COP28 Conclusions, the 2024 U.S. Election, and the Global Climate Agenda

Sirena Lovato

On November 30th, 2023, the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP), to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began.[1] This decision-making forum, better known as the COP28, is where the world comes together, or tries to, and agrees on ways to address the climate crisis.[2] In our upcoming election, the United States needs to elect the president who will uphold the global decisions for climate change action.

COP 28 concluded the initial ‘global stocktake’ of worldwide initiatives to combat climate change, as per the Paris Agreement. In recent years, assessments revealed slow progress in various aspects of climate action, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, enhancement of resilience to climate change, and provision of financial and technological assistance to vulnerable nations. Countries made a collective decision for governments to speed up transition away from fossil fuels and to renewables in their next round of climate commitments.[3]

With this decision, the upcoming presidential election in the United States becomes even more important. The United States of America is the second greatest polluting country in the world in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. It emitted well over 6,000 megatons of carbon dioxide emitted in 2022 alone.[4] Despite this continuing pattern of emissions, we still lag behind other industrialized countries in progressive environmental policy. The Environmental Performance Index formulated from Yale University ranks the United States of America as 43rd for environmental performance, outperforming only Portugal and Canada in the global west.[5] Zachary Wendling, lead researcher for the Environmental Performance Index, summarizes this unfortunate convergence by saying, ‘the US is one of the top five players in every greenhouse gas, so we need to do better than just OK if we’re going to generate the best practices’.[6]

The US 2024 presidential election will likely feature former President Donald Trump as the Republican nominee and incumbent President Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee.[7] With wildly different environmental agendas between the two major candidates, the outcome from this election will either stall or promote the clean energy transition of the world’s second greatest polluter. On January 10th, 2024, Trump said he would be a “dictator” for energy independence on his first day in office, supposedly introducing executive orders to increase fossil fuel production. He emphasized this point by saying “We’re going to drill, baby, drill.”[8]

Increasing fossil fuel production is exactly opposite of the decisions made at the COP28. Going directly against this consensus not only slows the globe’s progress on climate change, but decreases trust and public sentiment across the world. At the end of Trump’s presidency, only 17% of nationally representative cohorts of 16,254 adults in the 16 economically advanced surveyed countries had confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing for global affairs.[9] This number improved to 75% with the election of Joe Biden, but it is reasonable to assume the low confidence will return if Trump is reelected and goes against the global agreement to switch to renewable energy sources.[10]

As you walk into the voting booth this year, I urge you to consider the critical impact your vote will have on the world’s environmental future. Electing a president who aligns with global decisions for climate change action, rather than one who undermines them, is essential for advancing the transition to renewable energy and mitigating the devastating effects of climate change. Let’s make our voices heard and choose leaders who prioritize the health of our planet for generations to come.

[1] Kiara Worth, “COP 28: What Was Achieved and What Happens Next?,”, accessed February 4, 2024,

[2] Leonardo Massai, “Dealing with ‘Consensus’ at the UN Climate Talks,” Climalia, November 11, 2019,

[3] Waskow, David, Jamal Srouji, Jennifer Layke, Nataniel Warszawski, Gabrielle Swaby, Preety Bhandari, Natalia Alayza, et al. “Unpacking COP28: Key Outcomes from the Dubai Climate Talks, and What Comes Next.” World Resources Institute, December 17, 2023.,efforts%2C%20and%20loss%20and%20damage.

[4] Laura Paddison and Annette Choi, “Which Countries Are Contributing the Most to Climate Change?,” CNN, January 2, 2024,

[5] “Environmental Performance Index,” EPI, accessed February 18, 2024,

[6] Emily Holden, “US Ranks 24th in the World on Environmental Performance,” The Guardian, June 4, 2020,

[7] “Who’s Running for President in 2024? The Republican and Democratic Candidates,” The Guardian, January 21, 2024,

[8] Cama, Timothy. “Energy, Environment on Back Burner as Trump Wins Iowa.” E&E News by POLITICO, January 23, 2024.

[9] Wike, Richard. “America’s Image Abroad Rebounds with Transition from Trump to Biden.” Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, June 10, 2021.

[10] Wike, Richard. “America’s Image Abroad Rebounds with Transition from Trump to Biden.” Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, June 10, 2021.

2 thoughts on “COP28 Conclusions, the 2024 U.S. Election, and the Global Climate Agenda

  1. Hey Siena, this is really interesting! One question I have for you is about Biden’s international climate policy– even though he has made great strides in domestic climate policy, the US is continuing to export LNG and other fossil fuels to other countries. I wonder how we can continue to hold Biden accountable for energy exports, and what the role of COP29 could be in this.

  2. This blog is really insightful! It’s often difficult to take global events like COP28 and translate them to smaller-scale action that we can take. Making sure we establish leaders that follow the findings of these forums is critical, especially when they’ll have a multi-year impact on climate policy. An interesting topic for someone to follow up on could be investigating Biden’s progress and seeing what more he could do, what’s been stopping him, and how we can make the necessary changes to make up for being the second greatest greenhouse gas polluting country.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.