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COP28 Article Series: COP28 and the Global Stocktake

January 31st, 2024



COP28 took place in Dubai between the 30th of November and the 13th of December 2023. Hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the conference had long been a source of controversy: the UAE is a major producer of fossil fuels and a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) [1]; meanwhile, the man appointed President of COP28 – Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber – has served as the CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) since 2016 [2,3]. Many observers were concerned that these ties to the fossil fuel industry would prevent meaningful progress being made [4] – concerns which were only heightened when evidence emerged that the UAE intended to use COP28 as an opportunity to strike deals on oil and gas [5]. Matters were not helped by the conference’s unusually high stakes: under Article 14.2 of the Paris Agreement, COP28 had been designated to conclude the first Global Stocktake (GST) – a major assessment of the world’s progress towards achieving climate targets [6,7,8]. Urgent action was required.

 

The conference opened with unexpected optimism. During the opening ceremony, Sultan al-Jaber announced that the Loss & Damage Fund had been brought into operation [9,10]. The creation of this fund – which will provide compensation to developing countries for ‘loss and damage’ caused by climate change – was the result of three decades’ worth of advocacy, particularly from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) [11,12], which are amongst the most vulnerable to climate impacts [13]. An agreement to create the Loss & Damage Fund was reached at COP27, but it was not until COP28 that its operating structure was established [12]. The Fund will have a board of 26 people, the majority of whom will be from developing countries, and will sit under the umbrella of the World Bank for the time being [14]. As hosts of the conference, the UAE made the first voluntary contribution ($100 million) to the Fund, followed by the European Union ($145 million), Germany ($100 million), Japan ($10 million), the United Kingdom ($60 million) and the United States of America ($17.5 million) for a total of approximately $430 million on the first day [9,15,16]. By the end of the conference, this figure had risen to approximately $720 million [16,17]. The launch of the Loss & Damage Fund was hailed as a significant achievement by many [18], although it was not without its critics and there remains work to be done – not least since the $720 million committed thus far represents a mere 0.2% of what some have estimated is needed [17].

 

By Daniel Tucker-Bailey

 

References

1 – OPEC (2024) Member Countries, Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/about_us/25.htm

2 – BBC (01/12/2023) ‘Sultan al-Jaber: A quick guide to the COP28 president’, BBC News, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-67591804

3 – Crooks E (03/03/2019) ‘Sultan Al-Jaber: changing the mindset of a 50-year-old institution’, Financial Times, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.ft.com/content/48884808-3a73-11e9-b72b-2c7f526ca5d0

4 – Turak N (19/01/2023) ‘Greta Thunberg on Abu Dhabi’s oil chief leading COP28 climate summit: ‘Completely ridiculous’’, CNBC, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/19/greta-thunberg-on-uae-oil-ceo-leading-cop28-completely-ridiculous.html

5 – Rowlatt J (27/11/2023) ‘UAE planned to use COP28 climate talks to make oil deals’, BBC News, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-67508331

6 – Paris Agreement (2015), Accessed 30/01/2024, https://unfccc.int/process/conferences/pastconferences/paris-climate-change-conference-november-2015/paris-agreement

7 – UNFCCC (2023) Why the Global Stocktake is Important for Climate Action this Decade, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://unfccc.int/topics/global-stocktake/about-the-global-stocktake/why-the-global-stocktake-is-important-for-climate-action-this-decade

8 – Chandrasekhar A, Gabbatiss J (17/11/2023) ‘What is the ‘global stocktake’ and could it accelerate climate action?’, Carbon Brief, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-what-is-the-global-stocktake-and-could-it-accelerate-climate-action/

9 – COP28 Presidency (30/11/2023) ‘COP28 Presidency unites the world on Loss and Damage’, COP28 Presidency, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.cop28.com/en/news/2023/11/COP28-Presidency-unites-the-world-on-Loss-and-Damage

10 – Jaynes CN (01/12/2023) ‘COP28 agrees to establish loss and damage fund for vulnerable countries’, World Economic Forum, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/12/cop28-loss-and-damage-fund-climate-change/

11 – McNamara KE, Jackson G (2018) ‘Loss and damage: A review of the literature and directions for future research’, WIREs Climate Change, 10(2):e564, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.564

12 – Wyns A (2022) ‘COP27 establishes loss and damage fund to respond to human cost of climate change’, The Lancet Planetary Health, 7(1):E21-E22, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00331-X

13 – Pauw P, Mbeva K, van Asselt H (2019) ‘Subtle differentiation of countries’ responsibilities under the Paris Agreement’, Palgrave Communications, 5:86, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-019-0298-6

14 – Operationalization of the new funding arrangements, including the fund, for responding to loss and damage referred to in paragraphs 2-3 of decisions 2/CP.27 and 2/CMA.4 (2023) Accessed 30.01.2024, https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/cp2023_L1_cma2023_L1.pdf

15 – Williams A, Mooney A (30/11/2023) ‘COP28 secures more than $420 million to seed loss and damage fund’, Financial Times, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.ft.com/content/e4c0c0fc-cb2f-495a-ba22-4bad1ef4a7dc

16 – Bracking S (12/12/2023) ‘COP28: any news on climate finance?’, King’s College London, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.kcl.ac.uk/cop28-climate-finance#:~:text=In%20total%20at%20COP28%2C%20contributions,finance%20is%20an%20’obligation

17 – Seega N (13/12/2023) ‘Rich Nations’ $700 Million COP28 Pledges Cover 0.2% Of Climate Change Loss And Damage’, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.cisl.cam.ac.uk/news/blog/rich-nations-700-million-cop28-pledges-cover-02-climate-change-loss-and-damage

18 – Mouterde P (01/12/2023) ‘COP28’s first day hails the ‘loss and damage’ fund’s implementation as an important step forward’, Le Monde, Accessed 30/01/2024, https://www.lemonde.fr/en/environment/article/2023/12/01/cop28-s-first-day-hails-the-loss-and-damage-fund-s-implementation-as-an-important-step-forward_6303663_114.html