What is COP28 and what is its impact?

What is COP28?

COP28 (Conference of the Parties) is an annual conference where countries come together and discuss climate change issues and establish new agreements to combat these rising concerns.

The presidential term will be handed over to Dubai (UAE) this year, following Egypt’s successful conference last year, where for the first time a fund for developing countries was established. This fund provides compensation for countries that suffer ‘loss & damage’ after climate-induced events such as storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires.

Why is COP28 important? What are the environmental impacts?

COP28 highlights major issues surrounding climate change and provides the opportunity for global leaders to collaborate on impactful solutions, fostering a collective commitment to address the urgent challenges posed by climate change.

It aims to set global climate goals, discuss policies and strengthen international efforts to lessen the impact of climate change. The decisions that will occur at COP28 will be extremely impactful and will cause a ripple effect on future generations.

What to expect from COP28

The UAE outlined this years themes as Technology & Innovation, Inclusion, Frontline Communities, & Finance. The focal points of this year’s conference may include:

Climate Action Commitments: Countries may announce and discuss new commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change, building on or advancing on previous agreements such as the Paris Agreement. This agreement was discussed at COP21 in France and is a ‘legally binding international treaty on climate change’, agreeing to keep the increase in Global average temperatures low. The UAE has encouraged nations to review progress made towards this agreement since it was first introduced.

Innovation & Technology: The conferences often showcase advancements in clean energy, sustainable practices, and technological innovations, encouraging the exchange of knowledge and best practices. As one of the key themes, this is something we could expect from this year’s conference, and it will be interesting to see the advancements introduced.

Addressing Urgent Issues: COP events provide an opportunity to address pressing issues related to climate change, such as loss and damage, adaptation strategies, and financial support for vulnerable nations.

Controversy surrounding COP28 being held in Dubai

The UAE is known to be a big contributor to the production of oil, and are in fact the 7th largest producer and consumer in the world, accounting for 4% of the total supply, according to Eia in 2022.

Interestingly, this year’s President is the head of a well-established oil firm, Dr Al Jaber, which has sparked some criticism. Christiana Figueres, the former UN Climate Chief, deems this a ‘dangerous’ approach due to his line of work. However, in a speech given by Dr Al Jaber he said ‘we must be laser focused on phasing out fossil fuel emissions’ suggesting a commitment to change.

The future of energy

The Conference of the Parties has brought many positive policies and discussions to light, and will undoubtedly continue to provide an environment where such topics can be discussed.

Hopefully COP28 can continue to drive meaningful change for a more sustainable future. Big consulting firms such as Kearney, McKinsey & PwC will also be taking action by creating events catered to  COP28, focusing on sustainability, innovation & addressing environmental challenges.

This year marks the 28th annual conference. It begins on the 30th of November and ends on the 12th of December.