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The grand gala for the planet’s survival, the COP28 Climate summit in Dubai became a pantomime where fossil fuel lobbyists greenwashed their profit-driven motives to pull the strings of policy. Over 2400 lobbyists from fossil fuel giants congregated, shattering previous records to safeguard profit over planet.

The “UAE Consensus”, birthed from negotiations among delegates from nearly 200 countries, falls short in addressing the urgency of the climate crisis.

“Continuously, we take significant steps towards a carbon-neutral world, but the understanding of how urgent our situation is still hasn’t reached all decision-makers. The past year has been the warmest in recorded history, and yet, based on current decisions, we are still headed well beyond the safe warming limit”, says MEP Silvia Modig (Finland).

While the agreement calls for a shift “away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly and equitable manner,” the absence of robust demands to “phase out” fossil fuels reveals the summit’s shortcomings.

The agreement acknowledges the need to phase down “unabated” coal burning and pivot toward net-zero emissions by 2050 but lacks clarity on terms like ‘abatement’ – a glaring loophole that could prolong fossil fuel reliance. This ambiguity permits continued investments in fossil fuel infrastructure, diverting resources from sustainable power sources.

“We know that climate disruption is already irreversible. We are on a cataclysmic path towards three or four degrees of warming. 2023 is already the hottest year on record. But we let the lobbies make the rules. How long will we accept this?” says Left co-President Manon Aubry (France).

The influence of fossil fuel advocates in negotiating terms exemplifies the continued grip of profit-driven interests on global decision-making. This reveals a fundamental flaw: if world leaders keep big polluters at the negotiating table, genuine change remains elusive. A more democratic and radical approach to climate action is imperative.

“The foxes were given the keys to the henhouse while the kings of fossil energy presented themselves as saviors of the climate. In 2022, major oil and gas corporations raked in record profits of over €200 billion, and as long as they profit from fossil fuels, even a single cent, they will continue to obstruct climate protection”, says Left Co-President Martin Schirdewan (Germany).

It’s time for accountability: those who pollute the most must bear the responsibility and cost of their actions. The failure to decisively define a trajectory toward phasing out unabated use of fossil fuels highlights the dire need for a radical overhaul of our approach to climate policy.
COP28’s legacy must be a catalyst for transformative action. We need a paradigm shift that champions sustainability, equity, and a world where profit-driven agendas don’t outweigh the planet’s welfare. It’s not just about policies; it’s about our shared destiny – a world where the survival of humanity isn’t negotiable but an irrevocable commitment.

The road ahead demands bold steps: decarbonization, democratisation, and a rejection of the influence of vested interests.

“The solution cannot be found without simultaneously considering economic and social dimensions. Otherwise, mitigating the impacts of climate change might come at the expense of even greater inequalities among peoples and states”, Left MEP João Pimenta Lopes says.

Only by upending the status quo can we pave the way for a just, sustainable future. It’s time to ensure that those who’ve benefited most from environmental exploitation pay their dues and contribute to real change.

In the wake of COP28’s shortcomings, the cry for radical action sounds ever louder. We must collectively rally for a more equitable and determined stance, relegating the influence of lobbyists to the pages of history. The urgent need to tackle climate change demands not just rhetoric but an unwavering resolve to prioritise our planet over profits.

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