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COP28: The Highs, the lows and the scary - TNK Green

COP28: The Highs, the lows and the scary

COP28: The Highs, the lows and the scary


As you might know, COP28 is currently underway in Dubai in The United Arab Emirates. COP is an international climate meeting held each year by the United Nations to agree on voluntary actions to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

From the very beginning, this COP was marred with controversy. From its elected host Dr Sultan Al Jaber who is also the head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, to the inclusion and presence of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) at the event.

Many critics saw this as an immediate conflict of interest for a conference supposedly set to discuss and solve climate change.


The agenda

The main points for discussion this year are Mitigation, Adaptation, and Means of implementation. We are facing an unprecedented challenge that requires quick adaptation. The Paris Agreement catalyzed global action with positive progress but warned that we are still off track. Below is a breakdown of the agenda broken down according to the three major topics.


  • It is essential to keep to 1.5⁰C goal.
  • Urgent need for a deep, rapid, and sustained reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Accelerated action towards achieving net zero by mid-century or before.
  • Tripling of renewable energy capacity and doubling energy efficiency by 2030.
  • Urgent reduction in methane and non CO² gas emissions and the phasing out of unstable fossil fuels, especially coal.
  • Preserving and restoring natural ecosystems and carbon sinks, particularly forests and the ocean are critical to limit temperature rise.
  • To stay on track and accelerate action.


  • There is an urgent need to strengthen adaptation action and to recognize that climate change is already impacting lives and livelihoods.
  • Global Progress is uneven.
  • Finance is set to be $360 Billion per year and Adaptation finance is set to double by 2050.
  • All countries to urgently enhance action.
  • Natural ecosystems play an important role in adaptation measures.
  • The adaptation framework should be adopted swiftly.
  • Steps must be taken to avert, minimize, and address risks.

Means of Implementation:

  • A steep change is needed to mobilize climate finance with a pathway to low greenhouse emissions and climate-resilient development.
  • Affordable finance at scale is a pre-requisite.
  • Public finance is key.
  • A reform in international finance architecture critical element in climate action and sustainable development.
  • Need for enhanced finance and grants for adaptation and resilience in developing countries.
  • Enhanced support for capacity building is needed.


The Highs

UN-Habitat, C40, United Cities and Local Governments, and Urban Partners launched a Call to Action for Transformative Urban Planning, committing to address climate change and associated impacts through actions, initiatives, and tools dedicated to sustainable urban planning, with a particular focus on proximity planning and the 15-minute city concept.


UAE and Canada launched the Cement and Concrete Breakthrough to accelerate investments in the technologies, tools, and policies that the cement and concrete industry needs to realize net-zero solutions by 2050.


France and Morocco launched the Buildings Breakthrough to make near-zero emission and resilient buildings the new normal by 2030, in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).



The Lows

On day one headline lambasted the host Dr Sultan Al Jaber’s statement where he supposedly stated that ‘there is no proof that fossil fuels affect climate change’ which he rebuked and said his words were taken out of context and twisted to create outrage.

With only two days to go before the end of the conference, OPEC announced that they would reject any language that asks for the reduction of fossil fuels.

Adaptation finance lags way behind its $360 Billion target with only 13 countries endorsing the Declaration on Climate Finance and a mere $166 Million committed so far.


The scary

If you are sensitive to bad news or prone to climate anxiety skip the following segment.

Scientists from all across the globe presented their research on climate change in the Cryosphere Pavilion with dire warnings for leaders and industry alike. From High mountain glaciers already set to retreat by 30% to changes in Antarctica; seeing record-breaking sea ice loss leading to major ecosystem disruptions and possible species extinction. Mayor tipping points are approaching and some of them can no longer be avoided.

Permafrost in the Arctic is melting at record rates releasing more methane locked in the frozen soil into the atmosphere that can create a positive feedback loop leading to an even greater temperature rise if current emissions continue. The ocean conveyor belt has also slowed by 30% and global sea levels are set to rise by a minimum of 2 meters by 2030 under the current emissions rates.

It is therefore imperative to stop carbon emissions immediately if we are to stay below the 1.5⁰C agreed in the Paris Agreement and to limit the risk and long-term negative effects associated with climate change.



With two days of negotiation left, I will reserve judgment regarding the success or failure of COP28UIE.

What is clear from the science though is that it is essential to accelerate and strengthen reduction efforts and a paradigm shift is required to face the challenges that lie ahead. Will Countries commit to the agenda and who will ultimately benefit from the conference is left to be seen?

Let’s hope this COP will strengthen global cooperation on climate adaptation and speed up decarbonization efforts and energy transitions needed to stay on target, only time will tell.


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