As we approach the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), you will have undoubetdely heard the term COP28 being thrown around in news reports and social media. But what is COP28, and why should you be interested?
Cop28 will be divided into two zones, the Blue Zone and the Green Zone.
The Blue Zone
The Blue Zone is an area supervised by the UNFCCC, accessible exclusively to delegates with official accreditation. This zone serves as the central hub for the conference’s official negotiations over its two-week duration. Additionally, it is the venue for the Global Climate Action Summit, various national pavilions, events led by the presiding officials, and a multitude of side activities including panel debates, roundtable discussions and cultural programs.
The Green Zone
The Green Zone will be a space to foster conversation and raise consciousness regarding climate initiatives, welcoming participants without accreditation, such as youth organisations, civil society members, NGOs, business representatives, indigenous communities and the broader public.
Attendees must complete a registration process, and details regarding scheduled events will be provided upon completion.
Should you have any questions related to the Green Zone, please reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at +971 800 COP28, available from 8:00 to 22:00, seven days a week.
Meanwhile, here are five essential things you need to know about COP28 and how it could impact your life.
1. What is COP28?
COP28 is a global summit taking place in Dubai between the 30th Novemver to the 12th December at Dubai Expo City. For two weeks, world leaders, policymakers and various stakeholders will gather to discuss and negotiate actions to address climate change. These annual meetings are a part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is an international treaty aimed at preventing dangerous human interference with the climate system.
COP28 is a significant event because it marks the second Global Stocktake since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, whereby parties will come together to assess collective progress towards achieving long-term goals. This includes considerations of mitigation, adaptation, and the means of implementation and support for developing countries.
2. What is the Paris Agreement?
The Paris Agreement is an international treaty that was adopted at COP21 in 2015. It aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with an aspirational goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Countries that have ratified the Agreement commit to enhancing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) over time, which are their individual commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016 and has been ratified by a large majority of countries around the world. Its implementation is seen as crucial for the global effort to address climate change and mitigate its impacts.
How does this affect you?
The Paris Agreement is the cornerstone of global climate action and will shape the future of our planet. The decisions made at COP28 will directly impact the global efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, which include transitioning to clean energy, protecting natural ecosystems, and developing climate-resilient infrastructure. These changes will affect everything from the air you breathe to the food you eat and the jobs available in your community.
3. What is Climate Finance?
Climate finance refers to the funding provided by developed countries to support climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries. This includes grants, loans, and other forms of financial assistance. One of the key discussions at COP28 is expected to be around the mobilisation of climate finance, and the loss and damage fund implemneted at COP27 in Egypt last year.
The aim of the Loss and Damage Fund is to provide financial assistance to poorer nations as they deal with the negative consequences that arise from the unavoidable risks of climate change such as rising sea levels, extreme heat waves, desertification, forest fires and crop failures. The issue has been contentious because it raises questions about liability and compensation, particularly from countries that have contributed the most to greenhouse gas emissions historically.
How does this affect you?
Climate finance is increasingly influencing the daily lives of people in developed nations. The mobilisation of climate finance at COP28 will impact the global efforts to transition to a low-carbon economy and develop climate-resilient infrastructure. As investments flow into sustainable sectors, consumers are witnessing a surge in the availability of eco-friendly products, from the latest electric vehicles to energy-efficient home appliances. This shift is accompanied by changes in energy costs, where a move towards renewables may initially raise costs due to carbon pricing, but could eventually lead to lower utility bills.
Meanwhile, the growing green economy is fostering new job opportunities, prompting a shift in workforce dynamics as demand for green skills rises. These financial trends are subtly but surely nudging consumer behavior towards more environmentally conscious decisions, embedding sustainability into the fabric of everyday life.
4. What is Mitigation and Adaptation?
Mitigation refers to actions taken to reduce or prevent the emission of greenhouse gases, such as transitioning to renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, and protecting natural carbon sinks like forests. Adaptation, on the other hand, involves making adjustments to social, economic, and environmental practices to minimise the damage caused by climate change, such as developing early warning systems and improving infrastructure.
How does this affect you?
Climate mitigation and adaptation have tangible impacts on the daily lives of people worldwide and the discussions and decisions around mitigation and adaptation at COP28 will directly impact the daily lives of people worldwide.
Mitigation efforts can lead to changes in energy sources, from coal and oil to wind and solar, which may alter energy prices and availability. This shift can affect everything from the cost of heating homes to the price of goods, as industries pass on the costs of cleaner production to consumers.
Adaptation strategies, on the other hand, are responses to the effects of climate change. These might include reinforcing infrastructure to withstand extreme weather events or modifying agricultural practices due to changing climate zones. For the average person, this could mean increased taxes to fund these projects, changes in food prices and availability due to crop adjustments, and possibly the need to modify homes or relocate from areas prone to flooding or other climate-induced hazards.
5. What is a Just Transition?
A Just Transition is a framework that aims to ensure a fair and equitable shift towards a low-carbon economy, protecting the rights and livelihoods of workers and communities that may be adversely affected by the transition. COP28 is expected to address the issue of a Just Transition, as it is an essential component of achieving global climate goals.
How does this affect you?
A Just Transition is critical to ensuring that the shift towards a low-carbon economy benefits everyone, not just a select few. The discussions and decisions around a Just Transition at COP28 will impact the global efforts to create green jobs, protect workers’ rights, and ensure that communities are not left behind in the transition to a low-carbon economy. This, in turn, will affect the job market, economic opportunities, and social equity in your community.
Kate Hardcastle MBE is a UK Broadcaster, Sustainability Champion and founder of ‘Buy Smarter, Buy Greener’