STATEMENT: COP28’s Global Stocktake Outcome is Historic, Yet Still Leaves Door Open for Stronger Action
December 13, 2023
DUBAI (Dec. 13, 2023) – Today, following the conclusion of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP28) in Dubai and the outcome of the first Global Stocktake, Conservation International’s Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Government Affairs Lina Barrera issued the following statement:
“Just a few months ago, the Global Stocktake set the stage for COP28: the world is not decarbonizing fast enough to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and countries must take bolder action if we have any hope of keeping global temperatures aligned with a livable future for all. The final Stocktake agreement, while not perfect, is historic and sets new international norms to accelerate climate action.
“Among other key provisions on the energy transition, it calls for a just transition away from fossil fuels beginning this decade to reach net zero by 2050. Yet, to reach consensus among 200 countries, it also includes language that countries could use to substantiate delayed action on phasing out fossil fuels, which will be unacceptable. We will not achieve our global climate goals unless we end the use of fossil fuels as soon as possible.
“To avoid climate tipping points, the world must also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by ending and reversing the destruction of nature. Here, COP28 resulted in critical progress: the Stocktake outcome emphasizes the importance of halting and reversing deforestation and degradation by 2030 and acknowledges the need for increased finance to accomplish this. It also calls for the preservation and restoration of oceans and coastal ecosystems and, for the first time, aligns climate change efforts with the biodiversity goals in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The acknowledgement – that these twin global crises can be addressed with many of the same solutions – is a historic step forward, as is the agreement’s recognition of the critical role of Indigenous peoples, traditional knowledge, women, youth and inclusive participation in designing locally appropriate climate solutions.
“There remain critical omissions. We know that to avoid catastrophic climate change, the land sector – including agriculture, forestry and natural land protection and restoration – must reach net zero emissions by 2030, yet COP28’s agreement fails to include agriculture and food systems as a mitigation priority. Even if countries act in alignment with the agreed energy and transport transitions, without urgent action in the land sector we will not be able to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.
“Carbon markets have the potential to significantly increase climate action without increasing cost, we will not achieve the Paris goals without them. Lack of agreement on country-to-country trading under 6.2 leaves a lack of clarity regarding how the market would work, including whether and when countries can withdraw permission for a trade. The failure to agree on 6.4 means there is no agreement on how the United Nations-run carbon market will assess methodologies to participate in the market or how the market will treat emission removal projects. Those interested in market participation won’t know what to expect, slowing the whole process of getting a market off the ground. No deal is better than a bad deal, but this is certainly a setback for carbon markets under the Paris Agreement and makes the work to strengthen the voluntary market even more important.
“Despite COP28’s shortcomings, it did, along with broader commitments made during the conference, send important signals to the global community that urgent action and commensurate funding is needed to achieve a nature-positive future. The Government of France and Conservation International, with support from foundation partners, announced a EUR 115 million Seed Fund that will help kickstart natural-climate solutions in four countries. Additionally, new investments to conserve and protect irrecoverable carbon across South America are examples of the type of collaboration needed to reach a nature-positive future. The next five years are pivotal, there is no time to delay action.”
About Conservation International: Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, for biodiversity and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples and local communities to help people and nature thrive together. Go to Conservation.org for more, and follow our work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.