COP28 Daily Digest: Everything You Need To Know in Food and Climate News – Reserve Day

5 Mins Read

Welcome to Day 13 of #COP28, the unintended last day. In Green Queen’s COP28 Daily Digest, our editorial team curates the must-reads, the must-bookmarks and the must-knows from around the interwebs to help you ‘skim the overwhelm’.


Folks we hope you have enjoyed our daily coverage – this is the last edition of the Digest as the United Nations has officially called time on COP28 with this statement: “The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) closed today with an agreement that signals the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era by laying the ground for a swift, just and equitable transition, underpinned by deep emissions cuts and scaled-up finance.

Headlines You Need To Know

GST NATIONS AGREE TO MOVE AWAY FROM FOSSIL FUELS: After negotiations went into overdraft and an extra day was needed to come to conclusions on the Global Stocktake (GST) text, leaders from nearly 200 countries finally came to a historic (if somewhat different than what was hoped for) agreement to transition away from fossil fuels at COP28.

While no mentions of a ‘phaseout’ were in sight, the GST urges countries to begin shifting from these fuels this decade and triple renewable energy sources by 2030, with a net-zero goal for 2050. It was hailed as “the beginning of the end of fossil fuels”, the first time the text mentions fossil fuels in COP’s near-30 year history.

Still, it was a huge compromise for everyone, and not all countries were happy. Plus, there’s no direct mention of any transition from meat and dairy production, despite a UN report extolling the benefits of alternative proteins last Friday. The text only mentions “attaining climate-resilient food and agricultural production and supply and distribution of food, as well as increasing sustainable and regenerative production and equitable access to adequate food and nutrition for all.”

Final Day Reactions

Anne Rasmussen, a Samoan delegate speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, highlighted the coalition’s displeasure, explaining that “we are a little confused about what just happened” and that they weren’t in the room when the decision was made. “This process has failed us,” she added.

Similarly, Madeleine Diouf Sarr, chair of the 47-nation-strong Least Developed Countries Group, said the GST outcome reflected the “very lowest possible ambition that we could accept rather than what we know”, with the text recognising the importance of climate change adaptation finance, but failing to “deliver a credible response to this challenge”. “Limiting warming to 1.5C is a matter of survival, and international cooperation remains key to ensuring it,” he said.

The delegate for the Vatican – speaking on behalf of the pope, who couldn’t attend after contracting bronchitis – expressed concern about the future generations as the response wasn’t fully aligned with the science. “It is important to give hope and secure a liveable common home for our children,” he said, concluding by quoting the pope: “What would induce anyone at this stage to hold on to power, only to be remembered for their inability to take action when they were able to do so?”

“The Earth is down, but not out.” This was the verdict of Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, climate and energy lead at the WWF and the president of COP20. He acknowledged that countries fell short of an agreement to phase out fossil fuels, but that the decision to transition away was key. “This outcome signals the beginning of the end for the fossil fuel era,” he said. “It is vital that countries work now to transform their energy systems and replace polluting fossil fuels with clean and cheaper renewable energy, such as wind and solar, at an unprecedented speed and scale.”

Former US vice-president Al Gore, who earlier said the conference was “on the verge of complete failure”, called the final decision an important milestone, but the “bare minimum”. “The influence of petrostates is still evident in the half measures and loopholes included in the final agreement,” he tweeted. “Whether this is a turning point that truly marks the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era depends on the actions that come next and the mobilization of finance required to achieve them.”

Ani Dasgupta, president of the World Resources Institute, called it a “historic outcome”, but added that mobilising climate finance for energy transition is now “a critical test”: “The climate summit in Azerbaijan next year must be one for the history books when the world finally shifts the scale of climate finance from billions to trillions.”

Anna Lerner Nesbitt, CEO of Climate Collective, wrote a list of the good and the bad from the final GST text. The good included a mention of transitioning away from fossil fuels and a specific 2050 deadline, while the bad entailed the exclusion of any phaseouts as well as weaker recommendations.

Writing for The Wire, Arun Kumar outlines how COP28 has once again safeguarded the interests of the rich: “The political will to take the drastic steps required is missing. The time for taking incremental steps is over. The fear that cutting consumption and production will reduce welfare for the elite and reduce employment is unfounded because these can be achieved by cutting social waste and inessential consumption.”

Nicholas Davies, associate sustainability and social value director at UK strategy consultants Lexington, shed light on the fashion industry. “As the COP28 closes, the fashion industry stands at a crossroads,” she wrote on LinkedIn. “To drive positive change at pace, industry transition plans must succeed. For that to happen policymakers must also take action. What’s clear is that ‘business-as-usual’ no longer fits.”

Andrew Deutz, managing director for global policy and conservation finance at The Nature Conservancy, called the GST text a “meaningful milestone on the path to a cleaner, fairer world” delivered at the 11th hour. He stressed the importance of not just reducing the supply of fossil fuels, but the demand as well. “With the Global Stocktake done, the next step of the Paris Agreement ‘ratchet mechanism’ is for countries to develop more ambitious national climate plans and policies by the 2025 deadline,” he said.

Other tidbits

Public-private sector collaboration to unlock climate finance: A new climate finance report by the World Economic Forum outlines the priorities for action and demonstrates how organisations from the philanthropy, private and public sectors can team up for a positive domino effect.

‘Vegan nazis’ out to kill humanity: Plant Based News co-founder Klaus Mitchell interviewed a pro-regenerative meat rancher Hunter Lovins, who went on frankly what is best described as a tirade against plant-based lifestyles, comparing vegans to Nazis who are out to kill humanity, and adding that we need to be eating more meat.

12-year-old Indian activist storms COP28: A plenary session was interrupted by 12-year-old climate activist Licypriya Kangujam, dubbed India’s Greta Thunberg, who held up a sign calling for an end to fossil fuels. While COP28 director-general Majid Al-Suwaidi called for a round of applause for her enthusiasm, she was detained and then kicked out of the conference.

A visual look at emissions: The Decarbonization Channel has produced a striking graphic showcasing how global carbon emissions have grown sixfold since 1950, and who is to blame for that.

Follow all our #COP28 coverage. Like what you’re reading? Share it!


  • Anay Mridul

    Anay is Green Queen's resident news reporter. Originally from India, he worked as a vegan food writer and editor in London, and is now travelling and reporting from across Asia. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, food tech, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford comma.

    View all posts

You might also like