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Biden says COP28 reached ‘historic milestone’ after Al Gore deems negotiations on verge of ‘complete failure’

As the COP28 summit in Dubai wrapped up this week, and President Biden and former Vice President Al Gore offered different assessments of the outcome.

President Biden and former Vice President Al Gore appear to have offered vastly different assessments of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP28 summit, that ended Wednesday with world leaders agreeing to move away from fossil fuels.

The president heralded the commitment as "another historic milestone." 

"While there is still substantial work ahead of us to keep the 1.5 degrees C [Celsius or 2.7 Fahrenheit] goal within reach, today’s outcome puts us one significant step closer," Biden said in a statement

He deemed the climate crisis "the existential threat of our time," but was confident America would turn this crisis into an opportunity that creates clean energy jobs, revitalizes communities, and improves the quality of life. 

But Gore has made a more somber assessment. On Monday, he lamented in a post on X that COP28 was "on the verge of complete failure." 

"The world desperately needs to phase out fossil fuels as quickly as possible, but this obsequious draft reads as if OPEC dictated it word for word," Gore posted, arguing that it puts "Petrostates" in the driver’s seat. 

"In order to prevent COP28 from being the most embarrassing and dismal failure in 28 years of international climate negotiations, the final text must include clear language on phasing out fossil fuels," Gore added. 


On Wednesday, nearly 200 countries present at COP28 agreed for the first time to move away from planet-warming fossil fuels, though many warned of significant shortcomings in the agreement.

The agreement was approved without the floor fight many feared and is stronger than a draft floated earlier in the week that angered several nations. But it didn't call for an outright phasing out of oil, gas, and coal, and it gives nations significant wiggle room in their "transition" away from those fuels.

Gore called the decision to link the climate crisis to the fossil fuel crisis an "important milestone," even if "it is also the bare minimum we need." 

"The influence of petrostates is still evident in the half measures and loopholes included in the final agreement," Gore said. 

The document is the central part of the 2015 Paris accord and its internationally agreed-upon goal to try to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius [2.7 Fahrenheit] above pre-industrial times. The goal is mentioned 13 times in the document. 

The deal says that the transition would be done in a way that gets the world to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions — where emissions entering the atmosphere are balanced by those removed — in 2050, and carbon pollution to peak by the year 2025, but gives wiggle room to individual nations like China to peak later.


It was the third version presented in about two weeks and the word "oil" does not appear anywhere in the 21-page document. "Fossil fuels" appears twice.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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