The ‘Historic’ COP28 Climate Change Agreement Isn’t All That

The ‘Historic’ COP28 Climate Change Agreement Isn’t All That
COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber listens to speakers during a plenary session at the U.N. COP28 Climate Change Conference, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 13, 2023 (AP photo by Kamran Jebreili).

Diplomacy might have just saved humanity’s future. That, at least, is one claim coming out of the United Nations COP28 Climate Change Conference that concluded last week. In a move that stunned not only the public but also the participants, Sultan Al Jaber of the United Arab Emirates—this year’s host—opened the last session of COP28 by asking if there were any objections to the latest draft of the conference’s final declaration, hammered out in an all-night negotiating session. After a moment, he gaveled the proceedings shut, stating, “Hearing no objection, it is so decided.”

What was decided? The core of the 21-page agreement is a pledge for “[t]ransitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems” in a manner that is “just, orderly and equitable.” These words mark the first time a major multilateral agreement called for the signatories to begin moving away from fossil fuel use. The terms of the COP28 agreement are especially surprising given that, as of summer 2022, diplomatic progress on climate change seemed all but dead.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review