COP 28 in Dubai: A symbol of the cynicism of the bourgeoisie

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The 28th annual United Nations climate conference, held in Dubai at the end of November 2023, ended after two weeks of meetings with a new agreement that supposedly urges countries to (very) gradually phase out fossil fuels, accelerate "ongoing actions" to achieve "carbon neutrality". And all this in a "fair, orderly and equitable" way ... by 2050. Après moi, le déluge! – capitalism’s cynical catchphrase.

The President of COP 28, Sultan Al Jaber, who is Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology in the United Arab Emirates and CEO of the oil company ADNOC, praised the agreement, which was approved by delegations from nearly 200 countries. "For the first time, our agreement makes reference to fossil fuels", he said. According to him, it is a "historic package" of measures that provides a "solid plan" for keeping within reach the goal of limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

What a grim farce! While world leaders have hailed the agreement as an important step towards ending the use of fossil fuels, experts are critical, to say the least: the resolution contains very helpful loopholes that offer the oil industry many ways out, relying on unproven and unsafe technologies. It would be naïve to expect anything else from the summit organisers. The leaders of this region of the Middle East, known as the Eldorado for all mafias and the massive laundering of money from drugs, arms and anything else you can think of[1], are, like their counterparts the world over, well versed in petty arrangements and the exploitation of "legal limitations". While they present themselves as the promoters of the energy transition, concerned about the climate, they live off fossil fuels and obviously never stop promoting them.

The assessment of each state's progress in reducing emissions imposed since the supposedly binding COP 21 in Paris in 2015 to limit the increase in global temperature by 2030, comes up against the depressing reality of the capitalist system. Today, fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil) still account for 82% of total energy supplies! Instead of falling, global emissions are rising: by 6% in 2021 and by 0.9% in 2022.[2]

This demonstrates once again that these international summits are incapable of having the slightest impact on global warming and its catastrophic consequences for humanity, and that they are in fact nothing more than talking shops designed to reassure people that "something is being done" and that there is no longer any option but to get used to it. The year 2023 illustrates this dramatically, with violent storms and widespread flooding from China to Europe and North Africa, devastating forest fires in North America, southern Europe and Hawaii, and drought in large parts of North America, Europe and Africa.

"Not only is global warming real, it is accelerating at a dizzying and catastrophic rate. July 2023 was the hottest month on record for the planet. The month of August has seen the hottest day on record ever for this period. Forecasters are predicting that 2024 could well exceed these woeful records.”[3] Fears are growing that the planet is approaching a series of "tipping points" where environmental damage will spiral out of control and lead to new levels of destruction.

Global warming, combined with more direct manifestations of environmental destruction such as deforestation and the pollution of land and sea by chemical, plastic and other wastes, is already threatening countless animal and plant species with extinction.

The same bourgeoisie that claims, at these conferences, to be looking for "global solutions to global problems" is itself involved in ruthless economic competition that is the first major obstacle to any real international cooperation against climate change. And in capitalism’s phase of decomposition, national competition is increasingly taking the form of chaotic, destructive and hyper-polluting rivalries and military confrontations. The ecological crisis is therefore not just approaching a series of 'tipping points' that will exacerbate and accelerate its consequences, but is part of a series of interacting phenomena that are leading humanity ever more rapidly towards the abyss.

Saving the planet and humanity will not come from a bourgeoisie which, by its very nature, is trapped in a logic that rules out any questioning of capitalist accumulation, its thirst for profit and its apocalyptic dynamic. For it is capitalism that is responsible for these disturbances; it is its laws that force every capitalist to produce more and more at lower cost. In capitalism, everything has to be sold. And that's all there is to it! An anarchic, short-term approach. In fact, it's suicidal!


Louis, 29 December 2023


[1] As revealed by the Panama Papers in 2018, the Pandora Papers in 2021 and most recently by Dubai Uncovered.

[2] See the report: CO2 Emission in 2022

[3] Read our article "The bourgeoisie is unable to stem the tide of climate change ", World Revolution no. 398 (Autumn 2023).


Ecological crisis