IGP Stories

IGP Director shares her thoughts on the outcome of COP28

Professor Henrietta L. Moore

08 January 2024

IGP Director and Fellow of the Clean Growth Leadership Network (CGLN) shares her thoughts on the outcome of COP28

Following the conclusion of COP28 in December, we have seen some more progress towards sustainable prosperity with food and agriculture finally being addressed in COP’s remit this year.

While it has been a long time coming at COP, this has been central to our work at the Institute for Global Prosperity on natural prosperity and regenerative agriculture for some time, as many of the most vulnerable communities to climate change are heavily dependent on this sector to sustain their livelihoods. In light of our attempts to centre worldviews from parts of Africa and the Global South to reformulate our relationships to land, food, soil, water and sustainable living I noticed an absence of the word ‘soil’ in the final COP28 text, which is key to implementing a whole-systems approach to decarbonisation – something I highlighted ahead of COP. Therefore, there is more that can be done, building on the Action Agenda on Regenerative Landscapes, to improve the discourse around regenerative agriculture and food practices as a solution for, rather than a burden upon our planet’s health.

The biggest talking point was the COP28 President’s dismissal of the harmful role of oil and gas, amidst a few contentious days of uncertainty between a “phase-down” and “phase-out” of fossil fuels. This is hardly surprising given his CEO role in ADNOC, the UAE’s largest oil and gas company. Nevertheless the final text did include “phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” and “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems” but whether this will bring about systemic equity and justice remains to be seen.

Moreover, it is vital to remember that the areas that contribute the least to global carbon emissions often remain the most susceptible to their devastating impacts. The pledge of $792 million towards the Loss and Damage Fund on day one of the conference was an acknowledgement of this, however we must ensure that this is equally met with robust preventative adaptation measures that support localised approaches to decarbonisation, future flourishing as well as the diverse livelihoods and knowledge systems of these communities. The current extractive models of economic growth supplemented with financial compensation will not break the vicious cycle of instability that disadvantaged communities find themselves in.

In my view, it also remains to be seen whether indigenous and disadvantaged communities will be genuinely represented at COP. In light of the recent Carbon Brief analysis, it is clear that more accountability is needed from the Global North to address the legacy of colonialism upon both historical emissions in former occupied territories, and the subsequent carbon-dependent infrastructures and investments established around the world since.

To read all the reflections from members of the Clean Growth Leadership Network (CGLN), click here.

Photo by Singkham

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