COP28 So Far

Johnny Wentzel
COP28 table
Courtesy of CTV News

Though no climate summit could quite compare to Queen Bey herself, COP28 was heating up over the weekend to near Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé levels.

What’s happened (so far): Up to 100,000 delegates from over 200 countries have descended upon Dubai as COP28 entered its first full week of negotiations. As such a major event on the climate calendar, it’s difficult to filter through the noise of non-binding intentions versus actual climate pledges, but there are a few stand-out themes so far:

1. The loss and damage fund to support developing countries most vulnerable to the effects of global warming is beginning to take shape.

  • The fund was agreed to a year ago at COP27, but recent pledges of $100 million from the UAE and Germany, plus smaller offerings from the US, UK, and Japan will be the first contributions to the fund.

2. The controversial Oil & Gas Decarbonization Charter was launched by COP28 President Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, with a key focus of reducing industry methane emissions to near zero by 2030. Fifty national and international oil companies accounting for over 40 percent of the world’s oil production support the Charter, including Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC, Saudi Aramco, and ExxonMobil.

  • Critics claim the Charter falls short of what is needed, as it only accounts for leaks, flaring, and improper combustion of methane, but does not discuss a reduction in hydrocarbon production.

3. A pledge to triple global renewable capacity by 2030 was accepted by 118 countries, including Canada and the United States.

  • It’s a double-whammy pledge that includes the phasing down of coal and ending financing for new coal-fired plants in addition to increasing renewables.

What’s on deck: Policy makers are anxiously awaiting the first draft and negotiations surrounding the first “Global Stocktake” – an assessment of climate progress since the 2015 Paris Agreement that has been two years in the making.

  • Set to be a defining element of the summit, the United Nations will negotiate a response to the Stocktake and agree on a path forward to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Looking ahead Though there have been significant climate actions taken at COP28 already, it’s expected that there will be an 11th hour rush at the end of summit to assemble the final draft of key agreements.

Honestly, we’re just here for the drama.