COP28 Host UAE To Leverage Summit For Oil And Gas Deals

The urgency of climate crisis is underscored by devastating floods, heatwaves, and fierce wildfires, making COP28 a crucial platform for countries to devise improved targets and measures.

COP28 Host UAE To Leverage Summit For Oil And Gas Deals

World leaders, government representatives, and delegates from 197 countries are set to gather in Dubai for the annual United Nations climate change summit, known as the Conference of the Parties or COP28. Running from November 30 to December 12, the 13-day summit is expected to prioritize discussions on reining in fossil fuels, curbing carbon emissions, and addressing international funding to assist countries in adapting to climate change.

Global Climate Challenges Take Center Stage

The urgency of the climate crisis is underscored by devastating floods, heatwaves, and fierce wildfires, making COP28 a crucial platform for countries to devise improved targets and measures. Against the backdrop of the Earth’s hottest summer on record, the summit aims to accelerate global efforts to limit warming to the 1.5 degrees Celsius target set by the Paris Agreement.

A recent UN report revealed that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a record high in 2022. However, current climate plans indicate only a two percent reduction in global carbon emissions by 2030, falling far short of the necessary 43 percent decrease to achieve the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal.

COP28: The Agenda and Themes

COP28 will center its discussions on critical issues, including the first review of countries’ progress towards the Paris Agreement, the operationalization of the loss and damages fund, and the ambitious goal of fast-tracking the global energy transition. The summit will be held at Expo City in Dubai, the first Middle Eastern country to host COP.

Key Themes for COP28:

  • Fast-tracking the Energy Transition: Focused on renewable energy and sustainable agricultural systems.
  • Fixing Climate Finance: Prioritizing adaptation finance for vulnerable communities and aiding in post-disaster reconstruction.
  • Nature, People, Lives, and Livelihoods: Addressing food systems, nature-based solutions, and safeguarding against extreme weather events and biodiversity loss.
  • Inclusivity in Climate Management: Emphasizing youth involvement and fostering improved communication across different sectors and agencies.

While these themes aim to address the multifaceted challenges of climate change, critics argue that the efficacy of financing strategies must be accompanied by structural reforms to ensure global inclusivity and effective implementation.

Challenges and Controversies Surrounding COP28

COP28 has not been without controversies. The choice of Sultan al-Jaber, CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., as the summit’s president has raised eyebrows. Al-Jaber, tasked with steering global climate efforts, heads a company recognized as one of the world’s largest oil producers.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), where fossil fuels account for over 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, has faced criticism for its role in hosting the summit.

In May, al-Jaber faced scrutiny for advocating for the phased reduction of “fossil fuel emissions” instead of an outright phase-out of fossil fuels. Critics have questioned the involvement of the fossil fuel industry in UNFCCC discussions, highlighting the need for more substantial progress towards the 1.5-degree Celsius goal.

In response to concerns, over 200 civil society organizations, including Amnesty International, penned an open letter to the UAE government in September. The letter demanded labor reforms, a halt to plans for increased oil and gas production, and assurances that COP28 attendees would not be subjected to surveillance.

Global Leaders and Attendees

More than 140 heads of state, senior government leaders, and an estimated 70,000 participants are expected to attend COP28. Confirmed attendees include Britain’s King Charles III, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Pope Francis, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Notably, US President Joe Biden is not expected to attend, but the country will be represented by top officials, including Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.

The climate change summit will be divided into a “blue zone” for UN-accredited participants and a “green zone” for events and exhibits open to registered participants from the public and civil society.

The Road Ahead

As COP28 unfolds, the world watches closely to see if global leaders can overcome controversies and differences to forge impactful agreements. The summit’s success hinges on addressing financial disparities, accelerating the energy transition, and navigating the delicate balance between economic interests and environmental sustainability. With the climate crisis escalating, the decisions made at COP28 will shape the trajectory of global climate action in the critical years ahead.