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Takeaways from COP 28

Autumn Marsh

Climate change has grown more concerning year after year as science has continued to show the increased threat it’s causing to life on Earth. With the damage already done since industrialization, all countries need to be on board with making a global change. The 28th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP) took place in Dubai to address these issues, and spanned from the 30th of November to the 12th of December. The UN Environmental Programme found that COP 28 achieved nearly 200 countries pledging a move away from fossil fuel usage in the coming year and about 155 countries pledging to work towards a 30% cut of human-made methane emissions.

COP 28 had members agreeing that greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced rapidly by a total of 43% by 2030, and 60% by 2035 to achieve the desired net zero emissions. With the current Paris Agreement, Emissions Gap Report 2023 found that with the current course of action, temperature rise will only be limited to 2.9°C; and at best, with the full implementation of the current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), it would be limited by 2.5°C. However, with the implementation of new NDCs, warming can be limited overall to between 1.5-2 °C. COP 28 determined that to achieve the ideal limitation of 1.5°C, parties would need to contribute on a national scale to a change in behaviors that will result in a large reduction in the current emissions being produced.

In a draft of the final report for global solutions, the Global Stocktake declared eight different steps to achieve this goal:

  • Tripling global renewable energy and actively doubling the current global annual rate of improvement by 2030.

  • Actively phasing down (not out) coal power.

  • Achieving predominantly zero and low carbon fuels by approximately 2050.

  • Concurring that this is currently a critical decade for transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems.

  • Accelerating zero and low-emission technologies such as carbon capture.

  • Substantially reducing the global production of non-carbon dioxide, particularly methane.

  • Reducing transportation-related emissions through the development of new infrastructure and the implementation of zero and low-emission vehicles.

  • Phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that don’t address the transition process or poverty-related issues.

The Global Stocktake also emphasized the need for additional effort to be placed into the eradication of poverty and encourage sustainable development. For example, COP 28 found an issue with the rapidly depleting funds that were originally decided upon when the Paris Agreement was made; low-income areas continue to struggle to access sustainable solutions. The first day of COP 28 resulted in the creation of a fund for these communities to help battle the impacts of the climate crisis. UN Environmental Programme found that a total of 700 million dollars has already been pledged to the Loss & Damage Fund. One document from the conference concluded that the developed parties, such as North America, Europe, and Japan will have to agree on ways to make sustainability funding more accessible to the developing parties of the conference, in order to make the global component more effective. The goal is a total of 100 billion USD to be contributed by the developed parties to the developing parties.

Another crucial component to resolving the climate crisis is increasing the effort to preserve and restore the natural environment, and the overall halting and reversal of deforestation. Marine and terrestrial ecosystems are carbon sinks and play a huge role in the reduction of carbon emissions. Client Earth found that marine carbon sinks have absorbed about a quarter of the carbon emissions that have been made since we started burning fossil fuels, and that soil absorbs about a quarter of the carbon that’s produced per year. Additionally, forests take in about 2.6 billion tons of carbon per year, making the restoration process a major concern for reducing overall warming. With this, the 28th annual COP meeting ended with a renewed urgency towards phasing out the usage of fossil fuels on a global scale and an increased emphasis on the protection of natural resources and environments.


  1. UN Environment Programme. (2023). What was accomplished at COP28? YouTube. Retrieved from

  2. UNEP. (2023, November 20). Emissions gap report 2023.

  3. UNFCCC. Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA). (2023, December 13). Outcome of the first global stocktake. United Nations Climate Change.

  4. What is a carbon sink? ClientEarth. (2020, December 22).

  5. UNFCCC. (2023, December 13). Long-term Climate Finance. United Nations Climate Change.


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