Fresh Energy at COP28, the U. N. Climate Change Conference

By |

2023 will be is J.’s eighth year at the U.N. Climate Change Conference! Stay tuned to this page for updates ahead of COP28 and daily during the conference.

December 1 | New climate fund for Global South

Today the United Arab Emirates (UAE) committed $30 billion in catalytic capital to a climate-focused investment vehicle to improve access to funding for the Global South. The investment vehicle, ALTERRA, will be based in Abu Dhabi and President Al Jaber will chair its board. It aims to mobilize $250 billion into projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially ones that are based in the Global South.

Reaching our emission reduction targets laid out in the Paris Agreement hinges on better financing to build climate solutions, and this is a great step in ensuring the Global South is not left out of the transition.

November 30 | COP28 Begins

Today marks the first day of COP28. Seventy thousand people from nearly 200 nations are assembling in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), amid war and a global energy boom in the Persian Gulf city built by UAE’s oil wealth.

COP28 convened its opening ceremony convened, and I was in the room as COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber led proceedings. “The UAE feels the urgency of this work; the world has reached a crossroads,” said President Al Jaber. “The road we’ve been on will not get us to our destination in time. We now have to find a new road, starting with a decision at the Global Stocktake to greatly accelerate climate action.”

President Al Jaber stated that there are three core elements that need to come together: mitigation, adaptation, and implementation—including financing, noting that there was no time to waste to reach consensus and not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. “It is on me to focus like a laser on the 1.5-degree Celsius target set in the Paris Agreement,” he said. “The next two weeks will not be easy. We have to improve lives of people, and all of us need clean energy, clean water, clean food, and a safe and secure future,” said President Al Jaber.

President Al Jaber

President Al Jaber has gone on record: We need these deep results, and the world cannot wait.

Another speaker was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair Simon Stiell, who is the Executive Secretary of the United Nationals Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He stated that we are on track to reach 3 degrees Celsius of global warming if we don’t greatly accelerate our global climate actions. “We must teach climate action to run,” said Chair Stiell. “We have to decide to make everyone on the planet safe, to commit to paying for Loss and Damage to the most vulnerable nations and commit to a new energy system.” Finally, Stiell pointed out that “in the next two years by early 2025 countries must deliver new, very robust national plans for climate action,” and that our children and grandchildren are “looking to us to speed up rapidly climate action.”

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair Simon Stiell

President Al Jaber announced the Loss and Damage Fund was the first agenda item before the UNFCCC ever adopted on day one of a U.N. Climate Change Conference. This international fund is now being operationalized based on consensus recommendations achieved at a special fifth meeting convened by now-President Al Jaber to help communities rebuild from the damages caused by climate change. The name of the fund is still to be determined. The deal announced for global climate damages means that delegates to COP28 will have one less thing to argue about over the next two weeks. The head of the U.S. negotiating team, Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry, said to me on November 29: “The nearly 200 Parties to the UNFCCC are going to have to move at a much, much faster rate and deploy many more trillions of dollars in order to achieve our goals. The U.S. is relentlessly in an effort to get what we need to win this battle.”

I will report to you what is decided by the end of COP28. My next post will summarize commitments from world leaders made on December 1 and 2. Expected speakers include over 100 leaders, including from India, France, Germany, as well as the highest-ranking American, Vice President Kamala Harris. The Pope is also expected to speak.

November 29 | J. Arrives in United Arab Emirates Before COP28

Hello from COP28 in Dubai, a city on the coast of the Persian Gulf in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that is hosting this year’s annual climate summit. I arrived late last week to get familiarized with the unique features of Dubai before the summit kicks off. I couldn’t think of a better way than touring the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, to see Dubai from an open balcony on the 148th floor. Check out the video below to see the supreme “out-sizedness” of Burj Khalifa—even in a city with hundreds of skyscrapers, it really stands out.

I learned on my tour that the Burj Khalifa collects 15 million gallons of water a year created by the condensation of humid air off the Gulf of Arabia. This allows the building owner to harvest and use the equivalent of fifteen Olympic-sized swimming pools of water on site.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, the beginning day of COP28, where nearly 200 countries will convene and build consensus on climate action.

Please check back daily for updates from COP on what we’re discussing and how we’re progressing.

November 9, 2023 | Looking ahead to COP27 in the United Arab Emirates

After a year of exciting progress for clean energy and climate, representatives from Minnesota and the U.S. are gearing up to attend the global climate summit, COP28, the U.N. Climate Change Conference in the United Arab Emirates. Get the scoop from J. on what she anticipates will be up for discussion, what the “gobal stocktake” will involve, and why this is the most important COP since Paris in 2015. Check out the video and audio recordings of J.’s webinar below.