Climate and environment researcher, .
World leaders meet to discuss tackling climate change at a major UN summit in Dubai.
This comes after a year of severe weather events in which many climate records were broken.
What is COP28 and where will it be held?
It is the 28th annual United Nations climate meeting, where governments will discuss how to limit climate change and prepare for it in the future.
The summit will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from November 30 to December 12, 2023.
What do the letters COP stand for?
COP stands for “Conference of the Parties”, the “Parties” being the countries that signed the original UN climate agreement in 1992.
Why is holding the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai controversial?
The United Arab Emirates is considered one of the 10 largest oil producing countries in the world.
It appointed the CEO of the state-owned oil company, Sultan Al Jaber, as head of the COP28 talks.
Oil – like gas and coal – is a fossil fuel. These are the main causes of climate change because they release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide when burned for energy.
Al Jaber Oil Company plans to expand its production capacity.
Documents leaked to the BBC indicate that the UAE planned to use its role as host to conclude oil and gas deals.
Al Jaber has previously argued that he is uniquely well placed to push for action by the oil and gas industry, and that as head of Masdar Renewable Energy, he has also overseen the expansion of clean technologies such as wind and solar power.
What is the importance of the United Nations climate change conference COP28?
It is hoped that COP28 will help maintain the goal of limiting long-term global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This was agreed upon by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015.
According to the UN climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the 1.5°C target is necessary to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.
The long-term temperature rise is currently about 1.1°C or 1.2°C compared to pre-industrial times, the period before humans began burning fossil fuels on a large scale.
However, recent estimates suggest that the world is currently on track to warm by 2.4 to 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100, although exact numbers are uncertain.
As a result, the UN says the window of opportunity to keep the 1.5°C limit within reach is “rapidly narrowing”.
What will be discussed at COP 28?
In addition to progress towards achieving the current Paris goals, COP28 will focus on:
- Accelerating the transition to clean energy sources, in order to “cut” greenhouse gas emissions before 2030
- Getting money for climate action from richer countries to poorer countries, and working towards a new deal for developing countries
- Focus on nature and people
- Making Cup 28 the “most comprehensive” ever
There will also be days during which issues including health, finance, food and nature will be discussed.
Who will attend COP 28?
More than 200 governments were invited.
US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are not expected to attend, but the two countries will be represented.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will participate, and Buckingham Palace has confirmed that King Charles will also attend. He will deliver an opening address to delegates on 1 December.
Environmental charities, community conglomerates, think tanks, companies and religious groups are also participating.
Hundreds of delegates with links to fossil fuels will attend COP27 in 2022.
What are the potential sticking points at COP28?
There will likely be disagreements over the future of fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas, which are burned without technology to capture their emissions.
Al Jaber has called for a “gradual reduction” in its use, meaning a reduction over time, but not a complete end. However, the EU is expected to push for a complete “phase-out”.
Climate activists point out that agreements that reduce fossil fuel consumption allow some production to continue. They argue that there is no guarantee that emissions-capturing technology will work effectively on a large scale.
Money will also be an issue.
At the UN climate change conference COP27, a “loss and damage” fund for richer countries was agreed to pay money to poorer countries facing the effects of climate change.
But how exactly will this fund work? It’s still not clear. The United States, for example, has ruled out paying climate compensation for its historical emissions.
In 2009, developed countries pledged to give $100 billion annually, by 2020, to developing countries to help them reduce emissions and prepare for climate change.
This goal has not been achieved but is expected to be achieved in 2023.
Will COP28 make any difference?
Critics of previous climate conferences, including activist Greta Thunberg, accuse the summits of “greenwashing”: that is, countries and companies touting their climate credentials without making the necessary changes.
But as world leaders come together, summits offer the possibility of reaching global agreements that go beyond national measures.
For example, a maximum temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius, agreed in Paris during the COP21 environmental meeting of the Parties, has prompted “the adoption of near-global climate action,” according to the United Nations.