COP28 in Dubai: agreements and latest updates from the UN Climate Conference

Elizabeth Smith

COP28, the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the key international meeting for future climate directions, is being held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023.

The Dubai COP will mark the culmination of a process known as “Global Stocktake,” an assessment of progress to date in achieving key provisions of the Paris Agreement. Particularly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building climate resilience and mobilizing financial support for vulnerable countries.

Guterres at COP28: climate chaos, need to act now

“We have the technologies to avoid the worst of climate chaos if we act now,” exhorted UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his opening remarks at the conference’s opening. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has charted a clear path toward a 1.5-degree world. But we need leadership, cooperation and political will to act.And we need it now.”

The Secretary emphasizes the issue of global warming and its macroeconomic effects “Global warming is sending budgets into a tailspin, driving up food prices, disrupting energy markets and fueling a cost-of-living crisis.”

On fossil fuel targets Guterres insists, “The 1.5 degree limit is only possible if we stop burning all fossil fuels. Do not reduce. Do not reduce. Phase out, with a clear timetable aligned to 1.5 degrees.”

A $100 million climate fund

COP28 opened its proceedings with the announcement of a $100 million Climate Justice Fund, requested by developing countries as early as the previous COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Developing countries are on the front lines of climate change and face the cost of the devastation caused by ever-increasing extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and sea level rise.

The fund would help compensate vulnerable countries facing loss and damage caused by climate change. And to meet the cost of devastation caused by ever-increasing extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and rising seas.

In fact, the United Nations explains, nations that contribute the least to greenhouse gas emissions are less equipped to deal with drought, sea-level rise and other climate-related destruction. Lives, livelihoods and cultures could be massively altered by extreme weather events. As the climate crisis unfolds, these events will occur more frequently and the consequences will become more severe.

Simon Stiell (UNFCC): 6 years before exceeding 1.5 degrees

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Stiell, who is the executive secretary of the UNFCCC, warned that the world is taking “baby steps” in the face of a terrifying planetary climate crisis that requires bold action now. “We are taking small steps and moving too slowly to develop the best responses to the complex climate impacts we face,” he told delegates gathered for COP28.

Stiell then outlined what is at stake. “This has been the hottest year ever for humanity. So many terrifying records have been broken,” he said, adding, “We are paying with people’s lives and livelihoods.”

“Science tells us that we have about six years before we exhaust the planet’s capacity to cope with our emissions. Before we exceed the 1.5-degree limit,” he warned, referring to one of the key goals of the Paris Agreement.

In this context, Stiell called on countries to deliver ambitious new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), or national climate action plans in which every single commitment in 2025 – on finance, adaptation and mitigation – must be in line with a 1.5-degree world.

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