic ambition on phasing out fossil fuels."

 On the issue of Loss and Damage, Ben said:

"The Loss and Damage fund agreement on the first day remains a very delicate victory indeed. Attention must now turn to the board of the new Loss and Damage Fund and to future meetings of the COP which must set out a clear pathway to make polluters pay. It is only with justice that the full scale of climate action can be taken."

Regarding Pope Francis' involvement at COP28, Ben also said:

"Everyone was devasted to hear that Pope Francis was too sick to make it to Dubai, but he was very much there in spirit. His address at the beginning of the conference, delivered by Cardinal Parolin, rang out in discussion halls throughout the two weeks.

The Pope called on day one for the 'elimination of fossil fuels'. By the end, we have agreement to transition away from them. This is certainly progress, but simply not fast enough".