The United Nations COP28 conference is taking place at a crucial time, after a year of record-breaking climate change events. From devastating wildfires in Greece and Canada to floods in Libya, the effects of climate change are being felt worldwide. Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather described global temperature data for September as “absolutely gobsmackingly bananas,” with last month’s temperature beating the previous record by over 0.5°C. The conference will bring together representatives from around 200 countries to discuss and agree on crucial climate actions. This article will provide an overview of COP28 and its significance.
COP, or the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, is the annual meeting where member countries come together to address climate change. Tens of thousands of delegates from around the world, including heads of states, government officials, and representatives from various sectors, attend the conference. The 21st session of COP resulted in the creation of the Paris Agreement, a global consensus to achieve three important goals: limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100, taking action on climate change and developing resilience, and aligning financing with low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.
COP28 is significant because it will include the first-ever Global Stocktake (GST), which will assess the world’s progress in achieving the goals set by the Paris Agreement. The GST will provide a report card on climate progress and determine if countries are on track or off track. While the details of the GST will be revealed during COP28, there is a growing sense of urgency for rapid climate action. The fact that the conference is being hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a major oil-producing country, has raised concerns about the agenda aligning with the host country’s plan to increase oil production. Environmental groups worry that this could result in weak results and make it challenging to achieve the 1.5°C target.
The appointment of Dr. Sultan al-Jaber, the managing director and CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), as the COP28 president-designate has also sparked controversy. Climate activists and civil society groups have raised concerns about a conflict of interest and potential restrictions on protesters. Despite these controversies, it is crucial to focus on the specific talking points of this year’s climate summit.
One of the key issues at COP28 is climate finance. Developed nations pledged to provide $100 billion annually to help developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change. However, this pledge has not been met, causing frustration among developing countries. At COP28, governments will discuss a fresh climate finance objective to replace the existing commitment. Progress on climate finance is essential for establishing trust and fulfilling commitments.
Another important topic is the concept of “loss and damage” compensation. This arrangement calls for rich nations to financially support poorer countries that have suffered the most from climate change. While it offers hope for low-income countries affected by climate-related disasters, there are still unanswered questions about how this compensation will be implemented.
In addition to these issues, discussions on the Green Climate Fund and loss and damage will also be prominent. The outcomes of these deliberations and pledges related to climate finance will have a significant impact on other areas of negotiation and the overall progress of climate actions.
COP28 is an opportunity for the international community to come together and address the urgent need for climate action. Despite the controversies surrounding the conference, it is essential to focus on the specific issues at hand and work towards meaningful solutions. The world is at a critical juncture, and COP28 will play a crucial role in determining the path forward in tackling climate change.