So much happened this weekend at COP28 in Dubai. The World Leaders Summit wrapped up on Saturday. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber closed out this part of the conference, announcing various voluntary pledges by governments and corporations, seeking fanfare for great accomplishments.
The reality though is that pledges are fine, but they mean very little when the effects of the climate crisis are being felt now. Promises, pledges, and voluntary commitments are empty unless they become binding agreements to phase out fossil fuels completely.
What else does this mean? With no action on the phase-out of fossil fuels during the World Leaders summit, the attention of everyone here has shifted to the Global Stocktake. This document is being negotiated at the moment and should show where countries are making progress toward meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement – and where they’re not.
Finally Finalized! After 10 years of advocacy by Earthworks, allies & community partners, the EPA announced it had, at last, finalized rules to #cutmethane. This news came with many other methane reduction plans that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.
Of course, the devil is in the details. Quick and effective implementation and aggressive enforcement are necessary to make these rules work for climate and communities.
Also, this weekend… the demands for a phase-out of fossil fuels escalated as activists met US climate officials everywhere they went. The demands will only get louder after the Guardian reported that Dr. Sultan Al Jaber of the UAE said there’s “no science” behind the calls (SPOILER ALERT: He’s wrong).
California Attorney General Rob Bonta spoke at an event co-sponsored by Earthworks, Oil Change International, and Center for Biological Diversity, touting a model for holding oil & gas companies accountable for their green-washing.
Important to know: There’s a difference between the phase-out demanded here at COP28 and some nations’ “phase-down” commitments. In short, a “phase-down” or, alternatively, a “phase-out of unabated fuels” is the language that greenlights carbon sequestration projects, dirty hydrogen, and other dangerous distractions that prolong the fossil fuel era and do nothing to repair toxic air, water, and soil that is making people sick. Kaisa Kosonen from Greenpeace breaks it down here for a more in-depth understanding.
What’s next? Tomorrow is Energy Day, so expect a lot in tomorrow’s update. Wednesday is Mining Day, where we’ll look at how we must avoid the same bad practices from mining and energy extraction as we transition into the clean energy future.