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COP 28: The Global Stocktake of Climate Action

From November 30 to December 12, 2023, the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP 28) will be held in the United Arab Emirates. COP 28 marks another opportunity to advance the global climate change action plan. There will be discussions on key issues, attempts to address unresolved points from COP 27 and a 5-year global assessment of the progress made in slowing down climate change (the “global stocktake").

Key Issues to Be Discussed:

Implementation of the Paris Agreement: The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with a desired target of 1.5 degrees Celsius. As of February 2023, 194 states and the European Union (EU) have ratified or acceded to the Paris Agreement, obliging nations to present updated, more ambitious emission reduction targets based on their commitments.

Global Stocktake: The first global stocktake, a process mandated by the Paris Agreement, will be reported on at the conference. This stocktake represents a comprehensive evaluation of nations' progress toward the Paris Agreement's goals, providing an essential framework to strengthen climate action in response. This is effectively an accountability exercise to ensure that each nation is actively attempting to implement the Paris Agreement.

Climate Finance: Climate finance refers to financing activities that mitigate and provide adaptation to the impacts of climate change. Discussions will focus on mobilising adequate funds to address climate challenges and implementing the new ‘loss and damage’ fund designed to provide financial aid for climate reparations in the developing countries which are "particularly vulnerable" to the repercussions of climate change.

Abatement of fossil fuels: There will be discussions on the effectiveness of abatement technologies used to reduce fossil fuel emissions, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS). The ‘abatement’ of fossil fuel production is the intervention to substantially reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted through the lifecycle of production. CCS is the process of trapping Carbon Dioxide emissions at source and storing them deep underground.

Adaptation: Participants will explore approaches to enhance the resilience of communities and ecosystems to the challenges posed by climate change.

Biodiversity: In alignment with the Paris Agreement's overarching goals, COP 28 will seek to address biodiversity loss, recognising the interconnectedness between climate change and biodiversity loss, emphasising the need for integrated solutions.

Unresolved Point from COP 27:

Carbon Market Rules: One key item carried forward from COP 27 is the need to finalise the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement that focuses on establishing mechanisms, including carbon markets, for countries to meet their nationally determined contributions. This ruleset is essential for enabling countries to effectively trade carbon credits, a crucial mechanism in global climate action.