December 12, 2023

Press Release – Holding the Line for 1.5°C at COP28: Update on Energy Negotiations

GLOBAL: As COP28 reaches its final days, the draft of the final Global Stocktake text contains major gaps, deliberate omissions, and unacceptable loopholes that allow for the continuation of global fossil fuel dependency and fail to address the climate crisis – the most pressing issue of our time – with the urgent course correction it deserves. and Oil Change International, along with representatives from the youth movement and policy experts held a conference highlighting the fatal implications of the text in its current form, which is not reflective of the science behind climate change, nor the fast and fair phaseout of fossil fuels that science tells is the answer.

Andreas Sieber, Associate Director of Global Policy and Campaigns at says:

“What we want from COP28 is a transparent process. One that takes into account the concerns of vulnerable nations so that they are meaningfully included in the negotiations and outcomes. We are heartened by the over 120 countries that have rejected the current draft on the basis that it is not ambitious enough on fossil fuel phase-out and the transition to renewable energy.

There is still time to land a COP28 outcome that’s right but we must fight for it. This is not the time to side with big emitters but rather to listen to the climate vulnerable nations and include their concerns. In these final hours, we need wealthy countries to demand a fossil fuel phase-out and be the ones to take the lead and commit to lead this phaseout.


Romain Ioualalen, Global Policy Campaign Manager at Oil Change International says:

“We came here to Dubai for COP28 being promised a historic outcome, that’s what we were told. We were told repeatedly the COP28 president was going to be guided by science, that 1.5 was going to be his north star. But what we got yesterday was a new GST draft that is not that. It’s not it, not at all. What happened in the last few days of the negotiations, the draft, does not reflect science, it does not reflect the demands of the global climate and climate justice movement for a full funded and fair phase out of fossil fuels and it doesn’t even reflect the positions of the vast majority of parties in this process that have asked repeatedly for a strong outcome on fossil fuels.” 

“Let us remember the success of this COP will be judged on whether there is an agreement on a full fast fair and funded phase out of all fossil fuels. That’s the test and what we’re here to do.”

“Where is the money? Where’s the money? We’ve been hearing from the African group in particular that they’re not opposed to transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy but they’re going to need support. If developed countries had met their financial obligations in this process, and were sending a clear signal that these countries would be financially supported through the transition, maybe the deal would be more secure at this stage.”

Vanessa Nakate, Ugandan climate justice activist says:

“The new Global Stocktake text is a death sentence for communities. We need to keep 1.5 alive, and we can’t do that if the text remains as it is now. We have to fight for humanity and for our survival. We are in the final hours of COP28, and we need to dismantle the power of the fossil fuel industry over the COP process. Civil society and all countries must fight tirelessly for a phase-out of all fossil fuels, without distractions, and strong tangible progress on adaptation.”

Joseph Sikulu, Pacific Managing Director at says:

“ The Minister from the Marshall Islands said it the best: we didn’t come here to sign our death sentence, and the text in its current state is that. It’s not just the GST text, it’s adaptation… 

“We know COP28 is not yet over, and we know our negotiators are in there holding the line. Going back in, hard and strong, and we are standing outside in whatever way we can making sure we hold that line.” 

“ We continue to come and we do not get what is deserved and needed. In Paris, we fought for our lives for 1.5, and we are slowly seeing it leave our grasp. It’s now become just words.”

“Unless we acknowledge that it’s fossil fuels that have caused the climate crisis, and a phaseout of fossil fuels that will save our planet, what is the point of us being here? What reason is there for our children to hope? We know the system is broken, but we know our people aren’t. Whatever happens, we will build the world we want to see, but we hope what comes out of this COP helps us do that.”

Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director and Lead Economist for the Climate and Energy Program at UCS says:

“I echo comments from civil society parties – the good news is we all agree this text is shit, and it’s time. We gotta fix it, we know what we came here for, we know what the science says, and what people are urgently demanding around the world. The era of fossil fuels has to end now, not in some 2050 distant future. It’s worth going into overtime to get this right. We must get this job done here. Why? Because the climate crisis is rapidly spiraling out of control around the world. People on the frontlines have contributed the least to the problem and they are facing the brunt of the impacts. It’s really critical we secure a fast fair funded fossil fuel phaseout at this COP, it’s what we came here for.

There’s a lot of hollow invocation of 1.5 and the latest science, but the proof is in the pudding. You have to have words that actually live up to the science. We saw no actual text that lives up to that. That word ‘could’ at the top of the menu options is fatal. At this moment in time the reason that it’s particularly harmful is there’s nothing voluntary or optional about the climate impacts people are experiencing.”


Media Contacts:

On site: Kim Bryan / [email protected] / +44 7770881503

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