Held from November 30 until December 12, 2023, the next COP (Conference of the Parties) will take place in Expo City, Dubai. COP28, also recognised as the UN Climate Change Conference, will debate some of the most pressing issues of sustainability, climate awareness and renewable energy across the United Nations.
With previous conferences determining important widespread change such as The Paris Agreement of 2015, and taking into consideration the rising consequences of climate change and global warming seen this year alone, COP28 is poised to deliver some crucial regulations and insights.
So what do we know so far about COP28 and what can we expect from the conference this year?
A Global Stocktake
For the very first time, the partaking countries and leaders will be conducting a ‘global stocktake’ of the state of the UN, examining global data on a huge scale and forming a better path for a cleaner future. This action marks a big turning point for the involved nations as it presents an opportunity for accountability, transparency and a clear recognition of the key problems created through unsustainable action.
Attempting to align the current positioning of countries and stakeholders against the proposed targets of the Paris Agreement, the stocktake will evaluate areas where further change is required and hold leaders responsible for any failure to meet these targets.
‘The global stocktake will end up being just another report unless governments and those that they represent can look at it and ultimately understand what it means for them and what they can and must do next. It’s the same for businesses, communities and other key stakeholders’. - Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary.
Through past COP conferences, the topic of climate funding has been raised and disputed many a time - with a ‘collective goal of mobilising 100 billion USD per year by 2020’ established in 2009.
However, this goal has never been achieved and debates over the funds have been rehashed numerous times at individual conferences. With mistrust and cross-country suspicion surrounding this divisive issue, it’s likely that the topic will be raised yet again in COP28. With the event being led by President Sultan Al Jaber, there’s a rising call for a definitive course of action to be taken regarding the funds - particularly in terms of increasing the funding for addressing climate change by triple its current amount.
Phasing Out Fossil Fuels
In a show of collective action and support, many are expecting the COP28 to finally confirm an official phasing out of fossil fuels and non-renewable energy sources. In order to reach the targets decided in 2015, the ‘nationally determined contributions should collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030 and 60% by 2035.’ Parallel to this, COP28 also needs to triple the amount of renewable energy sources used throughout the agreed nations too, and increase their power on a huge scale.
Additionally, these targets need to acknowledge and take into account their impact on vulnerable communities and low income countries, establishing a solution that meets the needs of all.
“It would be a remarkable achievement of COP28 if it became the COP which sets the pace and timeline on consigning fossil fuels to history.” - President of the UK COP26
Addressing Loss and Damage
Through a concept summarised as ‘loss and damage’, the COP28 is predicted to address how developing countries - who often contribute the least to global emissions and climate change - are likely to feel the harshest impact from them. Without the right resources to protect their countries or defend their people against climate change, these countries are set to suffer enormously.
Efforts to counter this have been established, such as the Santiago Network in COP25, however addressing loss and damage at COP28 is crucial to both defending and protecting these countries, and in strengthening the bonds between the wealthier countries and the developing ones.
Actions predicted to be taken are enhancing and fully establishing the Santiago Network, providing rapid channels of finance to be delivered to developing countries in emergency scenarios and offering essential support in the protection against climate consequences.
Re-Confirming a Dedication to the 1.5c Target
The world has gone through much change since the Paris Agreement target was established - from the COVID-19 pandemic to the invasion of Ukraine - and global attention have been diverted to different causes over the years. However, one of the key outcomes of the initial agreement, binding countries together in the fight against global warming, was the attempt to bring down global temperatures ‘well below 2c’ with an ideal target of 1.5c.
Many people are expecting COP28 to once again push for this 1.5c target, encouraging the countries to once again unite and make essential changes to bring the temperatures down. Following recent claims that the ‘window is closing’ for protecting the planet from global warming, it’s even more important for this conference to establish new plans, new processes and new regulations for each country to follow.
Our View at Clean Energy Capital
‘It will be interesting to see the stocktake that scrutinises the progress made by each member country, as it will provide the much needed accountability to drive the desired change. With the expectation to confirm the official phasing out of fossil fuels and non-renewable sources, I hope it leads to a recalibration of energy targets and a refocus for renewable energy adoption. The outcomes of COP28 could have an interesting impact on how we work with our clients and customers from this point onwards.’
Josh Boucker, Land Associate (Clean Energy Capital).
We look forward to finding out the chosen actions from the COP28 conference in December and will share our thoughts and insights from it later on this year.