Annually, nearly 200 countries convene to determine the global strategy for addressing climate change during the COP (Conference of the Parties) sessions. The term “parties” refers to nations that endorsed the original UN climate treaty (UNFCCC) in 1992 to prevent “dangerous interference” with the climate.
COP28 is currently being held at Dubai’s Expo City from yesterday, November 30th until December 12th, with the possibility of extending by a day. The ceremonial opening took place on November 30th with speeches from the Presidents of both COP27 and 28. Today will feature speeches from world leaders, including Rishi Sunak and King Charles. King Charles will deliver the summit’s opening address, marking his first significant climate speech since ascending to the throne.
The United Arab Emirates hosts COP28 on behalf of Asia, as the presidency rotates among the five UN regions. Dubai’s selection as the venue has sparked controversy due to the UAE’s status as one of the top 10 oil-producing nations globally. Sultan al Jaber, CEO of the national oil company, ADNOC, heads the talks, a move criticised for potential conflicts of interest.
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Over 160 world leaders, including Rishi Sunak and King Charles, are expected to attend, along with figures such as Bill Gates, activist Vanessa Nakate and around 70,000 participants, surpassing the attendance at COP26 in Glasgow. The invitation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has stirred outcry, highlighting concerns over human rights and environmental abuses.
Although leaders of the world’s major emitters, US President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping, are absent, their climate envoys, John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua, will participate. COP holds immense importance as countries negotiate the future of the planet, given the current trajectory leading to unprecedented warming.
Discussions at COP28 will focus on the Global Stocktake to realign the world toward lower warming levels. Negotiations will also cover financial contributions from developed nations to aid less affluent countries in mitigating climate change or adapting to its impacts. Renewable energy goals, such as tripling capacity by 2030, gain support this year, presenting a less contentious alternative to fossil fuel abandonment.
Last year’s COP27 success, the establishment of a fund for losses and damages from climate change, faces challenges in implementation. However, on the first day of COP28 the delegates have agreed that this fund can indeed be implemented.The fund will channel money to countries hit badly by climate-related disasters. The UK has committed to sending £60m ($76m) to the loss and damage fund. The US has committed £13.83m ($17.5m) towards the fund and COP28’s host country, UAE, has pledged £79m ($100m).
You can also sign up here for our online roundtable event discussing the outcomes of COP28 and their impact on the renewable energy sector.
This online event will take place on Wednesday 13th December, 12pm-1pm GMT