By Powerscourt on 08/12/2023

COP28 Half-Time Talk

As we pass the halfway mark of the COP28 negotiations, our team on the ground share a wrap up of the key moments so far. With important topics still up for debate, discussions to keep 1.5°C alive are still very much ongoing.

Loss and damage early win

COP28 UAE kicked off with an early win for loss and damage. So far, nations have committed over $700m to the Loss and Damage Fund, with this year’s hosts pledging $100m on Day 1 of the conference. Whilst encouraging that progress has been made so early on at COP28, pledges fall short of the estimated costs of loss and damages for developing nations ($400bn to be precise). Island nations, spearheaded by climate leaders such as Mia Mottley, Barbados PM, are urging developed countries to make more substantial commitments to the fund in the final text, as well as pushing for a clear plan to operationalise climate finance.

Global Stocktake draft published

With this year’s COP marking the inaugural Global Stocktake (GST), negotiations are in full swing, focusing on 3 core areas: mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation. A draft text, published on Tuesday, placed a large emphasis on scaling up the Loss and Damage Fund, and crucially includes a clause supporting “an orderly and just phase out of fossil fuels”. With conversations ongoing, the outcome of the GST is likely to be hotly debated well into the second week of negotiations. Given the latest IPCC report indicates GHG emissions need to decline by 43% by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5°C, scientists are emphasising the need for urgent climate ambitions on every front at COP28.

Fossil fuel phase-out off the cards?

The phase-out of fossil fuels has been a long-standing agenda item throughout recent climate summits. This year in particular, ambitions to commit to a fossil phase-out have been met with scepticism, given the host nation is one of the world’s largest oil-producing nations. Tensions came to a head earlier this week, with the media reporting that COP28 President, Sultan Al Jaber, claimed there was “no science” to support a fossil phase out to achieve 1.5°C. Adding fuel to the fire, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister vowed the Kingdom did not intend to support a final text that calls for phasing out fossil fuels in any capacity. An unprecedented number of (almost 2,500) oil and gas lobbyists also attended COP28, raising questions over the influence of fossil fuel companies and petrostates in final decisions.

A-list guestlist

A record-breaking 84,000 stakeholders have attended this year’s climate discussions (including Powerscourt’s team!), showcasing the severity of the climate crisis felt across the globe. Keynote speakers matched the magnitude of the event – with speeches from climate advocates Al Gore and Bill Gates and US climate envoy John Kerry, a video message sent by Sir David Attenborough and a landmark address by King Charles III. In contrast, Rishi Sunak’s visit was fleeting, and Joe Biden was unable to attend. And just yesterday… Vladimir Putin made a surprise appearance, sending shockwaves throughout Dubai as he skipped out on the conference to negotiate oil deals instead.

Our team on the ground will continue to follow the negotiations closely in the coming days.
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