COP28 ends with legacy potential after breakthrough fossil fuel pact

Ben Geman

Axios Generate

The historic outcome of COP28 means the United Nations climate process passed a big test — yet now faces an even larger one.

Driving the news: The Dubai summit ended with a pact that calls on nations to transition away from fossil fuels toward net-zero emissions in 2050.

Why it matters: It’s the first time the UN climate talks, which span three decades, have explicitly pressed for such a transition.

There’s usually high drama at these summits, but this year’s petro-state location — and COP28 head Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber’s oil industry job — amplified the intrigue.

Yes, but: The non-binding deal lacks what many countries and activists wanted — an even stronger agreement to “phase out” these fuels — and comes with what they say are loopholes aplenty.

Large oil producers and consumers including Saudi Arabia balked, and many African nations with oil and gas resources objected.

What happens next will test whether the largely voluntary Paris Agreement architecture can bring aggressive action.

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