COP28 Lays Foundation for Accelerated Climate Action With Much More Needing to be Done
Statement from Angela Churie Kallhauge, Executive Vice President, Impact at Environmental Defense Fund
(Dubai, U.A.E.) —“While COP28 laid an important foundation and some direction on where countries, industry and civil society need to accelerate climate action, the work following COP28 will require monumental ramp-up in ambition and collaboration to address the climate crisis. We hoped the final agreement would have given countries stronger direction toward a just and equitable transition to clean energy, including realizing the full potential of methane reductions to slow the rate of warming in the near term.
“We leave Dubai looking to build on the signals agreed on today and urgently revise and implement climate plans toward achieving a just transition of their energy systems, food systems and vital ecosystems for real climate action for people and the planet.”
“The United Arab Emirates enabled the largest-ever, climate-focused gathering of government, industry and civil society. Despite some disappointment in the negotiated text, important climate action on methane, food systems, tropical forests, oceans and climate resilience came from diverse stakeholders.”
“For the first time, and in line with EDF’s consistent advocacy, countries are encouraged to cover all greenhouse gases, including methane, in their climate commitments. Next year will be the time for all to step up and deliver on the fastest way to slow the rate of warming in the near term.
“Potentially game-changing commitments were made to cut methane pollution from the oil and gas industry and agriculture. Over 50 major oil companies and national oil companies joined the Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter to reduce their methane emissions by as much as 80 to 90%.
“But we won’t just take their word for it. We joined Bloomberg Philanthropies and the International Energy Agency and the International Methane Emissions Observatory to ensure the oil and gas industry follows through on the commitments announced at COP28. Next year, EDF will launch a satellite into space to monitor these commitments.
“Tackling agricultural methane, six of the largest dairy buyers — Bel Group, Danone, General Mills, Kraft Heinz, Lactalis USA and Nestlé — created an alliance with EDF to track and cut methane emissions for the first time.
“All of this action on methane can help us avoid what new research says could be the equivalent of 10 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2030, an essential component to slow our approach to 1.5C and reduce a global temperature over-shoot. Reducing methane pollution can help prevent 225,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labor from extreme heat and 26 million tons of crop losses globally.”
“Food systems account for one-third of climate pollution each year. COP28 finally but the challenge of feeding a growing population on a warming planet on the international climate agenda.
“We started with strong commitments from countries and companies to reduce emissions and create a just transformation of food systems. To respond to this, over 150 countries committed to include food systems in their national climate commitments, and COP28 hosted the first-ever Food Day to put special focus on the issue.”
“For two years since Glasgow, one billion dollars in climate finance for tropical forest conservation has been sitting on the sidelines. At COP28, we saw that money start to move. Costa Rica and Ghana finalized new Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreements to supply large-scale tropical forest conservation credits to the LEAF coalition using money from companies.
“EDF is working to help more forest countries follow suit. We helped launch a new partnership, known as the Jurisdictional REDD+ Technical Assistance Partnership, to support forest countries in accessing billions in financing for creating large-scale, high-integrity tropical forest conservation.
“This funding is key to harnessing the carbon-storing power of natural climate solutions, which have the potential to deliver up to 20% of the emission reductions needed in this decade, while also benefiting communities and ecosystems.”
Strengthening the ability of people and nature to thrive
“The final COP28 agreement sends signals to world leaders to build climate resilience to strengthen the ability of people and nature to thrive in a changing climate. The scope of the global goal on adaptation puts attention on the urgent need to bolster food security and water access, improves health and livelihoods in communities, and safeguards critical ocean and tropical forest ecosystems. Seeing this holistic approach is promising, and now we need finance from developed countries and innovative sources to deliver that action.”
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One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund