December 13, 2023
For Immediate Release
Greens welcome groundbreaking Dubai climate deal, with reservations
(Dubai, United Arab Emirates – December 13, 2023) – Green Party delegates from around the world worked with civil society, governments, indigenous groups and youth to push for the strongest possible language from COP28.
In order to safeguard life on earth, the Paris Agreement negotiated at COP21 in 2015 within the framework on the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), set out that all nations would cooperate to ensure that global average temperature increase due to human-caused (anthropogenic) climate change be held to as far below 2 degrees Celsius as possible and to make every effort to avoid warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris Agreement is considered “legally binding” under United Nations rules, although it lacks any enforcement mechanism.
The key agenda item at COP28 was to fulfill a requirement for a full and comprehensive review of whether the world was on track to meet key Paris goals. Such a comprehensive review, called a “Global Stock Take”, will be revisited every five years through the COP process.
“In a real sense this Global Stock Take is the treaty’s only method of enforcement”, noted Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich Gulf-Islands. Ms. May participated in the COP28 talks from the opening day, November 30 until it ran into overtime hours earlier today, 2 pm Dubai local time December 13.
Ms. May said, “This first Global Stock Take was a critical reality check. Could the world face the truth of the rapidly dwindling chances of holding to 1.5 degrees C? The Stock Take confirmed that collectively the world is not on track to meet our commitments and to keep any hope of holding to 1.5 alive, much more must be done, and fast.”
Mike Morrice, Green MP for Kitchener Centre, added “Let’s also recognize that while even climate negotiations captured by the fossil fuel industry managed to agree to transitioning away from fossil fuels, back home the Canadian government continues to do the opposite: increasing oil production and saddling Canadians with a leaky, $30B pipeline expansion that is exactly what the UN Secretary General calls moral and economic madness”.
After lengthy negotiations, on the morning of December 13 the key text was approved by the 197 nations present. The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Simon Stiell, proclaimed, “This is the beginning of the end of fossil fuels.”
Key elements of the agreement, to which Canada is now committed, include:
- Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C with no or limited overshoot requires deep, rapid and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 levels of 43 percent by 2030, and 60 percent by 2035.
- Transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050
- Tripling renewable energy capacity globally and doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030;
- Accelerating efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power;
- Accelerating efforts globally towards net zero emission energy systems,
- Increasing manyfold adaptation and mitigation financing.
No one fully informed about the climate crisis and its galloping levels of unfairness in impacts to the most vulnerable, and familiar with the enormous gaps between rhetoric and reality through decades of climate promises could be jubilant at this critical moment. But the COP28 final text is a lifeline. We have to grab it!
For more information or to arrange an interview:
Fabrice Lachance Nové