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COP28 deal suggests days of fossil fuels are numbered – but climate catastrophe is not yet averted

Our latest selection of articles from New Zealand and around the world on environmental management and sustainability. Click here to subscribe.


We start things off with an all-important COP roundup. Find out why delegates debating the final agreement reminded this writer of ‘rearranging deckchairs on the titanic’.


Next, we delve a little deeper into the final COP agreement, analysing what it can tell us about the challenges of securing unanimous approval, with terms like ‘transitional fuels’ coming under well-deserved scrutiny.

The next snippet is slightly unusual, in that it’s not an article at all, it’s the actual final agreement from COP28. All 196 paragraphs.  It’s not exactly light reading (21 pages in total) but worth taking a moment to scroll through.


The obvious disparity between the alarming warnings and the soft-spoken action items are testament to the challenges we face in 2023: consensus agreement that the climate crisis is getting worse, but a lack of willingness to change.


So why is the world so reluctant to change?  The answer may lie with the global polluter elite, with the richest 1% accounting for more carbon emissions than the poorest 66%.


One strategy that would make all the difference is pricing carbon.  In fact, it would raise trillions needed to tackle the climate crisis.  And if governments are resistant to pricing carbon, this article shares regulatory changes that could have a similar effect.  Among those changes, and a cause highlighted in the final COP28 agreement, is the need for improved energy efficiency.  We can greatly reduce emissions simply by optimizing the power we are already using.  The ultimate low-hanging fruit!  And something we can help with here at CarbonEES.


Speaking of fruit, communities in France are achieving positive results helping citizens reduce household waste, although scaling these solutions to bigger centres has its challenges.


On the home front, the Climate Change Commission has recommended a number of strategies our government could (should?) use to meet our climate obligations.


Leading by example, Portugal are in the midst of a renewables surge, including impressive off-shore floating wind turbines.


And lastly, for all you motor-racing fans out there, this article asks the burning question on everyone’s mind, can gas-guzzling Formula One ever go green?


Did you know: You can display your organisation’s sustainability data on your website or intranet using our carbon management software, e-Bench? Read more…



Here is the full list of articles...


It’s a wrap! Negotiations at COP28 have concluded with a final agreement made for a global “transition away from fossil fuels”. It may surprise you, but this is the first time in 28 climate talks that nations have directly addressed phasing out fossil fuels. Some have greeted the decision text as “historic” – especially considering the summit’s controversial hosts. COP28 also saw an agreement to establish a “loss and damage” fund, whereby richer nations compensate poorer nations for the effects of climate change. Read more…


But what does the agreement actually say? The decision text clearly states the challenge of limiting global warming to 1.5°C when global emissions are still rising, calling on countries to introduce climate measures. However, the text still leaves a lot to be desired. Stronger wording is needed in the call for climate action, and there needs to be far less loopholes for the fossil fuel industry. More information is needed surrounding climate finance and there needs to be stronger guidance on a global plan for adaptation. Read more…


We suggest that you take a moment to read the agreement yourself. We found the contrast between the verbal ambitions from COP28, to the written outcomes in legalese astonishing. For example, paragraph 5 expresses serious concern surrounding the rapid acceleration of global temperature rise, emphasising the need for urgent action. However, the closing paragraph of the agreement requests that the actions within the decision text to be undertaken “subject to the availability of financial resources”. So urgent action on climate change is required… but only if it’s financially convenient. Funny that. Read more…


If you might be wondering why it always seems so hard to make progress at COP, consider that most heads of State attending COP, form part of the world’s richest 1%, or 77 million individuals.  And this richest 1% account for more carbon emissions than the poorest 66%.  This also means that the richest 1% have the most to lose if the world gets really serious about reducing emissions and phasing out fossil fuels.  To them it must feel like the proverbial turkey voting for Christmas. Read more…


As in a case in point, diverting the fossil fuel production subsidies would generate the vast amounts of cash needed to tackle the climate crisis.  The International Monetary Fund has calculated that direct and indirect subsidies that go towards fossil fuels, even without counting proven impacts such as health costs, had reached more than $7tn.  Reforming these would release resources that could be poured into renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies, with economists claiming pricing carbon would be the most effective way to shift away from fossil fuels. Read more…


Efforts to enhance energy efficiency, such as minimising "vampire loads" and fixing leaks in electricity grids and appliances, are seen as a crucial strategy for rapidly reducing climate-warming emissions. At COP28, 118 countries pledged to increase energy efficiency rates by 4% annually until 2030, aiming to double the 2022 efficiency rate. The International Energy Agency (IEA) deems efficiency the "first fuel" in the energy transition, asserting it's a cost-effective means to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Doubling global average efficiency could deliver half the required emissions reductions by 2030, with potential annual industry savings of $437 billion by 2030. Read more…


In France, zero-waste initiatives in Roubaix and Nouvelle-Aquitaine are addressing waste reduction by targeting individual behaviours. In Roubaix, a local government experiment, initiated in 2015, involved teaching families waste-cutting strategies. Similar efforts across France aim to meet ambitious waste-reduction goals outlined in the 2020 anti-waste law. Behavioural change, driven by education and systemic interventions, is crucial. In Roubaix, a "tell them" strategy focuses on raising awareness and providing incentives, while in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, a regional waste management authority experiments with contextual change, altering waste collection methods and introducing pay-as-you-throw schemes to encourage waste reduction. Read more…


Back in NZ, there needs to be a boost in renewable electricity to meet greenhouse goals, according to the Climate Change Commission. Ministers should consider charging farmers for their emissions before 2030. Shift drivers to electric vehicles. Boost cash for cycleways and promote inner city housing. National promised to meet the country’s climate goals, but coalition partners may make achieving these goals that little bit more difficult. Case in point, ACT wants a full study of the benefits of installing thousands of EV Chargers! Read more…


Portugal appears to have played a long game, in its transition away from fossil fuels as it recently ran on 100% renewable energy for 6 days in a row. Portugal committed to building renewables early and often, pledging a 2050 deadline for net-zero carbon emissions in 2016, several years before the European Union found the conviction to take that step. Portugal’s last coal plants shut down in 2022. They have focused on diversification of renewable resources and are expanding renewables across the board.   Read more…


Can Formula One ever go green? F1 want to, but racing is only a small part of the organisation’s emissions (0.7%). That’s still roughly the same as annual emissions of 55,000 cars. Sustainable fuel may help the cars go greener, but how do you bring emissions down on an expanding global operation?  You could have back-to-back events in countries that are closer together, or race less. Off-setting emissions may help in the short term but is it really the race winner it’s cracked up to be!   Read more…





This week we have the following innovation articles we hope you find interesting:






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