COP28: “It’s a victory for European diplomacy”, reacts Alain Maron

Nearly 200 states approved, Wednesday morning in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), the first “global assessment” within the framework of the Paris climate agreement, calling for a transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems. The Brussels Minister of Climate and head of the Belgian delegation on site, Alain Maron, as well as the Belgian Minister of Climate, Zakia Khattabi were the first to react.

From Dubai on La Première, this Wednesday morning, Alain Maron first commented on the draft agreement: “I find this text still too weak from an ecological point of view, but for the first time, we are addressing the question of exit fossil fuels, and this is of capital importance.” He continues: “The text is not perfect, it does not go far enough, but it makes it possible to triple renewable energy capacities and double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030.”

On X, the minister nevertheless describes this agreement as a “victory for European diplomacy”. “We have a historic agreement, which marks the irreversible exit from fossil fuels and accelerates the transition to a more sustainable world.”

“Under pressure from a large majority of countries, and with island states and the European Union in the lead, we are finally resolving the taboo of climate negotiations,” declared the minister to the Belga agency in the wake of the agreement. “It is clear that we need to move away from fossil fuels. The fact that the whole world is saying this clearly today is historic! It took almost 30 years! “.

Ms. Khattabi calls for “charting the path forward” so that the transition “is fair and possible for every country and every citizen.”

At the opening of COP28, the participating States also adopted the text implementing the fund on climate “loss and damage” in vulnerable countries. The creation of this constitutes “an important step forward”, said Ms. Khattabi. For her, the real challenge, however, lies in the years to come: “it is now that global emissions must reach their maximum and start to decrease. The fact that the world still wants to work together on this issue brings hope,” she concluded.

“A small step forward”
The “global assessment” is “a small step forward, but positive, on the difficult path of preventing most of the climate disruptions which can still be avoided”, reacted the Belgian climatologist Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, judging however that There remains “still a lot of work to be done”.

The former vice-president of the IPCC, who wrote an open letter, signed in the name of the climate, to the president of COP28, Sultan Al Jaber, congratulates the latter for the “United Arab Emirates Consensus that ‘he managed to get it adopted, with the help of all the delegates’. “He listened to the science much more than some critics expected and was able to step out of his comfort zone to recognize that we needed to talk about abandoning fossil fuels for the first time,” says Jean-Pascal van Ypersele.

The professor emeritus of climatology at UCLouvain, however, underlines that the text adopted this Wednesday by consensus of nearly 200 countries, “is far from containing all the elements required by scientific reality, the seriousness of the existing losses and damage and the principles of equity and justice. » In addition, “many elements of the text are subject to interpretation” and “guarantees are lacking”. But the text also gives “a signal stronger than ever that not only coal, but also all fossil fuels must be abandoned,” he notes.

“The climate system does not understand political declarations and incantations: it only follows the laws of nature and only understands the real emissions of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases”, recalls the climatologist again for whom a key measure of the real success of COP28 will be to know “whether a peak in global carbon emissions actually takes place before 2025 or not, whether emissions trajectories follow ‘net-zero’ trajectories making it possible to respect the target of 1.5°C, and whether appropriate financing is actually made available to countries that need it. »

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