Is ‘phase out’ a COP-out?

COP28 is over. Here are some of Bluemethane’s key takeaways from this year’s climate summit.  


Climate tech is on the rise:  

COP28 has seen a huge increase in the presence of climate tech compared to previous summits, suggesting a shift away from diplomacy-dominated approaches and towards action. A good start.


Renewable energy will triple:  

118 countries have agreed to triple renewable power generation capacity and double energy efficiency within the decade. Great news.


‘Phase out’ vs ‘phase down’: Are oil and gas here to stay?  

Whilst some parties want a deal to be made to phase out fossil fuels, it has been agreed to merely restrict their ‘unabated’ use. In such an ‘abated’ scenario, the burning of fossil fuels and release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere will be complimented by carbon capture and storage (CCS). CCS, however, is still in the early stages of development and deployment. It is unclear whether it is ready, or is at all suitable, for a major scale-up. With unequivocable evidence pointing towards global warming, isn’t it obvious we need to phase out fossil fuels?


Global Methane Pledge (GMP) participation has increased:  

New members of the GMP were welcomed at COP28, bringing the total participation to 155 governments. Canada, Germany, Federated States of Micronesia, Nigeria and Japan also joined the United States and European Union as Global Methane Pledge Champions. That means more countries have pledged to reduce their methane emissions but 30% compared to 2020 levels, by 2030. While this is positive news, it would be more impactful still if these pledges were transformed into binding agreements, rather than remaining expressions of intent.


New funding announced for Global Methane Pledge (GMP) action:  

The GMP partners announced at COP28 over $1 billion USD in new grant funding, for methane abatement projects that have been kicked off since last year. However, an article published by the Environmental Investigation Agency (Nov 2023) suggests that funding for methane abatement is only one part of the problem – financial assistance needs to be transparently structured to deliver the three key pillars of the GMP: (1) monitoring, reporting and verification; (2) mitigation; and (3) capacity building. 


Bluemethane‘s thoughts? COP28 has been a mixed bag. Whilst there has been some movement towards actionwe‘re disappointed by the slow progress made by oil and gas, namely the decision to ‘phase down’ rather than ‘phase out’ fossil fuels. We believe that decisive action must be taken immediately across all sectors to address the climate emergency. What are your key takes from COP28?


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