Leading world leaders, including 70 ministers, along with environmental NGOs, think tanks, faith groups and private sector representatives will be in Dubai tomorrow (November 30) for UN climate conference COP28 with a resounding call to accelerate global climate action before a 70,000-strong crowd of registered attendees.
Heads of state or prime ministers from 167 countries will be there to debate phase-out of fossil fuels along with delegates from nearly 200 countries at The UN Climate Change Conference (the official name for Climate Conferences of the Parties) which will run for two weeks - from November 30 to December 12.
The fortnight of negotiations will kick off with a World Climate Action Summit on December 1 and 2, which will convene heads of state and government alongside civil society leaders..
Leaders from France, Germany, India, Brazil, Japan and the UK are among those who are set to deliver statements on their nation's climate commitments. The message is simple - the world needs to do more and seize the opportunity of COP28 to take action and limit global warming to 1.5°C.
The challenges at the summit are immense as countries are split over whether to prioritise phasing out coal and oil and gas, or scaling up technologies such as carbon capture to try to diminish their climate impact.
Ahead of the event, COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber said the phase-down of fossil fuels was "inevitable", but also that the industry needs to be included in the debate of finding climate solutions and presented himself as ideally placed to mediate.
“There are too many things out there dividing our world at this moment. Now more than ever we need to unite on climate and deliver a clear message of hope, solidary, stability and prosperity. We need to show that the international community can deliver and send a clear signal that keeps 1.5 within reach,” he stated.
Dr Al Jaber pointed out that before the Paris Agreement, the world was heading for more than four degrees of warming but is now on course for warming of two to three degrees. “We are heading in the right direction, but nowhere near fast enough,” he noted.
According to him, COP28 embodies collective action, a platform where leaders and citizens from every corner of the world unite to forge a sustainable path forward.
The four pillars – fast-tracking the energy transition, fixing climate finance, focusing on people, lives and livelihoods and reinforcing everything with full inclusivity – will be its guiding lights, illuminating the way to a greener, healthier, more resilient world. At COP28, the world must unite, act and deliver, he added.
The UN Climate Change Conference (the official name for Climate Conferences of the Parties) has happened every year since 1995. These two-week summits are an important space for world leaders, politicians, experts and a whole host of other relevant parties to discuss the climate crisis on a global level.
The annual conferences bring together those who signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - an international environmental treaty addressing climate change - 30 years ago.
As the climate crisis worsens around the world, COP28 must be a decisive moment to act on climate commitments and limit global warming to 1.5°C.
Days before the commencement of COP28 in the UAE, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres visited regions experiencing rapid melting in the Antarctic ice sheets.
The Secretary-General sent a clear message to leaders gathering at COP28, stating, "Break this cycle and take action now: to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and protect people from climate chaos."
The International Monetary Fund states on its website, “At COP28 we will continue our dialogue on economic and financial sector policies that can help our members and the wider international community reach shared climate goals: particularly how to reduce emissions, increase climate finance, boost resilience, and ease the transition to low-carbon economies.”
According to experts, this conference is taking place at a critical juncture as humanity grapples with the existential threat posed by climate change, encompassing significant risks such as rising sea levels, shifting weather patterns, and increasingly intense natural disasters, leading to the displacement of millions and endangering food and water security.
COP28 marks the culmination of the first comprehensive global assessment of the implementation of the Paris Agreement. These assessments occur every five years, aiming to evaluate the collective progress of the world in achieving its climate goals.
The 28th session of this international event focuses on galvanising global efforts across various fronts to confront the ramifications of climate change, ensuring environmental, food, and health security; achieving an effective and equitable transition in the energy sector; and providing financing for all parties, especially those in the global South.
Heads of state will be vastly outnumbered by delegates from environmental NGOs, think tanks, faith groups, private sector representatives, indigenous community leaders and other organisations as after a record-shattering year, the world is looking to UAE event to put the world on a safer path.
And as another year of devastating extreme weather has made deadly clear - from record Greek wildfires to Libyan floods made 50 times worse by global warming - we’ve not tackled it yet. This month, the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service said that global temperatures had briefly exceeded 2C above pre-industrial averages for the first time.
COP28 will feature the first Global Stocktake to measure progress against the goals and ambitions set out in the Paris Agreement at COP21.
The COP28 Presidency has set out four key pillars to deliver the necessary course correction. Those include fast-tracking a just, orderly, and equitable energy transition; fixing climate finance; focusing on people, lives, and livelihoods; and underpinning everything with full inclusivity.
The UAE will lead a process for all stakeholders to agree upon a clear roadmap to accelerate progress towards a just, orderly and equitable global energy transition and a “leave no one behind" approach to inclusive climate action.
At its heart, COP28 aims for more than a dialogue among leaders; it’s about driving change at every level.