2023 Climate Change Conference COP28: What is COP and Can it Save the World?

We live on an Earth that is getting warmer every day due to uncontrolled carbon emissions released into the atmosphere due to human activities. There are still some things we can do before it is too late. The 28th “Conference of the Parties”, also known as the Climate Change Conference, which is held in a different country every year with this awareness, will be held in Dubai between 30 November – 12 December 20203. 

The 2023 Climate Conference, COP28 for short, will be chaired by Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the world’s third-largest fossil fuel producer. The fact that it will be held in Dubai and chaired by a fossil fuel company executive has already made COP28 very controversial.

While tracing the 2023 Climate Conference, if you want to learn about the COP issue in all its details from the very beginning, if you are curious about the impact of COP28 at the point we have reached towards combating the global climate crisis, this article is for you.


Following the Climate Summit: What is the COP Summit? What Does COP Stand For?

The COP Summit, “Conference of the Parties”, is an international climate conference organised annually by the United Nations. The conference is attended by all countries that have signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international agreement that entered into force in 1994.

In this context, the title ‘COP’ refers to all parties, including world leaders and heads of state, and the process of reviewing and implementing the rules of the convention.

Parties to the Convention have committed to take voluntary measures to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference” with the climate system.

How often is the COP held? Where is the 2023 Climate Change Conference?

A COP meeting is held annually unless the Parties decide not to hold it.

The first COP meeting was held in Berlin, Germany in March 1995. Since then, important meetings have included COP3, where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, COP11, where the Montreal Action Plan was produced, COP15 in Copenhagen and COP17, where the Green Climate Fund was established. In addition, COP21, where the Paris Agreement was signed, which aims to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100 and to take action to adapt to the already existing climate change impacts, has an essential place in the fight against the global climate crisis. 

The 2023 Climate Change Conference, or COP28 (28th meeting), will occur in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 30 November to 12 December 2023.

What will be the Priorities of the 2023 Climate Change Conference?

The 2023 Climate Change Conference aims to focus on solidarity between the countries of the North and South and the energy transition, the United Arab Emirates spokesperson said.

He explained his other priorities as follows:

  • Creating a more inclusive and accessible conference,
  • Supporting mitigation solutions to raise targets,
  • Focus on progress towards Global Goal conditions for adaptation and adaptation finance,
  • Advance the operationalisation of the loss and damage fund established at COP 27,
  • Ensure fairer access to climate finance.

Expectations from the 2023 Climate Change Conference: Can We Save the World?

At the beginning of 2023, the announcement that oil CEO Sultan Al Jaber would chair the United Nations Climate Conference COP28 surprised the climate community. Al Jaber is the chairman of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the world’s third-largest fossil fuel producer.

In the process starting in May 2023, names from the climate community and around 40 ministers from around the world will come together in Berlin for the Petersberg Climate Dialogue. This meeting, which is little known outside diplomatic circles, is an integral part of the road to the 2023 Climate Change Conference. Here, ministers and diplomats are setting priorities for the big climate conference in Dubai. 

Fossil fuel phase-out and renewable energy targets are on the agenda. Ministers should make good use of this opportunity and set clear expectations. 

Worldwide expectations are as follows:

To limit global warming to 1.5°C, COP28 should make effective decisions to ensure the equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels, including coal, oil and gas, and set a renewable energy installation target of 1.5 Terawatts (TW) per year for 2030 and beyond.

COP28 will also be the moment when the first Global Stocktake will take place. In other words, how close we are to the targets set in the Paris Agreement will be collectively assessed. (Spoiler: We are far away.) 

Simon Stiell, Secretary of the UN Climate Directorate-General, emphasises the urgent need for a “course correction”. (1) What makes sense is to offer a feasible 2030 target for renewable energy as a solution to fossil fuels, the leading cause of the climate crisis.

Therefore, the following decisions are expected to be taken within the scope of Climate Summit 2023:

  • First, the decision to phase out all fossil fuels fairly and equitably before 2050. Significant reductions are expected to be achieved to stabilise the global average temperature at 1.5°C, with at least a 43% reduction in fossil fuel use compared to 2019.
  • A global target of 1.5 terawatts (TW) of renewable energy installations per year from 2030 will be set, with sub-targets for wind and solar energy.
  • It is also necessary to incorporate the technological possibilities of achieving the 1.5°C target, as recently demonstrated by the IPCC.

All three objectives should be supported by funding and provide accountability and concrete follow-up to implement them.

The Mitigation and Just Transition Work Programme of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) can provide such a follow-up. Of course, the Just Energy Transition Partnerships and the accompanying financial commitments should be aligned with these targets.

As it is known, the clean energy efficiency and renewable energy targets recently assessed by the IPCC and IEA require an annual investment of 4.5 trillion USD globally for the 1.5°C scenarios. 

This may seem like a huge amount, but these are investments, not costs. Such investments bring numerous environmental, social and economic benefits, such as lower fossil fuel import prices, significantly reduced health costs and the avoidance of external impacts such as climate damage and conventional air pollution caused by fossil fuels.

Can We Save the World at the 2023 Climate Summit: What are the chances of COP28 in Dubai phasing out fossil fuels and realising an effective renewable energy target?

At the last climate conference in Egypt, more than 80 countries demanded a phase-out of all fossil fuels. However, the Egyptian COP Presidency did not favour this demand, citing countries such as Saudi Arabia and Russia that did not agree to the agreement.

A strong united coalition is needed to phase out all fossil fuels and for a renewable energy target. 

The support of more than 80 countries provides a strong basis for achieving this.