COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber.

The U.N. COP28 Climate Change Conference concluded with a pledge to transition away from fossil fuels, the first such major multilateral agreement to call for signatories to do so. As a result, the pledge was heralded as a historic achievement. But does this actually mean that climate diplomacy has turned a corner?

A protester holds a sign reading “Fossil Fuels Out” during a demonstration at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The impacts of climate change are advancing faster than experts had previously predicted, and they are increasingly irreversible. But persistent climate skepticism from key global figures, motivated in part by national economic interests, is slowing diplomatic efforts to systematically address the drivers of climate change.

People protest London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zones.

British media and policymakers paid only brief attention to a bombing in a South London suburb last week that in other contexts might have generated national panic. This remarkable lack of fuss was partly due to what the bomb had targeted: cameras enforcing an air-quality and climate initiative to discourage the use of older cars.