COP28 Conclusion: Delegates deliver a historic deal in Dubai

Aaron Kinnari
Aaron Kinnari

To read a recap of the first day of COP28, which included a historic agreement on the Loss and Damage Fund, click here.

To read a recap of the first week of COP28, including additional commitments to scale renewable energy and decarbonize major industries, click here.

The conclusion of COP28 went into overtime, with nearly 200 nations negotiating over critical details of the final deal. Delegates delivered early Wednesday morning, issuing an agreement that called for tripling renewable energy by 2030, reducing methane emissions, the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund, and for the first time — a transition away from fossil fuels.

Dubai may well be the most significant COP since the Paris Agreement in 2015.
Bloomberg News

The agreement came at the end of a long two weeks of many major announcements and commitments from business, nonprofit, and government leaders. Our first recap included the historic approval of a framework for the Loss and Damage Fund — an unprecedented agreement on the very first day of the conference that has now rallied more than $700 million for climate vulnerable nations. Our campaign and content series with the Alliance of Small Island States makes clear why these resources are so vital for communities in island nations. 

In the days that followed, we saw additional financial commitments, outlined in our second recap, to invest in and purchase clean, renewable energy, including from some of the world's heaviest-emitting sectors, like global shipping. This marshaling of blended capital from the public and private sectors will help move climate ambition into action, and will need to continue to scale to advance this transition at a faster rate. 

There were several other significant commitments made over the past two weeks in Dubai that were important not to miss. From a new marine protected area in the Pacific five times the size of the United States, to a convening of local leaders championing climate action in their communities, COP28 marshaled a new wave of energy focused on securing a more sustainable future. Just a few of these notable actions included:

  • A $225 million commitment to protect one billion hectares in the “Pacific Blue Continent”: With commitments of $100 million from the Bezos Earth Fund, and $125 million from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), this new commitment will fund the creation of new marine protected areas (MPAs) to safeguard 30% of the Pacific Ocean. In a region local leaders are calling "the blue continent," that is five times the size of the United States, the new network of MPAs will give vital relief to marine species, providing benefits for people and the planet.

  • The first-ever summit of local leaders: Bloomberg Philanthropies and the COP Presidency hosted the first-ever Local Climate Action Summit, which rallied hundreds of national and subnational leaders to drive collaboration and action in reforming climate finance, accelerating the energy transition, and strengthening resilience. Featuring leaders of communities of all sizes that are on the frontlines of climate change, the summit underscored how local action can help secure national and international climate targets.

  • Expansion of the Zero Emissions Maritime Buyers Alliance and the announcement of new green shipping corridors:

    • 10 Additional Freight Buyers Join Collaborations to Decarbonize Maritime Shipping through Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) Ten additional companies have joined initiatives aimed at driving ambition and action toward decarbonizing maritime cargo transport. Partners like Flexport, Meta, and Nestle have joined numerous others in stating their intention to only use zero-emission ocean transport by 2040. The Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) has added four new members — Mondelēz International, Pledge, Reckitt, and REI Co-op — working to fast-track commercial deployment of zero-emission shipping services at scale.

    • Numerous other Green Shipping Challenge announcements were made during COP28, including new green shipping corridor initiatives around the world, the first ammonia capable ship and further investments in alternative fuel-ready vessels, and commitments to support developing countries with the implementation of the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy.

  • Additional commitments to the Green Climate Fund, including $3 billion from the United States: Vice President Kamala Harris announced the United States would commit another $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, building on $2 billion previously delivered. This comes as nations finally last year reached the goal of marshaling $100 billion in climate finance annually for developing countries.

  • A $2.59 billion investment in protecting and restoring nature, including mangroves: At the World Climate Action Summit (WCAS) on December 2, more than $2.5 billion was mobilized through a combination of public and private sources to finance nature-based solutions on the road to COP30 in Brazil. 49 countries — home to more than 15 million hectares of mangroves, representing over 60% of the world’s total — committed to the Mangrove Breakthrough initiative to ensure secure restoration and protection by 2030.

  • 134 world leaders sign on to Food and Agriculture Declaration, and mobilize $2.5 billion in investment: With food systems estimated to generate more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions, leaders from 134 countries committed to transforming agricultural systems to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement — scaling industry-wide resilience and adaptation initiatives, with the goal of incorporating food systems change “into National Adaptation Plans, Nationally Determined Contributions, Long-term Strategies, National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, and other related strategies before the convening of COP30.

  • More than $1 billion announced to cut methane emissions: With methane as much as 80 times more harmful than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming, countries made a range of commitments to tackle emissions. Forty-nine oil and gas companies announced they would reduce methane leaks from their operations to "near zero" by the end of the decade. The United States released new regulations on methane emissions and a $1 billion grant fund to help developing nations advance their efforts.

These commitments and so many others from cross-sector leaders mark significant progress that is worthy of celebration. Yet, as we come to the end of COP28, it’s hard to ignore the truth that we still need to move much faster and much further to tackle the climate crisis, support the communities that are most impacted, and avoid the most devastating consequences going forward. 

Leaders at future COP summits will need to significantly scale financial support to island nations and developing countries to help them cope with climate-related costs, transition to renewable energy, and adapt to a changing environment. We need continued local and national action to fulfill and scale commitments and keep the planet on the pathway outlined in the Paris Agreement.

And we still have more work to do to fully embrace the power and potential of ocean-based solutions to safeguard biodiversity and reduce and capture emissions. So while delegates at COP28 can take a moment to acknowledge the historic agreement reached today, we know that the work to shape a more sustainable future continues. 


Aaron Kinnari

Co-founder and Senior Advisor

A New York native with a background in business and politics, Aaron loves the opportunity to trade a business suit for a swimsuit and jump in the ocean when traveling.

New York, United States

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