With Dubai as the host, COP 28 promises to be a unique platform where innovation, collaboration, and commitment intersect to pave the way for a sustainable and resilient future. Against the backdrop of the dynamic cityscape, leaders from around the world converge to address pressing environmental issues and set the stage for impactful climate action.
What is COP?
COP, otherwise known as the Conference of the Parties, is the United Nations’ international meeting on climate change. Member countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, convene every year to set goals, keep tabs on the current climate problem, and determine progress by reviewing the “national communications and emission inventories submitted by Parties” (UNFCCC), which they will use to assess the effects of the measures taken and the progress made in stopping the effects of climate change. The first COP was held in 1995 in Berlin, and last year’s COP (COP 27) was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. COP 28 is planned to be held in Dubai, UAE and will take place from November 30 until December 12.
What are we hoping to see from this year’s COP?
Finance, technology and innovation, and inclusion are all themes of this year’s COP.
Finance will encompass topics such as food and water security, “the mobilization of financial resources'' and COP 27’s loss and damage fund, which aims to help vulnerable communities rebuild after climate disasters. The combined mitigation and adaptation finance flows in 2020 fell more than $17 billion short from the promised $100 billion. According to the UN Environment Programme’s 2022 Adaptation Gap Report, adapting to the climate crisis could cost developing countries $160-$340 billion annually by 2030, with the possibility of it rising to $565 billion by 2050 if climate change accelerates.
Last year’s COP left many key questions unanswered, and we’re hoping to see this fund get operationalized at COP 28.
When it comes to technology and innovation, this year’s COP will feature the first global stocktake, which will give a worldwide assessment of progress on climate change since the Paris Agreement (an international treaty on climate change signed at COP 21), and will be dedicating time towards advanced technologies shaping the future of climate.
This year’s COP is also focused on inclusion, and bringing all voices to the conversation, such as youth and Indigenous peoples, when it comes to finding solutions to achieve progress across the climate agenda.
Fossil fuel phase-out is likely to receive some attention this year after COP 27 pushed for COP 26’s phase-down for coal (which hopes to end all power generation by coal usage) to include all fossil fuels. Another topic this year will be the utilization of nature based solutions and the advancement of the role nature plays in combating climate change.
Every year the hosting country appoints a president to oversee the COP and work with and develop relationships with other country’s delegations.
This year Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber will be the president-designate for COP 28. He has participated in over 11 COPs, is the Chairman of Masdar (Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy initiative), and is the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the UAE. There has been some controversy and raised concerns over Al Jaber’s role as the CEO of a national oil company (ADNOC) in the fossil fuel industry, and the influence of fossil fuel lobbyists in general.
Other players from the UAE are H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui, the youth climate champion, H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, the UN climate change high-level champion, and H.E. Mariam Almheiri, the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
How to follow updates online
Though the deadline to submit your application for COP 28 admission has already passed, you can still get updates on this year’s COP from ECO (by the Climate Action Network), ENB (by the International Institute for Sustainable Development), and TWN (the Third World Network), all of which provide daily web coverage and reports on COP 28.