COP28: Ten things to watch out for at Dubai summit
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World leaders and stakeholders prepare to meet to avert the worst of the climate crisis at this year’s UN-led talks

November 28, 2023 09:09 pm | Updated 09:09 pm IST

A logo of the COP28 is pictured ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Dubai on November 28, 2023.

A logo of the COP28 is pictured ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Dubai on November 28, 2023. | Photo Credit: Giuseppe Cacace / AFP

The 2023 edition of the United Nations Climate Summit (COP28) is scheduled to begin in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on November 30 and will continue till December 12. World leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will meet to discuss measures to control climate emergency after a year when multiple climate records, like spikes in daily sea surface temperature and average air temperature and decline in polar ice, were breached.

The Hindu takes a look at ten things to watch out for at COP28.

Global stocktake

The global stocktake is a periodical review by countries to contain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to transition their fossil-fuel-dependent energy systems to renewable energy sources. A synthesis report containing key recommendations was published in September this year.

The exercise will conclude at COP28 and is expected to influence discussions at the summit. The findings of the report suggested that the world is not on track to meet the Paris Agreement targets and that there is a “rapidly narrowing” window for countries to make amends if they want to limit global warming.

Food security

The COP28 Presidency and the United Nations Food Systems Coordination Hub announced a new partnership aimed at elevating the role of food systems as a catalyst for achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the targets for the Paris Agreement in July 2023, bringing more attention to food security and agriculture as climate emergency worsens. The partnership expects to secure the commitment of Heads of State and governments attending COP28 to implement actions towards food systems, including aligning national food systems and agricultural policies and planning processes with Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plan (NAP) by 2025.

Loss and damage compensation

The fundamental idea behind setting up the loss and damage (L&D) fund is to help poorer, developing countries cope with financial losses due to climate crisis and environmental degradation.

At COP 27 in November 2022, representatives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) member States agreed to set up the L&D fund and a Transitional Committee to figure out how the new funding mechanisms under the fund would operate. The TC was tasked with preparing recommendations that countries would consider, deliberate on, and potentially adopt by COP 28.

COP28 is expected to finalise the details of the L&D fund, including how much money will be invested and which countries will contribute to it.

Climate finance

Apart from the L&D fund, larger provisions related to climate finance will be at the heart of COP28. Technology transfer and capacity-building to reduce emissions and pivot towards cleaner energy are aspects of averting the climate crisis that many countries still cannot afford without financial support.

According to the U.N., developing countries need at least $200 billion every year by 2030 to adapt to worsening climate impacts like coastal sea rise or storms. Richer countries are also facing pressure to fulfil a pledge of $100 billion per year by 2020 to vulnerable States hit by increasingly severe climate change impacts. The pledge was made way back in 2009 but has not been met so far. The commitment is set to expire in 2025.

The actual flow of climate finance from developed to developing countries in 2020 was between $21 billion and $83.3 billion, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said quoting estimates by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Oxfam.

Fossil fuels

Strong language highlighting commitment to phasing out fossil fuels is expected to be a major point of discussion at COP28. The European Union (EU) is expected to push for a phase-out which, if accepted at COP28, will be a first. Many countries are in favour of continuing the use of oil, gas, and coal while using technology to abate (capture) their emissions instead of avoiding the use of such fossil fuels altogether.

China, the world’s biggest fossil fuel consumer, has indicated that it intends to keep using them for decades, news agency Reuters reported.

The COP presidency

Sultan al-Jaber, the chief executive of UAE’s State-owned oil company Adnoc, is the President of COP28. The company also aims to nearly double output to five million barrels per day by 2027, a target which was previously set for 2030, BBC reported. The BBC has also claimed that leaked reports suggest that the UAE plans to use its role as the host of this year’s climate summit to strike oil and gas deals.

Jaber’s appointment as the leader of COP28 has worried climate experts and activists, who believe that his position at Adnoc is in conflict with the summit that is trying to achieve reduction in GHG emissions.

Carbon capture and storage

COP28 is expected to discuss unabated use of fossil fuels, which refers to using technologies to capture carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere and storing them in stable forms for longer periods of time. While some of these technologies and practices, like afforestation, are more accessible than others, carbon capture and storage will become increasingly crucial if the countries are unable to arrive at a definitive plan to curb emissions. However, some campaigners feel that the UAE may use this aspect as a smokescreen to promote the continued use of fossil fuels, TheGuardian reported.

Clean energy capacity

In June 2023, the EU and COP28 presidency had pledged to seek support to increase renewable energy capacity globally to help countries shift from unabated fossil fuels, Reuters reported.

At COP28, countries are expected to consider setting goals to triple renewable energy capacity and to double energy savings by 2030, in line with the June proposal.

Health

Climate crisis has meant adverse health effects for humans, including those arising from heatwaves, floods and droughts, and intensified vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue and Zika virus. Health concerns arising due to global warming are likely to make for an important discussion at COP28.

Big names

While U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will not be attending the Climate Summit in Dubai, some big names like U.K.’s King Charles and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Vatican leader Pope Francis, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present at the high-profile Climate Summit in Dubai.

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