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Biden Praises New COP28 Climate Agreement

Written by on December 14, 2023

President Joe Biden on Wednesday praised the deal signed at COP28, the U.N. climate summit in Dubai, as an important step toward reaching climate goals.

In a statement, Biden applauded the deal for “committing, for the first time, to transition away from the fossil fuels that jeopardize our planet and our people, agreeing to triple renewable energy globally by 2030, and more.”

The president noted, though, there still was “substantial work ahead of us to keep the 1.5 degree C goal within reach.” Scientists have said the world’s average temperature should not exceed that of preindustrial times by more than 1.5 degrees (2.7 degrees F) if the worst and potentially irreversible effects of climate change are to be avoided.

Delegates from nearly 200 countries agreed earlier in the day on the deal, following two weeks of negotiations. The plan takes aim at the main drivers of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, and more than 100 nations had pushed for even stronger language, seeking an explicit “phase-out” of fossil fuels.

The final agreement calls instead for “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade.”

In addition, the agreement calls for tripling renewable energy capacity by 2050 and accelerating technology such as carbon capture and storage.

“To those who opposed a clear reference to a phase-out of fossil fuels in the #COP28 text, I want to say that a fossil fuel phase-out is inevitable whether they like it or not,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on X. “Let’s hope it doesn’t come too late.”

Fossil fuels currently supply about 80% of the world’s energy, including two-thirds of electrical generation, according to the U.N. Environment Program.

Implementation of the agreement will be in the hands of individual countries and how they adapt their own policies and investments.


COP28 President Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, the United Arab Emirates’ special envoy for climate change, and John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, are pictured at the end of the COP28 U.N. Climate Summit, Dec. 13, 2023, in Dubai, UAE.


Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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