The keenly watched COP28 Climate Summit ended in Dubai, UAE, with a much-awaited “commitment” after several rounds of discussion on the world's transition from fossil fuels, although many nations say the outcome fell short as it does not lay out a clear path. This one-of-a-kind deal is seen as the final nail in the coffin when it comes to the fossil fuels era.

This is the first time that there has been a clear message on the world’s intention to shift from the usage of fossil fuels. However, the language of the final text does not mention "complete phaseout".

The latest "Global Stocktake Presidency Text" recognises the need for "deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions" in line with 1.5 °C pathways. It calls on parties to contribute to the global efforts, in a nationally determined manner, taking into account the Paris Agreement.

"We didn’t turn the page on the fossil fuel era, but this outcome is the beginning of the end," says UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell in his COP28 closing speech.

The climate plan chalked out in the COP28 Summit includes "transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science".

It also talks about tripling renewable energy capacity globally and doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030.

Other steps agreed upon by nations include accelerating efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power; utilising zero low-carbon fuels; accelerating zero- and low-emission technologies; cutting back on non-carbon-dioxide emissions globally, including methane emissions by 2030; reducing road transport emission; and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

"The moment history was made. Everyone came together from day one. Everyone united, everyone acted and everyone delivered...In unity and solidarity, we will walk the new path that The UAE Consensus has set for the world," a joint COP28 statement said.

On the historic achievement, COP28 president and UAE’s Sultan Al Jaber says the true success of the COP28 deal is "historic" but needs implementation. "We are what we do, not what we say," he says, advocating for tangible actions from all countries.

"We delivered world first after world first. A global goal to triple renewables and double energy efficiency. Declarations on agriculture, food and health. More oil and gas companies stepping up for the first time on methane and emissions. And we have language on fossil fuels in our final agreement," says Jaber.

Notably, around 100 countries advocated for a strong statement in the COP28 agreement text with regard to fossil fuels, though oil-rich countries like the OPEC bloc, which controls 80% of the world's oil reserves, opposed it seeking a measured approach.

COP28 has mobilised over $83 billion in the first five days, setting the pace for a new era in climate action. These include the first-ever declarations on food systems transformation and health, plus declarations on renewable energy and efficiency, as well as initiatives to decarbonise heavy emitting industries.

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