COP28 Dubai, United Arab Emirates | 30 November to 12 December 2023

2023 has already been declared the hottest year on record. One thing is clear: we need to step up our ambition in the fight against the climate crisis and make groundbreaking decisions now.

The agreement

The preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) were characterised by great expectations and COP28's hard-won final agreement does give cause for optimism despite not insignificant loopholes. For the first time, the global community has been able to agree to transition away from fossil fuels while also making a commitment to the importance of equity and justice in the process – no small feat for a COP chaired by the head of an oil company.

The parties also agreed to redouble efforts to increase energy efficiency and the framework for the Loss and Damage fund finalised on the first day of negotiations was also a welcome boost for climate justice. All of these steps present an important basis for future negotiations.

A reality check

The review of commitments to date, known as the global stocktake, however, shows that the current reduction pathway is not in compliance with the 1.5° target. On the contrary, emissions are rising to record levels worldwide despite the massive expansion of renewable energies and a real shift away from fossil fuels is unfortunately still not in sight.

The local level

So there remains much hope in the power of the local level to fight the climate crisis and Climate Alliance was onsite to make the needs of its members heard within the framework of various activities. The main focus was on strengthening the role of municipalities, championing multi-level governance in climate action and the raising awareness on the need for sufficient funding at the local and regional level.

In this sense, COP28 in Dubai has indeed brought greater visibility to municipalities and their role in climate action: hundreds of mayors from all over the world renewed their commitment to ambitious climate action and there was the second exchange between ministers and mayors from different countries. This is as it should be for ultimately, success will require the commitment of all sectors and levels of government.