Hamas-Israel: COP28 at Risk

Johnny Wentzel
World Government Summit audience
Courtesy of CNN

As Halloween draws near and we brace ourselves for a flood of Barbie and (just) Ken costumes, we’re reminded that the end of October signifies another important moment on the calendar. And we don’t mean that unhinged neighbour putting up Christmas decorations on November 1.

What’s coming: The United Nations Climate Summit COP28 will kick off on November 30 in Dubai. The annual summit usually has a near Eras Tour level of buzz around it for climate pundits and policy makers. But this year the showing could be less than ideal.

The Hamas-Israel war has spurred tensions across the entire Mideast region, and experts believe this will pull focus away from the summit or prevent senior decision-making delegates from attending altogether.

  • The summit is also being scrutinized by climate activists for being held in one of the largest oil-producing nations and naming Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber–CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil–as the head of the summit’s leadership group.

What’s on the table?

A primary goal of COP28 will be to identify the gaps between current commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and what’s actually needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

  • Sultan al-Jaber aims to lead this discussion with language on the phase down (rather than a phase out) of fossil fuels and the tripling of renewables deployed worldwide by the end of the decade.

Zoom out: Unrest in the Mideast coupled with controversy surrounding this year’s summit host are potential reasons why COP28 may fall flat, but experts believe that the critical review of Paris Agreement commitments could lead to COP28 being one of the most consequential summits in recent years… if everyone shows up.