COP-Out or A GENUINE Transition to a More Sustainable Future?
Today I have woken up very grumpy, and I did not want to feel like this so close to Christmas!
Laurence Kemball-Cook, 14th December 2023
As I reflect on the recent COP28, my mood is far from festive. It's hard to shake the feeling that what we witnessed was more of a COP-out than a triumph for a more sustainable future, and here's why.
For the first time, nations at the UN climate summit explicitly targeted the use of fossil fuels. However, the outcome fell short of the stronger language we all hoped for – a resounding call to "phase out fossil fuels." Instead, we are left with a tepid agreement to "transition away" from coal, oil, and gas. While it's a step, it's more like a shuffle when what the world needs is a bold leap.
As talks teetered, compromise set in
The talks in Dubai teetered on the edge of collapse, saved only by a last-minute compromise that, for some, felt rushed and lacking in inclusivity. Small islands, already bearing the brunt of climate change, protested vehemently, arguing that the deal was pushed through without their due consideration. This sentiment was echoed by the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis), expressing concern that the language about transitioning away from fossil fuels "potentially takes us backward rather than forward."
Is a 'transition' going far enough?
The 21-page deal speaks of "contributing to transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly, and equitable manner." It acknowledges that global emissions may peak before 2025 but provides a vague timeline that could be later for developing nations. This ambiguity, coupled with successful pushback from oil-producing nations, raises concerns about the sincerity of the commitment to real change.
Developing nations reliant on fossil fuel exports, such as Iraq, opposed stronger language, arguing it did not fairly represent their limited role in causing climate change. Many of these countries feel left behind, as other agreements at COP28 failed to secure enough finance to transition to greener energy, leaving them grappling with the economic fallout of moving away from fossil fuels.
Does the deal fall short?
As the deal was unexpectedly gavelled through, some celebrated, including US Climate Envoy John Kerry, who viewed it optimistically in the context of global conflicts. Yet, critics argue that the deal falls short of what is urgently needed to address the climate crisis. Activists and scientists are labeling it weak, asserting that it does little to curb the growing problem of emissions causing global warming.
An historic achievement or COP-OUT?
With the clock ticking, countries have just six years to achieve a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 45%. Sadly, the COP28 deal seems woefully inadequate, leaving many, like Uganda youth activist Vanessa Nakate, to declare it "nowhere near enough" – a true fossil fuel COP-out.
We must hold leaders accountable
As we move forward, we must hold leaders accountable for their promises. The transition to a more sustainable future demands bold and unwavering action. Let's not settle for half measures and ambiguous language. Our planet deserves more than a COP-out; it deserves a commitment to phasing out fossil fuels and embracing a future that ensures the well-being of generations to come.
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Pavegen is a purpose-driven technology business that helps power change and generates positive outcomes for people and planet. Laying underfoot inside buildings, public spaces and at events, Pavegen Kinetic Paving harnesses the power of people’s footsteps, creating not only a small amount of energy – but also imaginative, interactive experiences and data, to help educate, engage and enable meaningful actions around sustainability and Net Zero intent. Pavegen calls this Citizen Impact; powered by Pavegen.
Pavegen helps power Kinetic Street Furniture applications such as USB charging, LED lights, and Green Wall irrigation systems, whilst data from the system can be used for public educational purposes on digital display screens. Kinetic Brand Experiences at live events, expos, festivals and public spaces produce data to provide gamified experiences that help brands engage meaningfully with consumers.
The company was founded in 2009 by Laurence Kemball-Cook who invented the Kinetic Paving technology that can now be seen in over 37 countries around the world.