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At COP28, Nations Agree to Energy Transition

More than 190 countries at the COP28 climate summit this week agreed to move away from traditional fuels for their energy needs, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

What’s going on: “The deal, the result of all-night talks, calls for ‘transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner.’ It says the shift to clean energy for the global economy should accelerate this decade with the aim of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

  • The agreement marks the first time a United Nations climate deal has called on governments to curb their use of all traditional fuels.
  • Developing nations such as China and India have historically refused to sign such agreements. 

A “softer” accord: “The language of the deal is softer and contains more qualifications than an earlier draft calling for a ‘phaseout’ of fossil fuels, which oil-producing countries pushed back against. The final document ‘announced the global and irreversible trend toward a green, low-carbon transition,” said Zhao Yingming, vice minister of Ecology and Environment of China.”

  • It also offers “some latitude” to traditional-energy industries by not setting a strict timeline for the transition and by endorsing carbon capture and storage, a technology in which carbon emissions from the burning of traditional fuel sources is contained and stored underground.

What it means: The COP28 deal reflects “a new determination” by world governments to decrease traditional-fuel consumption—and alternative-energy proponents say it should speed up the pace of private investment in renewables.

However … The agreement “must still be enshrined in national policies and then implemented, a politically fraught process that is expected to run through 2050 and beyond.”

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