Sanctions Decisions Remain Undecided at New York Climate Action Summit

The Climate Action Summit, held in conjunction with the UN General Assembly, came to a close with a resounding call for a comprehensive agreement by 2024. However, it’s worth noting that no concrete sanctions decisions were reached during the summit. Furthermore, many leaders refrained from endorsing a draft proposal outlining the establishment of carbon pricing. Interestingly, several countries with the highest emissions, including China, Russia, the UK, and France, chose not to participate in the summit.

Throughout the summit, there was a prevalent consensus that economies have reached pivotal moments in their decarbonization efforts. This shift not only enhances competitiveness but also offers nations the prospect of achieving energy security, independence, and flexibility through the adoption of renewable energy sources and battery technologies. Notably, the glaring absence of leading nations responsible for global emissions marked a significant development at the summit. While many leaders concurred on the necessity of nations increasing their reliance on renewable energy sources, they also acknowledged the substantial influence wielded by the fossil fuel industry, which has impeded progress in phasing out coal, oil, and gas.

In a unified front, all heads of state addressing the summit—convened at the request of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres—emphasized the critical importance of phasing out fossil fuels. Leaders such as Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission; Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany; Gabriel Boric, President of Chile; Kausea Natano, Prime Minister of Tuvalu; David Kabua, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands; and others underscored the imperative need to put an end to the utilization of fossil fuels.

Leaders from several countries, including Chile and Colombia, drew attention to the detrimental influence of the fossil fuel sector on national policymaking and multilateral processes, including UN sessions. They highlighted the sector’s role in obstructing progress.

Sultan Al Jaber, President of COP28, who, alongside Secretary-General Guterres, delivered the closing remarks at the summit, affirmed that the latest Global Stocktake report confirmed the world’s deviation from the desired path. However, he stressed the urgency for countries to translate their commitments into actionable projects and collaborate in solidarity to pursue gigaton reductions, rather than competing against one another. Al Jaber also called upon countries to delineate their plans for decarbonizing heavy industries, renewing the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and making early commitments to the loss and damage fund.


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