The Cop 28 conference was the biggest climate cop-out yet. World leaders tried to pretend that they were interested in cutting emissions so they would not face the rage of ordinary people and the climate movement back at home.
Over 100 countries joined together to promise to treble renewable energy use by 2030. They announced that their goal would be collect 11,000 Gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030.
The current global renewables capacity stands at around 3,400 Gigawatts. Each year the world uses 161 million Gigawatts so this figure of renewables is tiny.
World leaders have said that tripling renewables will lead to the natural phasing out of fossil fuels.
But climate scientists say this plan won’t actually do that. Professor Bill Hare, who contributes to United Nations climate change reports, said that he was “very sceptical” about the pledge.
“The real challenge for the oil and gas sector is to move away from producing oil and gas. Nothing else really matters in the end,” he said.
The US said it was committed to closing all its coal-fired power plants by 2035. It sees this a way of putting pressure on China which is much more dependent on coal.
Yet other countries, including Japan, Australia and South Korea, refused to sign any agreements to cut down on using the most polluting fuel.
The main goal of this conference was to shore up and continue to back the fossil fuel industry.
This year temperatures reached record-breaking highs, and scientists gave their final warning that world leaders must take decisive action to stop climate change.
Earlier this month, the UN released a report that found that states, including the US, India, Russia, Canada, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, were planning a massive expansion in the use of fossil fuels.
It found that no state that had pledged to meet net-zero plans by 2050 had committed to even drastically reducing fossil fuel production.
Last weekend Rishi Sunak said that no world leaders at Cop28 had brought up that he had delayed a ban on petrol cars.
He continued to say that Britain was a climate leader and that other countries were “grateful” for what Britain had done for the climate.
Extinction Rebellion (XR) said this was nonsense. XR wrote that Sunak “has vowed to ‘max out’ Britain’s oil and gas reserves and has approved the development of the Rosebank oil field.
Its output will generate emissions equal to the annual emissions of the 28 poorest countries combined.”
It added, “We won’t let a tiny club of leaders and industrialists in wealthy countries ramp up fossil fuel production while lecturing the rest of the world on climate action.”
Meanwhile, world leaders have tried to clamp down on solidarity with Palestine at the conference.
Mesiah Burciaga-Hameed from the Indigenous People’s Caucus, told the conference, “As Indigenous people, we are heartbroken to see the genocide and ecocide in Palestine.
“There is no climate justice without human rights.”
The organisers cut out Asad Rehman, director of the charity War on Want, when he called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza over a video link at the conference.
After another year of climate and imperialist horror, no one should have any illusions about what the Cop process is really for.
Our hope lies in mass and militant action from below that can take on the profit system driving us to disaster.
Talks shaped by fossil fuel bosses
It sounds made up that the president of a global summit on tackling climate change is the head of an oil company. But Sultan Al-Jaber—chair of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) national oil company—is the president of Cop 28.
He welcomed delegates in Dubai last Thursday, saying he had made a “bold” choice to “pro-actively engage with oil and gas companies”. To him the oil and gas companies can do no wrong.
He claimed that there was “no science” to indicate that phasing out fossil fuels is needed to keep temperatures below a 1.5 degrees Celsius rise above pre-industrial levels.
He added that dialling back fossil fuels would lead to less development “unless you want to take the world back into caves.” And the day before the start of Cop28 he was forced to deny allegations that he’d used the conference to make oil deals.
“These allegations are false,” he protested to reporters. “Not true, incorrect, not accurate. It’s an attempt to undermine the work of the Cop28 presidency.”
Leaked documents showed the Cop28 presidency had meetings with other governments that included “talking points” about Al-Jaber’s company selling oil and gas.
A group of journalists from the Centre for Climate Reporting obtained the documents. Climate activists were outraged by the revelations.
Alice Harrison, fossil fuel campaign lead at Global Witness, said, “The international climate process has been hijacked by the oil and gas industry.
“This leak must be the final nail in the coffin of the idea that the fossil fuel industry can play any part in the solution to the crisis that it created.”
The problem goes far deeper than one corrupt Cop president. The overwhelming message from world leaders so far at Cop is the lie that it’s possible to burn fossil fuel, meet emissions targets and reduce temperatures.