What to expect at COP28 in Dubai

Written by
February 22, 2024
4 min read

As the world gears up for the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the anticipation is palpable. Following the momentum set by previous climate conferences, COP28 holds the promise of critical discussions and decisions that will shape the global response to the climate crisis. In this blog, we will explore; 

  1. What is COP? 
  2. What took place at COP27 last year  
  3. The key themes and expectations for COP28
  4. What has been achieved so far 

What is COP and the UNFCCC? 

COP stands for "Conference of the Parties." It refers to the meetings of the member countries (Parties) that are signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC is an international treaty adopted in 1992 with the goal of addressing climate change and its impacts. The COP meetings are the supreme decision-making bodies of the UNFCCC. 

The COP meetings are held annually around November and provide a platform for countries to come together to discuss and negotiate climate-related issues, share information on their progress in dealing with climate change, and make collective decisions on international climate policy. These conferences play a crucial role in shaping the global response to climate change.

The most well-known COP meeting is COP21, held in Paris in 2015, where the Paris Agreement was adopted. The Paris Agreement is a landmark international accord that aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It was adopted by 196 parties and forms the basis for many climate change policies that have been adopted by businesses and organisations in the last 8 years. 

What happened at COP27?

The 5 main takeaways of COP27 were:

  1. The establishment of a dedicated fund for loss and damage
    This was created to provide funding for vulnerable countries in the wake of natural disasters fueled by climate change, such as flooding and drought. 
  2. Keeping the 1.5-degree Paris Agreement within reach 
    A reaffirmation that the agreement of COP21 should be at the forefront of everyone's minds as the world is currently of course to keep warming below 1.5°C. 
  3. More accountability for businesses and institutions 
    Ensuring that net zero claims and carbon offset commitments are not just marketing schemes or greenwashing. Instead, there will be a focus on accountability for businesses and institutions to act on their public claims, with zero tolerance for greenwashing. 
  4. 1st world countries challenged to pay more monies to developing countries 
    Money is necessary to combat climate change and developing countries cannot afford to adopt any new climate technology to deal with climate change and the disasters it brings. COP27 suggested a new pathway which would create money flow towards climate resilience development. 
  5. Implementation of the energy transition 
    Fossil fuels need to be phased out in order to reach the Paris Agreement Goal, and COP27 called for the transition from finite energy to renewable energy to be accelerated. 

What should we expect to see at COP28? 

This year's climate conference is taking place between the 30th of November and the 12th of December. It is likely it will build on the ideas brought forward at COP27, clarifying what they mean and developing them further. 

COP28 is set to focus on 3 fundamental areas: 

  1. Accelerating the shift towards sustainable energy and reducing emissions significantly by 2030
    This is a part of the Global Stocktake and allows for signatories and stakeholders to engage in discussions regarding their joint advancements in aligning with the Paris Agreement. Areas where insufficient progress has been made will be identified and new plans will be set to meet the targets set at COP21. 
  2. Transforming climate finance by fulfilling previous commitments and establishing the groundwork for a fresh financial agreement
    Many of the funds committed to more vulnerable countries have not been fulfilled, as such a call for an increase in funding will be made. 
  3. Prioritising nature, individuals, lives, and livelihoods as the core focus of climate initiatives
    The critical details of the ‘loss and damage fund’ created in COP27 will be ironed out to help countries rebuild in the wake of severe weather events. 

One week in, what has been achieved?

Our co-founder and CEO, Greg Gormley, has been out in Dubai watching COP28 unfold.

The most important draft agreement that has been made so far is the reduction of fossil fuels. The document, which will have been agreed to by almost 200 countries by the end of the summit, calls for a reduction in fossil fuels. This is to be done in a manner which allows net zero to be achieved by 2050. However, the draft of this agreement created controversy due to the choice of language used surrounding fossil fuels. There was a focus on actions that ‘could’ be taken to reduce fossil fuels, rather than a direct plan for climate action. 

As the summit draws to a close the draft agreement continues to be battled out as campaigners fear it is too watered down to make any radical change. 

As COP28 is underway the world waits to see how the leaders of our nations will approach the challenges posed by climate change. The outcomes of the conference will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of global climate action in the years to come. Stay tuned for updates and insights as we navigate this crucial moment in the fight against climate change.

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Written by
February 22, 2024
4 min read