COP28: A step towards climate progress or a missed opportunity? Experts weigh in

The conclusion of COP28 or 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai was a complex blend of both

COP28: A step towards climate progress or a missed opportunity? Experts weigh in

The conclusion of COP28 or 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai was a complex blend of both achievements and challenges. As the first-ever global stocktake of the Paris Agreement took place, the outcomes of the summit were scrutinised for their potential impact on future climate action.


One of the most pivotal aspects of the COP28 discussions centred around the 1.5-degree Celsius temperature cap, a goal often referred to as the “North Star” of climate action.

This target, rooted in the Paris Agreement, represents the global commitment to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The emphasis on this target at COP28 was a clear reflection of its critical importance. Countries recognised that exceeding this threshold would lead to catastrophic climate impacts, particularly for the most vulnerable nations.

The discussions and negotiations at COP28 were underscored by the urgency to implement actions that align with this goal, acknowledging that current efforts and NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) are not sufficient to prevent surpassing the 1.5-degree limit.

While there was consensus on the importance of the 1.5-degree target, differing country positions and commitments highlighted the challenges in achieving it.

Developed countries, responsible for the majority of historical emissions, face calls for stronger action and leadership in climate financing and emissions reduction.

Developing nations emphasised the need for support in adaptation, technology transfer, and funding to meet their climate goals while addressing developmental needs.

The commitment to the 1.5-degree cap at COP28 was not just a reiteration of a global goal but a reminder of the immediate and concerted efforts needed from all nations.

As the summit concluded, it was evident that the path to maintaining the 1.5-degree cap requires unprecedented global collaboration, with every country playing a vital role in this collective endeavour.

The emphasis on the 1.5-degree cap at COP28 serves as a crucial reminder that while progress has been made, the journey ahead is still arduous and requires unwavering commitment from every nation.


The global stocktake assessed the world’s progress against the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement, serving as a crucial reality check.

Despite acknowledging progress, experts criticised the stocktake for its lack of forceful commitments. The Samoa representative, for AOSIS, emphasised the gap between current efforts and what is needed, stating, “Our future is non-negotiable, and we need actions that match the scale of the crisis we face.”


The summit’s acknowledgement of the need to transition away from fossil fuels marked a significant development.

Linda Kalcher, Executive Director at Strategic Perspectives, commented on the outcomes, “COP28 marks the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era. This outcome must be harnessed by governments and markets, but it is still heavy with loopholes, lacking timelines and fails to provide the support that the majority of the world’s people are going to need to finance the rapid transition that is now required.”


Ambitious targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements were set at COP28.

Aarti Khosla from Climate Trends observed, “The Dubai deal is positive, however with gaps. It is the first time that there is recognition of transitioning away from fossil fuels in a COP text. However, coming alongside an absolute recognition of a warming world, and the need to take rapid action within this decade, the outcome text ends up making real concessions for gas and oil”.


The conference saw significant discussions about mobilising funds for climate action.

Avinash Persaud, Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of Barbados, underscored the importance of financial flows, stating, “Today, we have committed to triple renewable investments and have a just transition from fossil fuels. Some activists were disappointed we didn’t commit to an immediate fossil fuel phase-out. Still, without the trade, investment, and finance to achieve it, it would either have hit developing countries hardest or been meaningless”.


COP28 also focused on adaptation strategies and nature conservation.

Ruth Davis, Senior Associate at the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, highlighted, “Food and nature have long been overdue for more space in the COP negotiating texts. For the first time ever, the promise to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030 has become a formal outcome. And 150+ countries pledged to put food in their new climate plans. The forgotten third of global greenhouse gas emissions will be under proper scrutiny, providing there is funding on the table”.

COP28 represented both progress and unmet challenges on the global climate agenda. The summit marked significant achievements but also highlighted the urgent need for more concrete actions.

Published By:

Aditi Sharma

Published On:

Dec 15, 2023

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