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COP28 in Dubai: Unite. Act. Deliver

Laura Puttkamer

In Dubai, the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP), the world’s largest climate conference, is currently taking place.

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Signatory members of the Paris Agreement have until December 12th to find ways of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Read more about the important COP28 in Dubai here.

The COP28 in Dubai is taking place in the United Arab Emirates from 30 November until 12 December 2023. This annual climate change conference, hosted by the United Nations, is the world’s only multilateral decision-making forum on climate change. It has almost complete membership of all countries. This is where the world comes together every year to agree on ways to address the climate crisis. The most famous goal is to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as agreed at COP21 in Paris in December 2015. Four key topics include the transition to clean energy; the role of nature, people, lives and livelihoods; finance mechanisms; and improved inclusivity.

More than 70,000 delegates are attending the climate conferences, including member states or parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (NFDCCC), business representatives, climate scientists, Indigenous Peoples, young people, journalists, and other experts and stakeholders.

Taking stock: The world is not on track

COP28 in Dubai has the slogan “Unite. Act. Deliver”. Important topics include the finalisation of details for the loss and damage finance facility intended to help vulnerable communities deal with immediate climate impacts (an initial funding of 420 million USD has been promised so far); finding a global goal on finance to help fund the efforts of countries in the Global South in addressing climate change; accelerating an energy and a just transition; and closing the massive emissions gap that almost every country represented at COP28 in Dubai is facing.

The first-ever stocktake will conclude at COP28. This is a process for all countries and stakeholders to see progress and lack of progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Unsurprisingly, the global stocktake is showing that the world is not on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and that the window for meaningful change is closing. Governments are expected to take a decision to accelerate ambitions, which will be reflected in the next round of climate action plans due by 2025.

At the same time, the global stocktake is showing that there are countless tools and solutions to climate change challenges. So far, more than 100 nations have pledged to triple their use of renewable energy by 2030 at COP28, doubling energy efficiency by the same year.

Decisive action is necessary to meet the 1.5 degree Celsius climate goal. Image: IAEA at COP28 via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 DEED

We are only tackling a small share of the problem at the moment

Like in recent years, efforts to win an agreement on phasing out – or at least rapidly phasing down – the use of fossil fuels have been less successful. Considering that these fuels produce about 75% of climate-heating carbon emissions, it is crucial to tackle this issue. The president of COP28 in Dubai, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, has described calls to get rid of oil and gas as “alarmist”. He said that this would “take the world back into caves”, claiming that there is “no science” behind the demands for phasing out oil and gas.

Not just the United Arab Emirates, but also many other major oil and gas-producing nations show little sign of relenting. As scientists are warning that the still-rising fossil fuel emissions must plunge drastically and that capturing and storing fuel emissions only solve a small share of the problem, more and more evidence is emerging about how climate change effects threaten food, health, and security. There are still some days of the COP28 in Dubai left – let’s hope for more decisive action.

Read more about the IPCC’s warning based on the Climate Report 2022.

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