COP28 Overview: Homework for the 1.5°C Target
Based on the final document from the climate conference in Dubai, addressing energy transition and loss and damage funds, and the declaration on food systems, Brazil needs to pave the way for expanding climate ambitions until COP30.
The 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, concluded in Dubai on Wednesday (December 13) with the approval of the final document outlining decisions agreed upon by participating countries.
The “Consensus of the United Arab Emirates” highlights the commitment to limit the rise in the planet’s average temperature to 1.5°C and mentions “transition away” from fossil fuels, aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Reaffirming the 1.5°C target is very relevant because beyond this limit, the impacts of climate change will be irreversible and intense. Global alignment in this direction is crucial, and this was a point Brazilian negotiators worked hard for,” emphasizes Renata Piazzon, CEO of the Arapyaú Institute. “This alignment needs to happen with the review of NDCs expected in 2025. They should promote a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, as indicated by scientific evidence, but they need to focus primarily on concrete actions,” says Lívia Pagotto, Executive Secretary of Concertação pela Amazônia.
With these and other decisions, the document aims to respond to the results of the Global Stocktake, the first global assessment of efforts to meet the goals set in the Paris Agreement and mitigate climate change and its consequences.
Brazil, aiming to regain its position as a leader in the international climate agenda, concluded its participation with the mission to work towards making COP30 in 2025 the most relevant since the Paris Agreement. Until then, the country needs to have its homework done.
After two weeks of debates and negotiations among the Parties, the term for participating countries in the COP, experts from the Arapyaú Institute, Concertação pela Amazônia initiative, and partner organizations like Nature Finance, Itausa, Coalition Brazil Climate, Forests, and Agriculture, and Consortium Legal Amazon evaluate the main outcomes of this conference.
**Key Highlights of COP28**
**Loss and Damage Fund**
A positive aspect of the Dubai conference was the announcement of the implementation of the Loss and Damage Fund on the first day. “It was undoubtedly a major milestone of this COP,” says Renata Piazzon, CEO of Arapyaú. “Less about the volume of resources and more about the fact that the fund will be operationalized,” she concludes. The fund, initially hosted by the World Bank, will be composed of resources voluntarily contributed by developed nations. Currently, the amount is just over $700 million but is considered insufficient to mitigate the impacts that developing and more vulnerable countries are already facing. It is estimated that damages globally amount to between $100 billion and $580 billion per year.
**Fossil Fuels and Energy Transition**
The way fossil fuels were addressed in the final COP document did not please everyone. It calls on countries to adopt “the transition of fossil fuels in energy systems (transition away) in a fair, orderly, and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 according to science.” The document does not mention completely eliminating or gradually phasing out the use of fossil fuels (oil, coal, and gas), as some countries and much of civil society present at COP wanted. However, on the other hand, the mention of fossil fuels was seen as positive since the topic was finally emphasized in the document.
One aspect that left much to be desired was the issue of adaptation – actions necessary for countries and populations to prepare and adapt to the consequences of climate change. In the final document, there was a lack of setting a schedule and presenting how to increase funding for this type of action. The COP’s final text highlights that the financial needs for adaptation by developing countries amount to $215 to $387 billion per year until 2030.
It was established that there should be a balance between funding for adaptation and mitigation, and a two-year program with indicators for measuring progress was launched. Actions should be established by nations according to their local realities.
In Marcelo Furtado’s opinion, head of sustainability at Itaúsa and director of Nature Finance, the adaptation issue ended up not being central due to the focus given to the issue of fossil fuels. “The adaptation agenda is of great importance, especially because, at least at this moment, we are on track to exceed the 1.5°C limit, and we need to address the increased intensity of more severe climate events. Better adaptation means fewer losses and damages.”
Responsible for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, food systems were in focus from the beginning of COP28. Already on the second day of the conference, the “Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action” was announced. Countries adopting it committed to include
the issue of food systems in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and national adaptation plans.
“We have already surpassed 150 signatory countries, including Brazil. This is a very important agenda for the Brazilian context, as we are internationally relevant as a food producer, and we are also a mega-biodiverse country. It is necessary to think about transforming food systems by connecting them with climate, nature, income generation, and social inclusion,” says Laura Lamonica, executive manager of the Coalition Brazil Climate, Forests, and Agriculture.
For Marcello Brito, executive secretary of the Legal Amazon Consortium, Dubai contributed to a new type of discussion. “This COP opened the door to discussing the transition from a world that discusses carbon-based finance, which deals more with removals, to one that will work on finances based on nature, which deals with conservation and people. The opening of this agenda is what I consider important from this COP,” he highlights.
**Civil Society Participation**
COP28 had a record 84,000 participants, indicating significant representation from business and civil society organizations. Thus, in addition to official negotiations, a series of panels and discussions on various agendas took place. Despite this, there were criticisms.
“A very large structure led to the greater dispersion, including physically, of actions promoted by civil society, the private sector, and academia at COP, making it difficult for a more integrative participation of different agendas and people,” says Lívia Pagotto, executive secretary of the Concertação pela Amazônia initiative.
**Paths to COP30 in Belém**
The Dubai outcome is crucial for Brazil to outline paths until 2025, when we will have COP30 in Belém, with more ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, actions for adaptation and resilience, and a just transition. This path also includes the G20 meeting in 2024, under Brazil’s presidency, bringing together the world’s largest economies responsible for 80% of emissions and 75% of global trade. “This is a great opportunity to advance where COP28 was very timid, such as financing a positive economy for climate, nature, and people. It will be a great opportunity for Brazil to address the potential of the bioeconomy and new financing models for nature-based solutions,” said Marcelo Furtado.
Furthermore, to make upcoming conferences more effective in achieving expected results, it is necessary for the host countries of COP28, COP29 (Azerbaijan), and COP30 (Brazil) to act together.
COP29 next year should focus on reviewing financing targets. Ensuring it is a key element to implement actions to address the climate crisis, especially for developing countries.
COP30’s great expectation will be the discussion of new NDCs from countries, which are expected to be more ambitious. This is because the Global Stocktake showed that current commitments to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to maintain 1.5°C.
“For the Brazilian context itself, the challenge now is how to turn the results of COP28 into domestic policies that allow us to present concrete results by 2025. And thus, position Brazil as a protagonist in the international diplomacy of tackling climate change, especially considering our route from here to there, with the country presiding over the G20 in 2024,” says Laura Lamonica of the Coalition Brazil.
ACCESS THE MATERIAL DEVELOPED BY THE AMAZON COORDINATION AT COP28
COP28 Overview: Homework Lessons for the 1.5°C Goal
Building upon the final document of the climate conference in Dubai, which addresses energy transition and the loss and damage fund, and considering the statement on food systems, Brazil needs to pave the way for the expansion of climate ambitions leading up to COP30.
The first week of COP28 indicates that there will be pressure for countries to align their commitments with the 1.5°C target.
Experts from the Arapyaú Institute and the Uma Concertação pela Amazônia initiative provide an assessment of the first days of the Climate Conference; initiatives launch a forum on climate financing.
At COP28, Brazil should advocate for financing and a just transition.
For the Arapyaú Institute and the Uma Concertação pela Amazônia, challenges will require radical cooperation among governments, businesses, civil society, and philanthropy.