Dubai, Dec. 13, 2023 – The following statement was released by WCS President and CEO Monica Medina upon the conclusion of the UN Climate Conference:

“The countries of the world leave COP28 in Dubai with a consensus to transition away from fossil fuels, and in a world full of conflict, that is progress. This consensus may mark the beginning of the end of the road for fossil fuels. But we are gravely concerned that it does not take us far enough or fast enough to adequately address the climate crisis. We cannot and must not let up now. The world must accelerate a just transition away from fossil fuels without any further delay—pedal to the metal.

“COP28’s main purpose was to ensure our planet—being ravaged by the climate crisis—remains livable for generations to come. The outcome of the COP is a step in the right direction, but we need to move much more quickly in the years to come. The Dubai Consensus must lead to accelerated change in national action plans that much more clearly protect nature and include much more finance to deal with ongoing impacts of the climate crisis and an even greater role for Indigenous Peoples and other traditional communities. The fate of the world and future generations depends on it.

COP28 Analysis 

“For the first time, countries agreed to transition off fossil fuels, but with no clear timeframe for a fast, full, just and equitable phase out of fossil fuels. In addition, a huge finance gap remains for the mitigation and adaptation support that developing countries need. Protection of human rights through free, prior, and informed consent and other safeguards during resource extraction, while including Indigenous Peoples and local communities as decisions makers in climate action, was also missing from the final text.

“Nonetheless, there were very important decisions on the most-needed establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund and a vital acknowledgement of the importance of protecting nature; on halting and reversing deforestation and forest degradation by 2030; on aligning strategies addressing the interlinked crises of biodiversity loss and climate; and on protecting and restoring nature through enhanced efforts with social and environmental safeguards, in line with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. 

“We welcomed the heightened awareness of the vital role of nature in climate action. However, the climate negotiations are still failing to mainstream ecological integrity at the core of its decisions. Direct financing mechanisms for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, with actual involvement of Indigenous Peoples and other traditional communities in national processes and a human rights based approach to climate solutions were also absent.

“We won't solve the climate crisis without a just and equitable phasing out of fossil fuels.”