Climate talks shift into high gear. Now words and definitions matter at COP28

by Lucas Garcia
COP28 Climate Conference

The momentum is shifting, and the sense of urgency is intensifying as the United Nations climate summit, known as COP28, enters its final week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a city built on oil. Every sentence and word, particularly those related to the future elimination of planet-warming fossil fuels, carries significant weight at this critical conference. Professional negotiators, who have been diligently preparing options, are now passing the baton to senior national officials, many at the ministerial level, who must make tough political decisions.

David Waskow, the International Climate Initiative Director for the World Resources Institute, anticipates a highly political process in the coming days. Access to the negotiating rooms will become limited, and negotiations will extend deep into the night, spanning multiple days.

Despite the challenges ahead, there is a sense of optimism among some participants. U.S. Special Envoy John Kerry acknowledges the complexities but highlights the efforts of negotiators to assemble relevant options within each section, which ministers will further refine next week.

Multilateral negotiations involving nearly 200 parties are considerably more intricate than bilateral talks between two countries, as noted by veteran diplomat Adnan Amin, the COP28 CEO.

A critical document called the Global Stocktake, which assesses progress since the 2015 Paris Agreement and outlines future steps to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, was released late Monday. Negotiators are carefully reviewing it, and officials like Amin expect to gain a clear understanding of where participants stand on the text by week’s end.

The climate talks have a distinctive rhythm, marked by hope, challenges, rumors, and eventual clarity in the negotiation process. The real intensity and excitement come during the phase of political engagement.

German special climate envoy Jennifer Morgan emphasizes that despite the initial complexity with numerous brackets indicating choices in the text, the process is proceeding as it should. EU negotiators are confident that the core document is in good shape, with key issues well-defined, and they expect a new text with amendments to be issued soon for ministerial-level discussions.

Several countries, including EU nations, small island states, and some progressive Latin American countries, advocate for a fossil fuel phase-out. While resistance is expected, officials are confident that references to fossil fuels will appear in the final text, aligned with U.N. science reports. Representatives from developing nations and climate advocates are pressuring negotiators on this front.

Wopke Hoekstra, the European Union climate commissioner, affirms their commitment to the phase-out, acknowledging that it will entail costs. However, questions about funding and fairness arise, particularly regarding wealthier countries like the United States and Canada, which are significant fossil fuel producers.

In addition to fossil fuel discussions, there are challenges in addressing adaptation issues. The second week of the conference is expected to be challenging, but the sense of urgency remains. Kerry emphasizes the need for adults to come together and make substantial progress to meet global expectations.

This critical juncture at COP28 will determine the future course of global climate action, with the world watching closely as leaders navigate complex negotiations and strive for meaningful agreements.

For more news and updates on climate and environmental issues, please visit AP’s climate initiative.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about COP28 Climate Conference

What is COP28?

COP28 refers to the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, a crucial international gathering focused on addressing climate change and its impacts.

Where is COP28 taking place?

COP28 is being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a city known for its association with the oil industry.

What is the significance of the Global Stocktake document?

The Global Stocktake is a pivotal document in U.N. climate negotiations. It assesses how far the world has come since the 2015 Paris Agreement and outlines the necessary steps to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius from preindustrial times.

What are the main areas of discussion at COP28?

COP28 covers a wide range of topics related to climate change, including the phase-out of fossil fuels, adaptation measures, and other key issues crucial for global climate action.

What is the role of senior national officials and ministers at COP28?

Senior national officials and ministers play a critical role in making tough political decisions and shaping the outcomes of the conference, as they take over from professional negotiators.

How are fossil fuels addressed at COP28?

Several countries, including EU nations and small island states, advocate for a phase-out of fossil fuels. While resistance is expected, there is confidence that references to fossil fuels will appear in the final text.

What is the overall mood and outlook at COP28?

The conference exhibits a mix of optimism and challenges. While negotiators face complexities and debates, there is a sense of urgency and commitment to achieving meaningful climate agreements.

What is the importance of COP28 in the context of global climate action?

COP28 is a pivotal moment in the fight against climate change, where leaders and nations come together to determine the future course of global climate action. It is closely watched by the world as decisions made here will impact the trajectory of climate efforts.

More about COP28 Climate Conference

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InfoGeek45 December 7, 2023 - 11:37 am

the globl stoktak is big thng in paris agreemnt

Reader87 December 7, 2023 - 1:06 pm

cop28 is imp mtg on climate change, we neeed to stp fosil fuels!

ClimateWatcher22 December 7, 2023 - 4:20 pm

dubai for this? wht abt othr plcs?

WeatherWiz December 7, 2023 - 7:47 pm

imp, but some cntreis resist, hard to bldge consenss.

GreenActivist23 December 7, 2023 - 8:13 pm

hop we gt gud agreemnt, climate crisis is urgnt!

QuestionMark? December 7, 2023 - 11:11 pm

y no talk of who pays? we need ansrs!

Clim8eAdv0cate December 8, 2023 - 1:05 am

leaders shuld b serious, no more delay.


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