Understand what is at stake at COP28 in Dubai

Financing for climate loss and damage, stocktake of actions and energy transition are topics to be debated

Conferência das Nações Unidas sobre o clima tem início no Dubai com as nações sob pressão para aumentar a urgência da ação contra o aquecimento global e abandonar os combustíveis fósseis (Foto: Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) Conferência das Nações Unidas sobre o clima tem início no Dubai com as nações sob pressão para aumentar a urgência da ação contra o aquecimento global e abandonar os combustíveis fósseis (Foto: Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

From November 30 to December 12, representatives from various different countries, civil society organizations, social movements and the private sector will meet in Dubai for the 28th Conference of the Parties, COP28. The event is being staged by the UN (United Nations), within the scope of the UNFCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change), to debate the climate emergency in the world.

The rising global temperature is, of course, on the agenda. The goal, established in the Paris Agreement in 2015, is to limit the rise in the Earth’s temperature by 1.5°C by the end of this century – at the current rate, the forecast is for temperature to be 2.5°C higher by 2100, hence the idea of a ‘limit’. The warming of the Earth can raise sea levels and increase the frequency of extreme weather events, making them even more severe than they already are. These changes have direct implications for the guarantee of human rights, increasing violations against groups that are already historically vulnerable.

This year’s conference is expected to revolve around three key points: financing for climate loss and damage; the Global Stocktake to monitor the actions taken to mitigate the effects of climate change; and the energy transition.

Financing for climate loss and damage

This topic is a consequence of the main progress made at last year’s conference, held in Egypt, when the creation of a fund to repair climate loss and damage was approved. The fund is intended for particularly vulnerable countries – such as African nations, island countries and the 58 most vulnerable economies. It is designed to serve as a kind of savings account, with contributions from all signatory countries to help the nations most likely to feel the effects of climate change and which are not always the countries that contribute the most to the rise in the Earth’s temperature. 

It still remains to be defined how the fund will work, what the criteria are, who will pay and how, what the time frames are, among other important points.

The forecast is that countries will approve the points on the functioning of the fund by the end of the conference, so it can come into effect in 2024. One of the main obstacles is the position of the United States, which has always avoided recognizing climate reparations.

Energy transition

The countries should focus on measures to shift energy to renewable sources. This would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions before 2030. Currently, most countries use fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas).

This transition is one of the topics that should generate a lot of debate – considering that the COP will take place in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, which is an oil exporting country, and that the appointed president of the conference, Sultan Al Jaber, is also the CEO and Managing Director of the state oil company.

He defends a “phase down” of fossil fuels in the energy mix. The European Union is likely to pressure for a “phase out”. On this point, the lawyer Gabriel Mantelli, advisor for the Defense of Socioenvironmental Rights program at Conectas, notes that the energy transition needs to be aligned with the guarantee of human rights. “If reducing dependence on fossil fuels is urgent, it is also true that this shift in the energy mix cannot negatively affect historically vulnerable communities, such as quilombola communities here in Brazil.” 

Global Stocktake 

As in almost all editions of the COP, there is a lot of discussion but little progress on climate commitments. As such, a stocktake of the actions and goals for the future should be one of the focuses of the conference. Countries will be asked to reflect on the ambition to establish and meet climate targets – or the lack of this ambition, which makes the efforts to mitigate global warming slightly less effective.

As the international community meets to deliberate on global climate strategies, we cannot ignore issues related to democracy and human rights in the host country itself. The commitment to public participation and democratic transparency is a critical component for the legitimacy of climate initiatives. In June this year, Amnesty International, together with other organizations, released a letter to the COP28 participating countries stating that the suppression of the right to freedom of expression and the closure of civic space, the danger of spying and digital surveillance, as well as such as the host country’s opposition to a rapid phase out of fossil fuels, are issues that could hinder the success of the climate conference. 

Conectas at COP 28 

Alongside other civil society organizations, Conectas, as an observer organization of the UNFCCC, will participate in the conference in Dubai. See the program of events that will take place at the Brazilian Pavilion: 

12/01 – More Adaptation, Less Loss and Damage: climate action to reduce inequalities 

Organizations: Conectas, Iyaleta, Rede Por Adaptação Antirracista, Instituto Mapinguari, Clima de Eleição, Laboratório da Cidade, Alana, Greenpeace BR, WWF BR and LACLIMA 

12/02 – How can the Legislature and the Judiciary ensure compliance with the Paris Agreement?

Organizations: Clima de Eleição, Observatório do Clima, Conectas, OAB Federal, Frente Parlamentar Ambientalista and Observatório do Código Florestal

12/03 – Environmental Racism

Organizations: Coalizão Negra Por Direitos, Geledés and Conectas

12/05 – Fair Transition: political, social, environmental, technical and economic challenges

Organizations: IEMA, Conectas, Iyaleta and Terramar

12/06 – No climate justice without human rights: civic space for a fossil free future

Organizations: Conectas, Amnesty International, 350 and CIEL Side – SE Room 2 (173 pax)

12/10 – The economic future of the Amazon against a backdrop of reducing deforestation

Organizations: TNC, Conectas, CPI, ICV and Columbia University

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