The international climate summit has reached its conclusion after a heated debate surrounding the phase out of fossil fuels took the conference into overtime. Here are the big wins and losses from this year’s negotiations.  

“Transition away” but no “phase out”   

Each year as the COP negotiations approach, climate scientists, policymakers, and environmental professionals become increasingly vocal about the necessity of phasing out fossil fuels in order to curb climate change and achieve global environmental targets. This year was no different, and whilst there is still no commitment to phase out fossil fuels, there was progress which “calls on” countries to “transition away” from using fossil fuels. The text highlights that if humanity is to limit temperature rises to within 1.5C of warming, rapid and sustained reductions in fossil fuel usage are needed.  
Of this agreement the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterrers said: “To those who opposed a clear reference to a phase out of fossil fuels in the COP28 text, I want to say that a fossil fuel phase out is inevitable whether they like it or not. Let’s hope it doesn’t come too late.”


At the core of this year’s negotiations was the global stocktake; a component of the Paris Agreement where nations must report on how far they have come in tackling climate change to track global progress.

Unsure what is meant by the Paris Agreement? Check our Net Zero Key Terms Glossary for a comprehensive list of key climate definitions

The stocktake placed very clear emphasis on the importance of renewables for powering our future and called upon nations to triple the global renewable energy capacity and double the rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030.   

This year’s COP negotiations have sent a clear message that the transition away from fossil fuels will be happening and investment in renewables will strengthen the sector going forward. However, critics argue that in order to instigate real change, stronger language surrounding renewables needs to be incorporated into the COP29 deal.  

Loss and damage  

The loss and damage fund was a flagship agreement at last year’s negotiations. The fund is designed to financially mitigate the harm caused by climate disasters in developing nations, with developed countries footing the bill.  
The night before COP28, the UAE presidency released a proposed text based on a final session from the transitional committee. This text was raised on day one of COP28 and announced to the hall with zero objection, meaning it was passed quickly to a standing ovation.  
The launch of the loss and damage fund was a phenomenal achievement to be made during a COP opening session. Key points include:  

  • The fund will be housed by the World Bank for at least four years as an independent entity under the UNFCCC’s financial mechanism. 
  • The board will consist of 26 members, with the majority coming from developing countries.  
  • The fund will be named the “Climate Impact Response” fund.  
  • There is no firm obligation for developed countries to pay into the fund and which will depend on generosity. 
  • The UAE will make the first payment into the fund of $100m.  
  • The UK, US, Spain, Ireland, EU, and Japan have all made funding announcements.  
  • The fund stood at $770.6m by the end of COP28. 

What next? 

As the negotiations concluded, countries will now be obliged to adhere to any legally binding decisions made at COP28. While it remains unclear exactly what is entailed by a “transition away” from fossil fuels, the following year will likely place heavy emphasis on increasing renewable energy capacity, investment and innovation globally, and new fossil fuel projects proposed by governments will likely face even stronger objection until an inevitable “phase out” is agreed upon over the coming years. 


Next year’s summit, COP29, will be hosted in Azerbaijan.


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