WWF-US statement on COP28: Long-awaited acknowledgement, but fails to meet the moment for decisive action

Last week, the UNFCCC released the cover decision from COP28 in Dubai. In response, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released the following statement from Marcene Mitchell, senior vice president of climate change:

For the first time, the final decision of the UNFCCC COP28 contains a commitment to transition away from fossil fuels. While this provides a long-awaited acknowledgment that the burning of coal, oil and gas is the main cause of global warming, the language falls short of a clear call for the phase out of all fossil fuels. The agreed upon language remains insufficient to meet the moment and requires further global action to keep 1.5°C alive in this decisive decade. We must persist with necessary urgency and not fall back on unrealistic promises that carbon capture technologies or “transition fuels” will solve the climate crisis.

We know from our lived experiences that floods, heat waves, storms and wildfires are threatening our way of living. Across the globe, 2 billion people are living through drought that threatens food and water security that can quickly become the source of political conflict and regional instability. We must put aside excuses and act on the need to leave our fossil fuel powered past behind.

The early decision at COP to operationalize the Loss and Damage fund for climate vulnerable nations was an important step in the right direction. So was the pledge by 130 countries to triple the amount of renewable energy deployed and double the rate of energy efficiency. This must be followed up by more ambition and funding to help countries adapt to rising temperatures and preserve nature as our main ally in the fight against climate change. As we leave Dubai and prepare for COP29 in Baku, we must move the needle on carbon pollution. The tide has turned on the era of fossil fuels and now is the time to secure a livable future for ourselves, our children and our planet.