CCI on COP28: Breakthrough on fossil fuels must be followed by action to curb usage

CCI on COP28: Breakthrough on fossil fuels must be followed by action to curb usage

DEC. 13, 2023 — The following is a statement from Citizens’ Climate International Executive Director Joe Robertson about the recently-completed COP28 climate conference in Dubai.

The agreement reached at COP28, which recommends “transitioning away from fossil fuels,” is an historic breakthrough, acknowledging for the first time that we cannot maintain a livable world unless we stop burning coal, oil and gas. But, as former Vice President Al Gore said, “Whether this is a turning point that truly marks the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era depends on the actions that come next.”

We welcome the COP citing fossil fuels as a primary driver of global heating, for the first time, but the COP28 went deep into over-time, because some still hope to profit from pollution. No nation has the right to decide that another nation will be extinguished. That is effectively what happens when major emissions exporters decide they will continue to emit at levels inconsistent with maximum global heating of 1.5ºC. Low-lying island nations and other vulnerable countries are right to say the transition away from fossil fuels must be consistent with their physical survival.

With emissions still rising, we know the only way to limit global heating to 1.5ºC and secure a livable future is a full phase-out of fossil fuels. A steadily rising price on carbon can deliver an orderly and decisive phase-out of fossil fuels; returning revenue to households will facilitate the transition without imposing economic hardship on people.

The COP28 achieved other historic successes:

  • Delivering the first Global Stocktake (GST) and activating the Loss and Damage Fund, though initial contributions are only a fraction of what is needed.
  • More than 140 nations have now signed onto the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action, agreeing to link food systems to their national climate plans, and negotiations on the Global Goal on Adaptation have recognized the need for shifting to resilient regenerative food systems.
  • The GST text recognizes “the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including in forests, the ocean, mountains and the cryosphere, and the protection of biodiversity…”

We thank the COP28 for recognizing the need for “meaningful and effective social dialogue and participation of all stakeholders,” and we look forward to the rapid scaling up of non-market international cooperation to link national efforts, align prices, and support the alignment of all trade and finance with 1.5ºC.

For more about CCI work at COP28, go to