Cop 28’s historic agreement

It was a historic breakthrough on Wednesday when Cop 28 in Dubai reached an unprecedented agreement on reducing fossil fuel use. After more than three hundred hours of negotiations and bargaining, the final declaration of the 28th edition of the Climate Change Conference was read in less than a minute by the presiding officer Al Jaber, provoking a long applause from the plenary assembly. For the first time in 28 years in the final document of a COP, there was an explicit and formal commitment to move away from fossil fuels-such as coal, gas and oil-whose use as energy sources causes the emission of greenhouse gasses, among the main contributors to global warming. There are thirty-four words in the final text of the summit, and each of them has its own specific weight. In fact, as many point out, the original text does not speak of a “phase out” albeit gradual from fossil fuels, as called for by more than a hundred nations, but of a “transitioning away” from polluting energy sources. The wording is perhaps less clear-cut than hoped for, but there is no doubt that this is a victory in its own right, the result of a compromise among states with very different goals, priorities and values. Furthermore, it was the United Arab Emirates, one of the so-called Petro-monarchies, for whom the issue of fossil fuels is naturally more than central, that hosted and led Cop28. Also aware of the success achieved and claiming it with some pride is Al Jaber himself, who commented: “We should be proud of this historic achievement: we have screwed the world in the right direction”. What seems certain, in fact, is that these thirty-four words, although not binding, have immense political value and the potential to change the course of human civilization, representing unprecedented political and social capital at the disposal of whoever will be able to harness it.

International appointments also continued with the European Council in Brussels on Thursday ending the day’s work in a somewhat unexpected way by announcing the start of accession negotiations with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova and the granting of candidate status to Georgia. Giorgia Meloni’s comments on the decision also came in, claiming Italy’s role in reaching the agreement and overcoming the veto by Hungarian Prime Minister Orban. “This is a result of significant value for the European Union and Italy, which came at the end of a complex negotiation in which our nation played a leading role in actively supporting both the countries of the Eastern Trio and Bosnia-Herzegovina and the countries of the Western Balkans”, Palazzo Chigi wrote in fact. Meanwhile, talks have resumed on the other major item on the agenda, which is no less complex: the revision of the Union’s financial framework where Italy is pushing for increased funds for immigration and industry. A goal that will certainly not be easy to achieve but on which Meloni does not want to give in.

Difficulty also arose on the domestic front, where the Meloni government had to revise its position on the Budget Law. If initially the Prime Minister had imposed on the parties supporting her majority not to submit amendments to the maneuver for its speedy approval, it was then decided that, in addition to the amendments submitted in the meantime by the government, the rapporteurs could also submit some. A small negotiating victory for the Lega and FI that, however, does not seem to end internal tensions in the majority over the measure’s approval. In fact, what is causing turmoil is the discussion regarding the possible extension to the “Superbonus” measure: asked for with determination by FI and also supported by FdI senator Guido Liris, relator of the measure, the hypothesis was firmly rejected by Economy Minister Giorgetti. All this while the “time” factor presses on a law that needs to be approved by both Chambers of parliament by December 31. Indeed, the Senate had planned to vote on the measure between Dec. 18 and 19 and then send it to the Chamber. However, the stalemate caused by amendments has generated a longer timeline: the Senate floor is now expected to vote on the measure on Dec. 22. As a result, the Chamber will be forced to debate and approve the measure between Dec. 29 and 30, hoping not to delay it any longer and thus enter the so-called “provisional exercise” the exceptional regime whereby the government is not authorized to adopt the budget changes provided for in the Budget Measure, but must limit itself to managing day-to-day operations.