COP28 faces the challenge of deciding on urgent climate actions, while speculation over the conference president casts doubt on the outcome
Source & Copyright by COP28
Author: House of Eden
- The 30th UN Climate Change Conference (COP12) will be held in Dubai from November 2023th to December 28th
- It is crucial that the conference urgently adopts additional and stricter climate protection measures in order to achieve the predefined goals
- The fact that the president of the conference is also the CEO of an oil company gives rise to speculation and raises public doubts about the expected results of COP28
From November 30th to December 12th, the global community will gather in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, for the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28. President Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan's invitation to all heads of state and government illustrates the urgency of the issue. The conference will be chaired by Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chairman of the national oil company Adnoc. His role sparked concerns among environmentalists about possible misintentions. The upcoming COP28 marks a crucial moment for the world as it must work together to address the climate crisis. The focus is on measuring progress in months rather than decades.
What is the COP?
The COP, or Conference of the Parties, is an annual meeting at which all UN member states come together to jointly develop a plan for climate action. The first COP was held in Berlin in 1995, while the most recent event took place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, last year. The origin of the conference lies in the effort to curb climate change.
This goal will be pursued through discussions and assessments of progress in combating climate change and through the creation of climate action plans that are consistent with UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) guidelines.
The UN member states send their representatives to these negotiations. In addition to the official delegations, observer organizations, industry representatives and lobbyists take part. Within the UN system, all countries, regardless of their size or power, have equal voting rights. Decisions can only be made through the consensus of all contracting parties and unanimous consent.
Decisions from past COPs
Over the years, the COP has gained increasing importance and attention. Numerous significant decisions have been made and actions taken to make progress in mitigating the climate situation. Two outstanding milestones in this process were the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the Paris Agreement of 2015.
At the 3rd COP in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, legally binding targets and deadlines for greenhouse gas emission ceilings for industrialized nations were set for the first time. Strategies and measures were documented as part of the Kyoto Protocol. At the 18th COP in 2012, the protocol was extended for another eight years until 2020.
The best-known conference of the contracting parties was COP21, which took place in Paris in 2015 and marked the birth of the Paris Agreement. The focus of this agreement was the commitment of each country to track and report on environmental efforts and assess progress every five years as part of a global inventory. A crucial aspect was the agreement to limit global temperature rise to 2°C. At COP26 in 2021, this limit was lowered to 1,5°C as it was given even greater importance.
Last year's COP27 noted that the 1,5°C target is not yet achievable with current measures. In order to sufficiently reduce emissions, heads of state and government and their organizations must take additional, urgent measures to reduce and eliminate emissions.
Why is COP28 important?
After the crucial details of the Paris Climate Agreement were negotiated and agreed upon over the past few years, COP28 is now moving into the focus of implementing this agreement and increasing ambition and action.
Current scientific findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change make it clear that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 2030 by 43% compared to 2019 levels. This reduction is crucial to limiting temperature rise to 1,5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century and preventing the most serious impacts of climate change.
COP28 is an opportunity to develop global solutions to limit global temperature rise to 1,5 degrees. It is intended to help countries advance their preparations for the revised and more ambitious national climate plans due by 2025, accelerate the green transition that is already underway and ultimately successfully implement the goals of the Paris Agreement.
What can be expected from COP28?
The upcoming COP28 offers the world an opportunity to advance global progress on climate action and growth.
The number of participants at the upcoming conference in Dubai is expected to be around 70.000. This diverse spectrum includes heads of state and government from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, business leaders, climate scientists, indigenous peoples, journalists and other experts and stakeholders. Even Pope Francis is expected. What is new is that stakeholders such as emissions-intensive sectors and private companies from the oil and gas sector will be included in the conference for the first time.
The main goal of this year's COP28 is to agree on concrete measures to curb climate change. Discussions at the conference need to move forward in several areas of work. This includes developing loss and damage financing details to help vulnerable communities address immediate climate impacts. A global financing target should also be pushed forward to finance the efforts of developing countries to deal with climate change. Other priorities include accelerating the energy transition and a just transition, closing the emissions gap and other relevant topics. COP28 will also focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives. These initiatives are divided into four subgroups: health, water, food and nature.
The first global inventory
Particular attention is paid to the first global inventory initiated by the Paris Agreement. This is a report that provides a comprehensive assessment of progress since the entry into force of the Paris Agreement. This two-year process is scheduled to take place every five years and began for the first time in 2022.
The first complete inventory will now be evaluated at COP28. At the same time, the aim is to carry out the next one in 2028. The aim of this premiere is to document and evaluate the progress since the Paris Agreement. The results, published back in October 2023, indicate that the world is not yet on the desired path. This gives rise to UN member states to negotiate their reactions to these results and discuss necessary adjustments at COP28.
Could this year's president 'sabotage' COP28?
Each year for the Conference of the Parties (COP), a President is appointed by the host country - a representative of the country who chairs the conference. This year, the United Arab Emirates chose Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of the national oil company Adnoc. There is speculation that there may be a conflict of interest with him as president.
At COP27 in 2022, the focus of negotiations was on the concrete implementation of the coal, gas and oil phase-out, as agreed in the Glasgow climate pact. In the final declaration, the participating states agreed to create a common fund to deal with climate-related damage. At the same time, they have reaffirmed their decision to gradually phase out coal. Together they have committed themselves to pursuing the goal of limiting global warming to 1,5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times.
It will become clear in the coming weeks whether the goal will continue to be pursued with full commitment in this year's constellation.