What is Cop28 and why is it important?

UN climate talks aim to tackle the escalating climate crisis

What is Cop28?

What is Cop28?
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Get the latest news on Cop28

World leaders have come together in Dubai at a UN summit known as Cop which aims to deliver a crucial action plan to combat the growing climate crisis.

The critical conference - which got under way this week - is being staged during a year in which the world has grappled with a series of extreme weather events and many climate records were broken.

It is also being held against a backdrop of major geopolitical tensions, from Ukraine to Gaza.

So what is Cop28, why is it important and what are the chances of success?

What is Cop28?

Cop stands for “conference of the parties”, referring to the almost 200 countries that signed up to the UN’s original climate deal in 1992.

The treaty – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – came into force in 1994 and aims to prevent dangerous human interference with the world's climate.

The first Cop was held in Bonn, Germany in 1995. There have been 27 to date – so this year it is Cop28.

Cops were once small, technical affairs, but they have grown much larger over the years with negotiations taking place alongside vibrant protests, workshops, discussions and scores of pavilions from countries and organisations dedicated to highlighting the plight of the environment and protecting it.

How long will Cop28 last and where is it being held?

Cop28 started on November 30 and is due to run until December 12 at Expo City Dubai.

The venue previously hosted the six-month Expo 2020 Dubai from 2021 to 2022 that attracted visitors from all over the world.

It is already on track to be the biggest Cop yet. More than 80,000 people have registered to attend the crucial talks, UN data released on Saturday showed.

It is a huge increase on Cop27, which was attended by about 50,000.

Why is Cop28 being held in Dubai?

Cops are rotated through the UN’s five regions every year.

It was the Asia-Pacific group's turn this year and the UAE was chosen to be the host.

Other countries in the Middle East and North Africa such as Morocco, Egypt and Qatar have previously hosted Cops.

Who is attending the summit?

National leaders, government ministers, negotiators, climate advocates and business leaders from around the globe have converged on the UAE.

The UK’s King Charles III delivered a speech on Friday, in which he set out the need to preserve the environment.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also attended, along with a host of other international leaders, such as Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and France's Emmanuel Macron.

US Vice President Kamala Harris is taking part in the talks on behalf of President Joe Biden.

Why is Cop28 important?

The world is getting hotter because of human activity, scientists say.

Globally, the world has warmed already by just over 1°C with the UN warning it could be headed for more than 2°C.

This would break pledges under the 2015 Paris deal where countries agreed to “pursue efforts” to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

UN scientists have warned that if this threshold is breached, billions of people could be affected by heat and humidity that damages their health.

Cop28 will try to tackle this.

Cop28 in UAE: Three things to watch out for

Cop28 in UAE: Three things to watch out for

What are the big issues at Cop28?

Countries are assessing how they are measuring up to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Known as the “global stocktake”, it will examine what has been achieved and what more needs to be done.

The UN has already said the world is way off track in keeping to the 1.5°C goal and emissions that contribute to global warming must be slashed to stay on track.

Burning fossil fuels is the main cause of global warming and leaders will tackle this.

Scaling up climate finance to those who need it most is another. Poorer countries want the annual $100 billion funding goal promised in 2009 by wealthier counties to be delivered, but it is thought trillions of dollars are needed.

Ramping up climate adaptation efforts; getting the contentious loss and damage fund into operation; trying to limit deforestation; and building awareness of nature and its role in tackling climate change are among the other topics up for discussion.

Notable victories have already been achieved in the event's opening days.

Cop28 opened on Thursday with a historic deal to finally launch and capitalise a loss and damage fund that helps the most vulnerable countries deal with the worst effects of climate change.

Loss and damage has long been sought by countries on the front lines of the crisis that have often done the least to cause the problem.

The UAE and Germany immediately announced $100 million each to the fund, with up to $75 million from the UK.

The US committed $17.5 million and Japan $10 million.

The UAE on Friday pledged to give $30 billion to combat climate change.

The money will go towards a new private investment vehicle, Alterra, which aims to raise $250 billion globally in the next six years to create a fairer climate finance system.

The commitment was announced by President Sheikh Mohamed during his opening address at the summit.

What is the schedule for the event?

Cop28 began with a major leader's summit on December 1 and 2 that set the tone for the event.

The talks will commence and intensify significantly in the final days in the hope of clinching a deal before they all leave.

There will also be themed days on issues including the first in-depth looks at health, nature, food, and youth.

What was it like to be a young climate activist at Cop27?

how was it to be an activist at cop27

What are the blue zone and green zones?

The venue is divided into two zones: blue and green.

The blue zone is where the negotiations are held, and is the site of country pavilions, presidency events, and hundreds of side events. It is off limits to the public.

The green zone open to the public on Sunday and will host talks, events and performances about green issues.

Will Cop28 make any difference?

Cops try to build momentum to tackle climate change.

Some are more successful than others, and parties at Cop21 signed up to the Paris deal.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President-designate, said the 1.5°C goal remains the guiding “north star” for Cop28.

Where will be the next Cop be?

Cop29 is scheduled to be staged by a country in the Eastern Europe group, but reports suggest the Ukraine war is complicating efforts to find a host.

Countries will try to agree on a host at Cop28, but there is no formal deadline.

Brazil is expected to host Cop30 in 2025 as part of the Latin American and Caribbean grouping.

Updated: December 03, 2023, 7:51 AM