COP28 – Climate Fighter’s conclusions

One week into COP28, held in the UAE—a major oil producer—and chaired by an oil company CEO, expectations were understandably muted. This marks the 28th year of COP meetings without significant shifts in addressing climate urgency. In 2023, as temperatures soared above 2°C for the first time, the response from world leaders remains lackluster, treating climate change as a distant threat rather than an immediate crisis.

Notably absent were key figures like U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who sent delegates instead. This absence was felt particularly as the conference aims to unite global leaders for meaningful climate dialogue and action. The UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak did attend, albeit briefly and by private jet, raising questions about commitment levels.

Discussions between Sunak and COP28 chairman Sultan al-Jaber could have revolved around their respective countries’ plans to increase fossil fuel production, a move contrary to climate goals. This expansion, including Sunak’s approval of new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea and ADNOC’s production increase, directly opposes the International Energy Agency’s stance against new fossil fuel developments for maintaining temperatures within 1.5°C.

COP, with its potential as a platform for global leaders to address environmental issues, has repeatedly fallen short. Despite commitments made in previous conferences, including the 1.5°C target agreed upon at COP26, real-world actions contradict these promises. The event increasingly appears as a stage for greenwashing, where leaders make empty gestures towards environmental sustainability while continuing harmful practices.

The underlying issue may not just be the presence of fossil fuel lobbyists, but also the capitalist-driven agendas of leaders profiting from environmental degradation. This irony, where those responsible for ecological harm lead the charge against it, undermines the sincerity and effectiveness of COP. Given this scenario, it might be time for committed environmentalists and ecologists to seek alternatives to COP, moving beyond its limited and often hypocritical approach to genuinely address the pressing ecological crisis.

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