COP28 into overtime following ‘disappointing’ draft Global Stocktake text – here’s what’s included

A new draft version of the COP28 text, revealed on Monday (11 December), sparked furor from small island states, the African Group and major economies including Germany. Nations have been unable to edit them into a compromise to close the summit on time. Here, edie assesses where the talks stand.

COP28 into overtime following ‘disappointing’ draft Global Stocktake text – here’s what’s included

Image: UNFCCC Flickr/ Kiara Worth

On Monday afternoon, the COP28 Presidency confirmed the latest iteration of the Global Stocktake text, which notably sidestepped any mention of either a phase-out or phase-down of fossil fuels. Language was also weakened across adaptation and several financial workstreams extended into 2024.

The finalised version of the text is expected to be released at approximately midday tomorrow (12 December) in Dubai.

While the climate summit kicked off with a significant win—the establishment of a Loss and Damage fund— the draft text has seemingly diluted the momentum of the summit.

Despite strides in areas such as climate mitigation, adaptation and financial support for nature and climate initiatives, the draft text lacks the necessary depth to expedite actionable measures.

Here, edie summarises what the draft document signifies for key agendas including phasing out of fossil fuels, climate adaptation, finance, loss and damage, and nature conservation.

Fossil fuel transition

The draft text acknowledges the importance of decreasing both the consumption and production of fossil fuels. However, it falls short by not emphasising the urgent necessity for immediate, decisive action on fossil fuels this decade.

The text states that nations should “reduce both consumption and production of fossil fuels, in a just, orderly and equitable manner so as to achieve net-zero by, before, or around 2050 in keeping with the science”.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s ‘Net-Zero Roadmap’ aligning with the 1.5C threshold, a 25% decrease in fossil fuel demand by 2030 is necessary, aiming to cut emissions by 35% compared to the peak levels observed in 2022.

Furthermore, the document doesn’t reference oil or gas at all, and the absence of stringent language makes the phase-out of unabated coal appear discretionary.

The preliminary text hints at ‘restrictions on allowing new and unabated coal power generation.’ Nonetheless, as per the IEA, it’s imperative to cease the development of all new unabated coal-fired power plants in this decade to maintain the viability of the 1.5C goal.

Research from Carbon Brief demonstrates that major countries including the US, Canada, the EU and the UK perceive the agenda to end support for new unabated coal power as a priority, while the African Group opposes the issue.

The draft text also lacks actionable plans for phasing out methane emissions. Instead, it suggests a global ‘substantial reduction’ in methane emissions by 2030 without outlining specific measures or strategies.

Though a fossil fuel phase-out stands as a critical demand within the green economy, world leaders have taken divergent stances. According to data from Carbon Brief, the majority of major countries, including the G7 nations, exhibit a lack of support for a comprehensive ‘phase-out of all fossil fuels. But there have been some strong advocates, including the High-Ambition Coalition and Alliance of Small Island States.

Last week, the Global Carbon Budget revealed that despite substantial progress in clean energy expansion, global emissions continue to rise, largely attributed to inadequate controls on the expansion of fossil fuels.

Other mitigation actions

There is a broad reference to the fact that mitigation efforts to date have increased exponentially but remain insufficient. The text notes the need for global emissions to peak in or before 2025 and fall at least 43% by 2030 against 2019 to give the best chance of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5C. This has been demoted from the preamble but is still included.

The text recalls previous agreements for developed countries to take the lead in terms of economy-wide reductions in emissions. But as for what they could and should do, the document has been described as presenting a “menu” rather than a concrete list of requirements.

Items on the list include trebling renewable energy; bringing unabated coal offline; accelerating energy efficiency improvements; accelerating nuclear and low-carbon hydrogen production. There are widespread concerns about the conflation of carbon capture with clean energy, as petrostates could interpret this as an alternative to a meaningful energy transition.

Food systems and natural systems are, to the disappointment of many, talked about mainly in terms of adaptation rather than mitigation. The COP28 Presidency had been calling on nations to add food systems to their NDCs, given that they account for around one-third of annual global human-caused emissions.


Countries “note with deep regret” that wealthy nations failed to jointly scale annual climate finance provisions to developing nations to $100bn by 2020. This pledge was first floated in 2009.

Initial OECD calculations published ahead of COP28 showed that the goal was likely to have been met in 2022, but the text states that, if that was not the case, this level of finance should be provided “urgently” and maintained through 2025.

There is no new collective qualified goal on climate finance. This will increase the $100bn goal and there may yet be an option for developed nations to explore back payments. Work on this goal “will conclude in 2024”.

As noted below, nations have agreed to work to rebalance finance flowing to mitigation vs adaptation. The former currently receives the lion’s share. This agreement is not binding.


The text has more than 100 mentions of adaptation. But after observers spoke this past weekend of “glacial” progress on an official adaptation framework, plus clear goals for scaling finance, wording remains weak.

