Charting a Sustainable Future: COP28 and Global Climate Initiatives

With the world up in flames, metaphorically, it is almost time for all the world leaders to sit around a table and discuss solutions. In other words, COP28 is just around the corner!


Three months from now, the UAE will have the honor of hosting the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28). The event will take place in Dubai’s Expo city from November 30th to December 12th. This annual summit is for world leaders to come together and discuss the issues of climate change and how to tackle the issue fiscally.

COP28 is set to draw over 70,000 visitors to the city which highlights the importance of this monumental event, but what is it exactly? We’re breaking down exactly what COP28 is and what to expect.

What is COP28?

As we said earlier, the event brings world leaders together to discuss and tackle climate change issues. The UAE has stated that their aim is to ‘unite the world towards agreement on bold, practical and ambitious solutions to the most pressing global challenge of our time’ [Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate].

His Excellency, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber

On the agenda are matters that tend to always make a recurring appearance at the conference such as cutting greenhouse gas emissions, to adapting to extreme weather events, trading carbon emissions and gender inequality. However, with the the tragedies that have struck Libya and Morroco in the last two weeks, we can expect the conversation to steer towards what can be done with the climate change aid in the MENA region.

But it’s not just governments who attend. Members of civil society groups as well as businesses all turn up too, to make their cases heard on the fringes of the event. For instance, The Body Shop has launched the 2023 vow to increase youth participation and leadership in climate decisions while partnering with Emirates Nature-WWF’s Leaders of Change program – which guarantees a curated journey for youth empowerment.

Who is Leading COP28

At the start of 2023, the UAE appointed Dr. Sultan Al Jaber to be the COP28 President. Dr Al Jaber  heads up the UAE’s state oil producer, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., and that has led many environmental campaigners to question whether he can remain impartial as the negotiations heat up over the course of the conference. Al Jaber has the seemingly impossible job of bringing all 197 countries and parties together using his diplomacy skills to help countries bridge their divides and final agreement over the line. 

Main Initiatives

While we know that the discussions on the table mainly revolve climate change and action, there are some points we know will be covered.

  1. 1.5°C Goal

The 1.5°C goal was drawn up in the 2015 Paris Agreement and states the central objective ofis its long-term temperature goal to hold global average temperature increase to “well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”.

2. “Phase Out or Phase Down”

Al Jaber has emphasised the importance of the conversation to ‘phase out or phase down’ the use of fossil fuels. It is his belief and perspective that the phase down’ of fossil fuels is inevitable and his position as the president and and head of ADNOC will surely provide an interesting direction to the conversation. He was initially criticised for referring to phase down’ of fossil fuels as many COP28- goes believe in a complete phase OUT of fossil fuels.

3. Clean Energy

it is expected for the topic of clean energy to be covered at a conference revolving around climate change, but what would this entail? There is a commitment to double energy efficiency, double hydrogen production and triple renewable energy by 2030 that the governments at COP28 are expected to agree on. As Romain Ioualalen, global policy lead at Oil Change International, states: “Cop28 will only be a success if its presidency sets aside the interests of the oil and gas industryand declines all fossil fuel production and use

4. Climate Finance

With big climate solutions comes big bucks. Developing countries are already at a constant battle with natural devastation and a lack of finance; ‘a comprehensive transformation’ of the World Bank should be ordered, according to Al Jaber. He aims to guarantee the fulfillment of a long-standing pledge made by richer nations to deliver $100 billion annually to developing countries. This commitment, originally set for 2020, remains unmet, and he is determined to see it realised.

While The UAE isn’t a democracy and there is a control of civil expression, Al Jaber has assured international civil society groups that they would be welcomes at COP28.

As we anticipate this pivotal event, let us remain vigilant and engaged, holding our leaders accountable for the promises they make at COP28. Climate change, like metaphorical flames, continues to encroach upon our planet, demanding immediate and decisive action. The success of this conference leads to creating a sustainable and resilient world for generations to come.

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