Climate change taints mood after COP28


Every year is demonstrated by the lack of political ambition at the Climate Summits that the environment is as much a little brother as the poorest people on the planet.

The outcome of COP28 is very poor and unfortunately the expected one, since it was held in an oil-producing country where the interests of these powers have been defended. A lack of political will was expected and it has materialized, extending the duration of this Summit by one more day.

The damage caused by fossil fuels continues to be of little concern, and once again economic profit takes precedence over the well-being of populations and the environment.

An encouraging start

The Summit opened with the unanimous approval of the loss and damage fund with which impoverished countries highly vulnerable to climate change will be able to address its impacts. The World Bank will be the depositary of the fund for four years, "which will have a minimum of $100 billion per year by 2030".

A process without goals or targets

We welcome the international recognition of fossil fuels as the main cause of climate change, but we regret that there are no binding agreements for their disappearance in the short term.

During the Summit, the areas where the pact has been most straightforward can be summarized in three types of action:

Accelerating global efforts towards net-zero emission energy systems, through carbon capture and storage, renewables, nuclear power, and low-carbon hydrogen production. It was agreed to triple renewable capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030.

To reduce emissions from road transport through infrastructure development and rapid deployment of enabling vehicles. In addition to carbon dioxide, the reduction of methane emissions by 2030 is cited.

Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies "that encourage wasteful consumption and they do not address energy poverty or just transitions". On the other hand, other climate finance funds that also have an impact on adaptation are maintained and renewed, although the contribution of funds is voluntary and often scarce.

The major lack of consensus

The Global Stocktake has been the point of tension in this diplomatic meeting and succumbs to pressure from the petro-states. The latest version of the agreement calls for a "transition away from fossil fuels" to net zero emissions by 2050 versus phasing out fossil fuels by 2025.

Doubts and certainties

Although questions remain as to how economic funds can be distributed and provided fairly or whether renewable energies have a negative impact on the disappearance of other natural resources and generate new poverty for different communities, we cannot doubt the need to abandon fossil fuels, while seeking solutions of dignity for all peoples.

The health of the planet is approaching a point of no return which, in addition to making us sick, means ecological destruction, which once again has negative repercussions in different areas and human rights, affecting the weakest people and future generations with greater intensity.

The lack and delay of political agreement shows the prevalence of State interests that cause death and destruction of the common home. There is a perceived need for a strong civil society to have a more significant influence on the proposals and agreements adopted.

From a spiritual point of view, Pope Francis wisely nuances the importance of action to care for the common home in his contribution to COP28: "Creation is not a system to be preserved, but a gift to be embraced. And a world poor in contemplation will be a world polluted in soul, a world that will continue to discard people and produce waste; a world without prayer will speak many words but it -devoid of compassion and tears- will live only by a materialism of money and weapons".

Spanish General Commission for Justice and Peace