UN puts climate ‘course correction’ on Cop28 negotiating table

In response to a global stocktake report, ministers will debate collective goals such as phasing out fossil fuels by 2040

The United Nations has put a series of challenging climate goals on the agenda for Cop28, in its effort to get the world back on course to limit global warming to 1.5C.

A UN “stocktake” of progress found the world is heading to blow past the 1.5C goal and, after speaking to governments, the UN has put together a list of options to stop that happening.

The head of the UN’s climate arm Simon Stiell told reporters today that “we are far from where we need to be as a global community” and the “window of opportunity is rapidly closing”. The response to the stocktake is an “opportunity for course correction”.

The 65-page document published today contains several options which are far more ambitious than current policies and targets.

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These include stopping exploration for fossil fuels by 2030, phasing out their use by 2040 and delivering $200-400 billion a year to help climate victims through a loss and damage fund.

Government negotiators will narrow down the list at a series of meetings over the next two months, before government ministers decide what they can all agree upon at Cop28 in Dubai.

Stiell said that governments broadly agreed “as to where the gaps are and where those gaps need to close”.

The disagreements, he said, “come from how its done and who should carry the weight in terms of the action and the responses that are required”.

In recent years, developed nations like the US and Europe have pushed for big emerging economies like China to do more to reduce emissions and to deliver climate finance. 

China and allies have pushed back, arguing that the responsibility still lies with the wealthiest nations who have historically polluted the most.

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The stocktake is a once-every-five-years process designed to check that governments are going to meet their collective targets to limit global warming.

Its convenors have been gathering input and data from governments, campaigners and scientists and published a report summarising the evidence a month ago.

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