Press release

Paris Agreement is stronger today than it was yesterday – Ryan

13th December 2023
Eamon Ryan

Gavel comes down on COP28 text which includes language on fossil fuels for the first time.
Minister Eamon Ryan said that the Paris Agreement was stronger today than it was yesterday following agreement of the COP28 Presidency text on the global stock-take in Dubai.
The Minister for the Environment and Climate called the agreement historic because for the first time in nearly 30 years (since global conferences have been taking place) it contains language which addresses and acknowledges fossil fuel as the primary source of climate change.
“This is an historic agreement. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s a significant step forward for the world. It is not insignificant that for the first time in 30 years we have language in the COP text which points to and addresses fossil fuel as the primary source of climate breakdown. The Paris Agreement is in a better place than it was yesterday.”
“I know there will be discussion about the phrasing. However, transition away or phase out, the meaning and intent is the same in my view - the key thing is that the message today in Dubai is strong and united that we have to move away from fossil fuels. Now it is time to act and deliver on this.”
“This COP started very positively with agreement on loss and damage. While the first iteration of the text was unacceptable, I think we have landed in a good place, that the Presidency has listened to the concerns of the parties, and that the end of this 28th Conference of the Parties has also finished positively and with a clear message that the world is united.”
He welcomed that the text gives a clear signal to the global financial community that it is going to have to stop investing in fossil fuels and will have to switch to investing in new, clean renewable energy systems, particularly in the developing world.
Minister Ryan was a lead EU negotiator on climate finance, with his French energy counterpart Agnes Pannier Runacher along with Irish and French officials.
“The text is good with regard to building a new renewable and energy efficient future. It includes the ambition to triple renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030.”
“Critically, it talks about changing the entire financial architecture in the world to make that happen. This is game-changing. We will now have to deliver this and we will work on that over the coming year. I am proud of the hard work that the Irish team did on climate finance. This is the key to unlocking a vital shift in investment in polluting fossil fuels to new clean energy, particularly in the developing world.”

He echoed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who said that this COP had to achieve double ambition.
“This sets out a path for us to achieve the double ambition we need - to have the ambition to reduce harmful emissions and the ambition to ensure climate justice. It is imperative that we stitch climate justice into everything we do, otherwise we will have neither a fast nor a fair transition. It is a signal to us at home and to every single country in the world. We now know where we need to go to achieve a new, renewable efficient and more just future.”
Finally, he said that he was proud to be part of a strong EU team and of the work that Irish officials did throughout the two weeks of the COP. Ireland and Europe worked closely with the High Ambition Coalition of countries and the small island states throughout the conference. He acknowledged that AOSIS, the Association of Small Island States was not in the room when the gavel went down, however, they did not challenge the final decision.
He said that Ireland, which has always had a strong relationship with small island and developing states, would continue to work with them to advocate for climate justice, energy equity and to keep 1.5 alive.

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