WORLD LEADERS gathered in Dubai to assess global progress in addressing the climate crisis and to propose solutions to help the world meet the collective long-term goals set forth in the Paris Agreement. A WCS delegation to COP28 was on the ground leading the call for a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels; a larger investment in nature to address the climate and biodiversity crises; and the recognition of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in all COP28 decisions and outcomes.
COP28 is Over—Time to Accelerate a Just and Equitable Transition Away from Fossil Fuels Toward a Healthy Future for Our Planet and Its People
“The countries of the world leave COP28 in Dubai with a consensus to transition away from fossil fuels, and in a world full of conflict, that is progress,” says WCS President and CEO Monica Medina. “This consensus may mark the beginning of the end of the road for fossil fuels. But we are gravely concerned that it does not take us far enough or fast enough to adequately address the climate crisis. We cannot and must not let up now. The world must accelerate a just transition away from fossil fuels without any further delay—pedal to the metal.”
“The ministers chose today to break from traditional silos and to pursue strategies that put nature at the heart of climate change responses,” says Joe Walston, Executive Vice President of WCS Global Conservation.
The Moskitia is one of Mesoamerica’s Five Great Forests and Central America’s second largest rainforest. The new initiative aims, in part, to put an end to deforestation and illegal cattle ranching in there.
Recognizing the importance of ecological integrity to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, including climate regulation, the Government of the Republic of Congo, represented by the Ministry of Forest Economy, and WCS have initiated a new program to attract investment in the conservation of high-integrity tropical forests.
“If COP28 commitments recognize the role of nature and affirm the rights of Indigenous Peoples in concrete terms, they will not only contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation but to the protection of the world’s biodiversity, the health of ecosystems, the delivery of support and ecosystem services, and lead to a more stable and equitable world. Otherwise all of us will lose.” —ICA, Pawanka Fund, WCS
“These landmark agreements for Ghana and Costa Rica represent decades of efforts by both countries to build national programs for reducing deforestation and restoring forests in ways that benefit communities, including through economic growth and job creation," said WCS's Joe Walston.
“This is about the health, wellbeing, and survival of millions of individuals across the globe," said WCS's Dr. Chris Walzer including Indigenous Peoples and traditional place-based communities disproportionately affected by the catastrophic effects of a warming planet."
"We commend the Brazilian government for assuming a pivotal leadership role in proposing an innovative solution to mobilize finance on the scale we need to protect tropical forests and protect them from degradation," said WCS President and CEO Monica Medina.
COP28 will be judged on whether it leads to: decarbonizing our economies more rapidly and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies; putting nature and conservation high on the agenda as a climate crisis solution; ensuring a just transition off fossil fuels and that all goals and agreements of COP28 are informed by Indigenous Peoples and local communities; and prioritizing equity by ensuring nations that have contributed least to the climate crisis receive the most in compensation.
WATCH: The WCS team addresses the importance of COP28; why nature matters in addressing the climate crisis; how COP28 can be just and effective; and what success will look like coming out of Dubai.
WCS Wild Audio
Assessing the Stakes of the UN Climate Conference
A Conversation with WCS President and CEO Monica Medina
WCS's delegation to COP28 is focused on issues essential to addressing the climate crisis that range from preserving ecological integrity to the empowerment of Indigenous Peoples. WCS President and CEO Monica Medina, who leads the delegation, spoke with WCS Wild Audio.
If we invest in nature as a climate change solution, says WCS Executive Vice President Joe Walston, we'll change the trajectory of the global climate but also help people and nature directly in a measurable way.
WCS in the Media
Nature Conservation Can Help Solve the Climate Crisis
Protecting nature as a vital part of climate crisis solution was the focus of WCS President and CEO Monica Medina's conversation with CBS News. At WCS, we are making sure nature-based solutions to the crisis are front and center and funded.
“This is about the health, wellbeing, and survival of millions of individuals across the globe,” said WCS's Dr. Chris Walzer, “including Indigenous Peoples and traditional place-based communities disproportionately affected by the catastrophic effects of a warming planet.”
The global community has set a goal of preserving thirty percent of our oceans by 2030. How will we reach that goal? And what’s at stake for ocean biodiversity if that target is missed? WCS's Monica Medina spoke to the Foreign Policy podcast, Global Reboot.
“Nature is central to our collective humanity, our various cultures, identity and futures as human beings,” WCS's Sushil Raj told Inside Climate News as part of a recent climate briefing. “Indigenous peoples and traditional communities reflect this most clearly through their ways of life, knowledge and belief systems.”
Indigenous land rights are key to conservation in Cambodia, write Sushil Raj, Emiel de Lange, and Yun Mane in Mongabay. “With commitment and support from governments at national, provincial, and local levels, this can be the foundation of a future where Indigenous communities and wildlife thrive together, while contributing to addressing the climate emergency across the globe.”
The destruction of nature is contributing to global temperature rise and biodiversity loss. The U.S. Foundation for International Conservation Act can help by ensuring the long-term success of conservation programs around the planet. If you're in the U.S., help move it forward by urging your senators to support it right away.