Included in the text are “alarm and serious concern” over this year’s reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Scientists warned in these reports that human-caused climate change is already affecting every region, with adaptation needed in any warming pathway. Beyond the Paris Agreement’s temperature pathways, the IPCC warned of an ‘unliveable’ future for more than three billion people as they run up against hard limits to adaptation.

The text notes that adaptation finance needs to increase “many-fold” and repeatedly emphasizes this finance gap, stating that finance remains “highly insufficient to respond to worsening climate change impacts in developing country parties”. It also notes that most climate finance currently goes to mitigation and nations should strive to “achieve a balance”.

However, there is no new global goal on adaptation financing. There had been hopes for a pledge to double adaptation finance, backed by a roadmap, but this is now unlikely to come out of COP28. The Green Climate Fund and the newer Adaptation Fund are requested to provide more information, more often, including more detail on gaps in planning.

On this, nations are called upon to develop national adaptation plans and embed them in their Paris Agreement NDCs by 2025. These should be updated “periodically”.

The text notes that many developing nations have led the way in this regard and states that they will need international support to move to delivery from planning. This, it repeatedly states, is “intrinsically” linked to broader sustainable development efforts including those relating to cities, nature, land-use and water systems.

There is an emphasis placed on “near-term mitigation and adaptation actions” this decade. Planning must also begin in earnest for “accelerated” adaptation implementation in the decades to come, given the sheer “magnitude and rate of climate change”.

All in all, there is a lot of “recalling”, “emphasising”, “stressing”. These are weaker verbs than requesting, and there are few requirements or requests made of countries. Instead, most of the requests are aimed at parts of the UN, including a request for a new regular adaptation synthesis report.

Loss and damage

As COP28 opened, nations finally agreed to operationalize a new international loss and damage fund. The fund was agreed in principle at COP27 after U-turns from the likes of the EU and the US but operationalzation proved challenging with rows over aspects like who should pay in and who should benefit.

These debates finally wrapped up just at COP28 began, thanks to additional emergency talks in Abu Dhabi. This paved the way for nations to make initial commitments to the fund, which collectively are yet to reach the $1bn mark. The US offered a paltry $17.5m as it is wary of China being a beneficiary. Larger contributors include Germany ($100m) and the UAE ($100m).

There is little in today’s text about how the fund will work or any target for scaling funding.

One more, there is a “note with serious concern” of the IPCC’s reports this year, which highlight how losses and damages resulting from physical climate impacts will get exponentially worse with every fraction of a degree of warming. The reports highlight that this is not a future risk but a present one. Costs exceed $400bn annually already by some estimates.

The section on loss and damage notes that it is important to “avert” and “minimize” loss and damage in the first instance – especially concerning low-likelihood, high-impact events including the passing of climate tipping points. But it states that losses and damages are becoming more frequent and more costly.

Loss and damage responses should take into account local conflicts, human rights issues and gender inequality, the text states. But this is not a requirement, just something that is “stressed”.


The draft references the COP15 deal for nature. Last December at COP15, nations agreed on a Global Biodiversity Framework to halt land and water deterioration, restore 30% of degraded ecosystems by 2030 and secure new finance for nature recovery.

While the draft reaffirms the goal of halting and reversing deforestation by 2030 in the nature mitigation section, it lacks specific action plans.

Nevertheless, it highlights the role of forests in achieving Paris Agreement goals, referencing Article 5, which encourages nations to reduce deforestation, conserve forests, enhance carbon stocks and promote sustainable forest management in developing countries.

The draft also underscores the significance of integrated solutions like land-use management, sustainable agriculture, resilient food systems, nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches.

The emphasis is on a country-driven, gender-responsive, and participatory approach, integrating Indigenous and local knowledge with the best available science to enhance resilience and well-being while mitigating impacts and losses.

The latest draft also provides updates on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which focuses on the efforts that nations can pursue to deliver against the NDCs. The latest draft issues some key developments for carbon markets under Article 6.4.

The draft calls on nations to submit their views by February 2024 on tools, guidance, baselines and additionality as to how nations should interact with carbon markets. It notes the establishment of a Supervisory Body that would draw up these parameters in a bid to finally shape a functioning market. However, key developments and decisions on “emissions avoidance” measures and calculations have been moved back to 2028.

Sidhi Mittal & Sarah George

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Comments (2)

  1. Rob Heap says:

    Always the same mealy mouthed words, no commitment, no satisfactory targets and no plan of who does what by when?
    We read this lack of commitment in the Defra EIP23 (February 2023) and the apathy continues like a plague in those that we vote for and empower to protect the future of our planet for future generations of all species that lease a life here. These leases are time limited. We have no time to waste, so it is incumbent upon every human being on the planet to take immediate action to reduce our personal and corporate GHG emissions, FAST.
    We cannot afford to adopt a hands in pockets approach any longer, while we watch our politicians fail us.

  2. Richard Phillips says:

    Spot on, Rob, just another jolly.
    A lot of serious faces, nodding heads, we have all seen it. But how many of the attendees came from an understanding, scientific, background?

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