“Now it’s about the end of the fossil age – that’s real progress”

Statement by MCC Director Ottmar Edenhofer at the conclusion of the world climate conference. “Important point of reference, the EU with its Green Deal can be encouraged.”

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Done: after a long night of negotiations, in its final session, COP28 decides to initiate a transition away from coal, oil and gas. | Photo: COP28/Pike


The COP28 world climate conference in Dubai ended today with a decision to “transition away” from the climate-damaging energy sources of coal, oil and gas. The roughly 200 signatory states to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are being called upon to take action. Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Berlin-based climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, comments:

“It is clear from the COP28 summary document, accepted by all states, that under the impact of the advancing climate crisis, there is now no more business-as-usual for the global economy. Now it’s about the end of the fossil fuel age – that is real progress. The call to action to move away from coal, oil and gas with the aim of achieving greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050 is an important point of reference for governments around the world. The EU member states with their major climate protection plan – the European Green Deal – should be encouraged to stay the course, as should the USA with its Inflation Reduction Act.”

“In certain sectors, such as the chemical industry, we will still need oil and gas in 2050 – according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we will by then only be able to forgo 67 and 90 percent of these, respectively. To compensate for this, CO2 must be removed from the atmosphere and stored underground. It is good that the COP summary document makes it clear that these processes should be used for sectors with emissions that are difficult to avoid, and not for a general ‘business-as-usual’ approach.”

“The COP’s statements on tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030, and on financial aid to compensate for climate damage and climate change adaptation, are also positive. Overall, the governments of the rich industrialised countries must provide extensive support to the Global South for the climate transition to succeed. To convey this politically, they will have to communicate clearly that doing nothing would be much more expensive. As early as 2030, the emission of one tonne of CO2 will cause around 400 euros in climate damage.”

“To rapidly reduce the consumption of fossil fuels worldwide, we need credible announcements on continuous increases in carbon pricing and, at the same time, on financial compensation for the population and the economy. Carbon pricing must become more widespread and internationally linked. Climate tariffs, as announced by the EU, and a climate club, as initiated by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the context of the G7 states, can help to ensure that the end of the fossil fuel age proclaimed by the COP can actually be heralded.”

Further information:
The summary document of the world climate conference COP28 can be found here: