The 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) kicked off on November 30 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The summit brings together world leaders and industry professionals to measure progress and negotiate multi-lateral responses to climate change. It is meant to continue conversations and start ambitious actions on curbing global warming and ending climate change.
Simon Stiell, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, gave a strong statement1 at the summit’s opening, stating, “All governments must give their negotiators clear marching orders. We need highest ambition, not point scoring or lowest common denominator politics.”
Unlike previous summits, however, COP28 marks a historic milestone by conducting the first Global Stocktake2, a thorough assessment of everything that has been done since the signing of the Paris Agreement3, an international treaty on climate change adopted at COP21 in 2015.
Considering that this is the midpoint of the treaty (with the target date of accomplishing the goals by 2030), COP28 has gained much media attention, with many people wondering what has changed in the last 8 years.
To help you navigate through all the information, we’ve made a quick recap of everything that happened during COP28. Take note that a full summary of these events can be found on the official website of the United Nations.

Week 1

Day 1 (November 30)

There was a landmark agreement on the Loss and Damage Fund4, a fund set up at last year’s summit to help lower-income countries pay for climate-related damages. The agreement explains that wealthier nations would contribute to the World Bank-hosted fund. On day 1, contributions to the fund reached USD 700 million (£556m), with countries such as UAE, Germany, UK, Japan, and the US pledging millions of dollars.
However, some experts believe that the amount is negligible5, accounting for less than 0.2% of the irreversible economic and non-economic losses caused by climate change every year.

Day 2 (December 1)

This was the first day of the two-day “World Climate Action Summit”. This is where dozens of world leaders tackle the most pressing climate issues, including fossil fuel production, greenhouse gas emissions, and funding issues for more sustainable energy sources.

  • Food security: 134 countries endorsed the “Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action”6. This agreement places food at the center of all climate talks and pledges better food systems and agricultural practices to feed every person on the planet.
  • Fossil fuel: Columbia became the first Latin American country to officially endorse the “Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty”7. The agreement seeks to implement more aggressive strategies to phase out fossil fuel production.
  • Climate finance: The UAE announces that it will build a multi-billion climate facility8 to create a fairer climate finance system and improve access to funding for the Global South.
  • Methane production: The “Eye on Methane Report” was released9. Authors of the study say that available technologies can now reduce 45% of anthropogenic methane emissions around the world.

Day 3 (December 2)

This day was more focused on the coral reefs and forests. Dozens of countries pledged to set up new initiatives to secure the future of tropic coral reefs and lessen the damage of deforestation. Other notables include:

  • Climate finance: The US pledges USD 3 billion to fund the UN Green Climate Fund. This is on top of new commitments announced by the UK, France, Germany, and Japan.
  • Methane production: A coalition of 50 oil and gas companies signed the “Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter”10 which pledges to cut methane emissions from their operations. It must be noted, however, that none of them pledged to cut down production.
  • Renewables: 116 countries signed the “Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge” which seeks to triple worldwide installed renewable energy generation capacity to at least 11,000GW by 203011.

Day 4 (December 3)

For the first time in the history of the climate change conference, COP28 dedicated a day to peace, relief, and recovery.

The most notable event here was the speeches made by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb12. The faith leaders urged for more robust climate action in the first-ever Faith Pavilion. The pope is quoted as saying that this “is the first of its kind at the heart of a COP, and it shows that all authentic religious beliefs are a source of encounter and action.”

Day 5 (December 4)

This day focused on international finance and trade to offer effective ways to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Of note, Al Jaber, the president of the COP28 climate summit, addressed the controversial statement13 he made several days ago when he claimed that there was “no science” behind claims that phasing out fossil fuels would limit global warming to 1.5 °C.

Day 6 (December 5)

With the theme of “Energy and Industry, Just Transitions and Indigenous People”, the day focused on how to help indigenous people, the stewards of 80% of our planet’s biodiversity, keep protecting the Earth.

Most of the discussion revolved around food security. Over 50 leading food organizations released a joint statement that read, “The findings of the IPCC and the global stocktake technical phase are unequivocal – we will not achieve any of the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement without more ambitious, comprehensive, and equitable climate action on food.”

A new “Save Soil movement14 was also launched. The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the importance of healthy soil and how to teach countries how to improve their soil.

Day 7 (December 6)

The day focused on multi-level action and urbanization. Global leaders discussed their climate action solutions for more urbanized areas, including building more efficient food systems in congested cities.

Discussing this in more detail, the World Economic Forum launched a new guide that showed business leaders how to implement various nature-based solutions, such as nature credits15.

Week 2

Day 8 (December 8)

December 8 was considered by many to be a “win” for children and their opportunities and access to proper education. This included:

  • The first-ever Youth Stocktake16, a project that brings together thousands of young people to discuss climate diplomacy policy proposals. The initiative will be led by YOUNGO (the Children and Youth Constituency of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) and supported by Her Excellency Shamma Al Mazrui, the Youth Climate Champion (YCC).
  • The signing of the Greening Education Partnership Declaration17, a series of greening community initiatives to raise global awareness of environmental sustainability. The declaration detailed four main pillars: Greening Schools, Greening Learning, Greening Capacity, and Greening Communities.
  • A new USD 220 million funding package18 pledge by the UAE. This initiative is intended to improve health provisions for youth in Africa.

Photo of the Youth Stocktake at COP28

Day 9 (December 9)

This day focused on multiple land-use and ocean conservation initiatives. The goal is to preserve 30% of the planet’s land and water by 2030 (a goal further outlined in Act3019, another program officially launched the day before).

Dozens of countries, including Canada and France, co-signed a Dutch-led coalition that strongly calls for a clean and practical strategy for eliminating fossil fuel subsidies. The United States and China, however, did not join the new coalition.

Xie Zhenhua, the Chinese climate envoy, and John Kerry, his US counterpart, were observed to have met for hours in the Chinese pavilion. The details of the discussion are unknown, but observers hoped that the conversation would lead to stronger climate policies20 between the world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.

Day 10 (December 10)

The second to the last day of the summit focused on promoting global food and water security to keep the 1.5 °C within reach21.

Most of the talks on this day detailed initiatives that provided sustainable alternatives to traditional agriculture. There was a lot of back and forth among countries on the next steps to be done. Serious concern was expressed by delegates of vulnerable countries that the new Global Goal on Adaption draft text22 was not ambitious enough. Particularly, concrete global targets, such as protecting 30% of all land, were not included in the latest version.

December 11 (Day 11)

COP28 ends with a final decision that has prompted some to label the climate summit as both “historic” and “weak”23. The biggest takeaways include:

  • Countries agree to move away from fossil fuels and promote initiatives for renewable energy
  • Critics say that there is a “litany of loopholes” regarding rising sea levels. There is also a lack of concrete plans to maintain the climate change initiatives that were launched in the previous week.

1  https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/12/1144427

2  https://www.wri.org/un-climate-change-conference-resource-hub

3  https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement

4  https://unfccc.int/news/cop27-reaches-breakthrough-agreement-on-new-loss-and-damage-fund-for-vulnerable-countries?gclid=CjwKCAiAvdCrBhBREiwAX6-6Usds6C4PDCcdEbtAZmVknTq9OVxH__og3IRfsmNrX9VNJd4IDA4XjBoCdmwQAvD_BwE

5  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/dec/06/700m-pledged-to-loss-and-damage-fund-cop28-covers-less-than-02-percent-needed

6  https://www.iisd.org/articles/statement/emirates-leaders-declaration-cop-28-important-step-advancing-resilient-food

7  https://fossilfueltreaty.org/

8  https://www.cop28.com/en/news/2023/12/commits-US$30-billion-in-catalytic–capital-to-launch-landmark

9 https://www.unep.org/resources/report/eye-methane-international-methane-emissions-observatory-2023-report

10 https://www.wri.org/news/statement-oil-and-gas-decarbonization-charter-unveiled

11 https://energy.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2023-12/Global_Renewables_and_Energy_Efficiency_Pledge.pdf

12 https://www.thenationalnews.com/climate/cop28/2023/12/04/pope-francis-and-grand-imam-of-al-azhar-call-for-peace-and-climate-action-at-cop28/

13 https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/al-jaber-says-comments-on-fossil-fuel-science-were-misunderstood-1.2006896

14 https://consciousplanet.org/en/save-soil

15 https://www.green.earth/blog/the-rising-demand-for-nature-based-credits

16 https://esgmena.com/cop28-hosted-first-ever-youth-stocktake-with-youngo/

17 https://www.cop28.com/en/schedule/greening-education-partnership

18 https://wam.ae/article/aq1tz0a-shakhboot-bin-nahyan-announces-200-million-pledge

19 https://www.iucn.org/news/202312/global-initiative-conserve-30-planet-guided-indigenous-knowledge-launches-cop28-0

20 https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/12/08/us-china-kerry-xie-climate-cooperation-cop28/#cookie_message_anchor

21 https://unfccc.int/maintaining-a-clear-intention-to-keep-15degc-within-reach

22 https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/Global_goal_on_adaptation_0.pdf

23 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/live/2023/dec/13/cop28-live-updates-news-agreement-outcomes-draft-text-fossil-fuels

Raine Grey is an experienced content writer from the Philippines. A profound lover of books, she believes that life is meant to be enjoyed without encroaching on the rights and liberties of others. Raine is passionate about mental health initiatives, having been diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder herself. She is the mother of her adopted rescue cat, Cuapao.

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