COP 28, why does it still matter?

30.11.2023 3 min read

The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) under the UNFCCC will convene in Dubai, UAE, from November 30th to December 12th, marking a critical juncture in global climate action. The conference is poised to tackle multifaceted challenges intertwined with pressing themes that demand immediate attention from nations worldwide.

In a Letter to Parties from Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate and managing director and group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the vision for COP 28 was laid out. This included the need to accelerate a transition that puts participating countries’ economies on the path toward a new low-carbon, high-growth, sustainable economic model in a way that is both transformational and just. To achieve this, four paradigm shifts were recognised as key areas of focus at this year’s conference:

  • Fast-tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030
  • Transforming climate finance, by delivering on old promises and setting the framework for a new deal on finance
  • Putting nature, people, lives and livelihoods at the heart of climate action
  • Mobilising the most inclusive COP ever

Emphasis was also placed on the commitments made in the Paris Agreement and nations were urged to revise and bolster their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, crucial to averting catastrophic climate impacts. As part of limiting this global temperature rise, each country must focus on a just transition whilst advocating for an inclusive approach to climate action. The concept of a ‘just transition’ underlines the need for low-carbon economies while addressing social disparities, particularly in vulnerable nations.

A key outcome of the COP 28 meeting regarding the energy transition is the development of systems and decarbonisation pathways in a manner consistent with the principles and provisions of the Paris Agreement. This however must be done in a just and equitable manner and should not be entirely focused on energy mitigation outcomes, instead focusing on other contributors such as nature-based solutions including afforestation, reforestation, and sustainable land management in sequestering carbon and mitigating climate risks while preserving biodiversity. To this end, COP28 will focus also on increasing and maintaining the adaptability and resilience of key sectors, from agriculture to infrastructure, with an emphasis on securing funding and implementing comprehensive strategies to shield communities from the intensifying repercussions of climate change.

Financial challenges also persist, with emerging and developing countries needing over USD 2.4 trillion annually by 2030 for climate action. COP 28 endeavours to bridge this financial gap through innovative funding mechanisms and increased support, crucial for developing nations’ climate efforts.

The conference places significant emphasis on technology transfers, aiming to facilitate the adoption of sustainable technologies globally. While awareness grows, societal engagement and behavioural changes essential for climate mitigation pose challenges, necessitating extensive education and collaborative efforts.

Inclusivity in decision-making stands out as a paramount focus at COP 28, with plans to collaborate with various groups, including women, indigenous peoples, youth, and faith-based organisations. Despite these aims, challenges persist in translating commitments into tangible actions on the ground, requiring political will, consensus, and unified commitment among nations with diverse priorities.

The success of COP 28 hinges not only on negotiations but also on transformative actions taken afterwards. It calls for unwavering commitment and collective determination to surmount barriers hindering global climate action. Overcoming the gap between promises and implementation remains pivotal for transitioning toward a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable world for current and future generations.

Key Contacts

Dr Xiangyu Sheng Director - Air Quality, Climate & Carbon
Harry Porter
Temple