COP28 in Dubai

Nov 30, 2023 | Economy

An Urgent Call for Collective Action on Climate Change

More than 70,000 individuals, including dozens of heads of state and government officials, are converging on Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to participate in the 28th annual United Nations climate conference, COP28, scheduled until December 12.

Leaders such as King Charles III, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen will be present. Switzerland is represented by Confederation President Alain Berset and Environment Minister Albert Rösti. The last-minute cancellation of Pope Francis, citing health reasons, has been noted.

In contrast, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two largest greenhouse gas emitters globally, are not planning to attend. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Kamala Harris will be present.

Discussions center around limiting climate change and necessary preparations, with particular attention to an evaluation eight years after the signing of the Paris Agreement. The phasing out of fossil fuels remains a sensitive issue, especially as the United Arab Emirates, a petro-gas state, hosts COP28.

These talks take place in Dubai, an emirate with often unclear environmental ambitions, being one of the world’s top ten oil-producing countries. Environmental advocates denounce it as provocative, while others see it as an opportunity to address fossil fuels concretely. Calls for the resignation of COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber have been made due to his ties to the oil industry.

Switzerland, optimistic about the conference, views this international meeting as a “great opportunity.” Swiss Ambassador for the Environment, Felix Wertli, emphasizes the importance of maintaining the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. The Swiss delegation also aims for decisions on phasing out coal by 2040 and oil and gas by 2050.

COP28 opens against the backdrop of this year being the hottest ever recorded, accentuating global ravages linked to the climate crisis. With the United Arab Emirates presiding over COP28, the need to accelerate collective action on climate is emphasized.

The Global Assessment, the first assessment of progress in implementing the Paris Agreement, concludes that the world cannot limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Current national action plans allow for only a 2% reduction in emissions by 2030, far from the necessary 43% according to scientific data.

Over 160 world leaders are present, underscoring the need for global cooperation. Progress in climate financing will be crucial to build trust and lay the groundwork for a more ambitious quantified financing goal.

COP28 calls for urgent action to reduce emissions and emphasizes climate justice. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, President of COP28, insists on the need for an ambitious decision to reduce emissions while protecting lives and livelihoods. COP28 aims to materialize previous commitments and implement immediate actions to combat climate change.

For more information: 

UNFCCC COP28 Website

Host Country COP28 Website

Paris Agreement Threatened by Lack of Ambition, According to a UN Report