COP 28: A Guide To What Matters

COP 28: A Guide To What Matters

Understanding COP28

What is COP28? COP stands for 'Conference of the Parties,' a global forum where nations address climate change.  It's part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held annually with near-universal participation. The UNFCCC convention entered into force on 21 March 1994. 

Where and When?:  COP28 begins in UAE on Nov 30 and concludes on December 12.

Journey through COP History

  • Rooted in the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio, the UNFCCC set the stage. Key milestones include the Kyoto Protocol (COP 3) and the groundbreaking Paris Agreement (COP 21).
  • Paris Agreement was the landmark climate treaty of 2015, in which countries committed to limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. 

Critical Aspects of COP28

Global Stock Take (GST): This will be a pivotal moment for evaluating progress since the Paris Agreement. The first Global Stock Take (GST) will provide a comprehensive assessment of efforts on climate action, including measures that need to be put in place to bridge the gaps in progress. 

Key Issues for COP8

  • Loss and Damage: Allocating support to nations most affected by climate change. 
    The Loss and Damage Fund (LDF) negotiations have ended in a compromise, with developed and developing countries agreeing to have the World Bank host the Fund as an intermediate host for four years. If the current draft is accepted at COP28, the World Bank will be subjected to evaluation by an independent committee at the end of its tenure.
  • Climate Finance: Spotlight on funding for adaptation and transition in developing countries.
    COP28 will spotlight financing for energy transition, mitigation, and adaptation in developing countries. A recent UN report suggests that up to USD 387 billion annually is required for developing nations to adapt to climate-driven changes. Discussions at COP28 will also explore a new climate finance goal post-2025, with nations advocating for goals in trillions rather than billions.
  • Fossil Fuels: Balancing global push for phaseout with resistance from producing nations.
    Over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90% of carbon dioxide emissions come from fossil fuels. 
    Some fossil fuel-producing nations resist phase-out, arguing for continued extraction with carbon capture technologies, deemed by experts as "expensive and unproven."
  • Renewable Energy: IEA calls for tripling capacity by 2030 to limit global warming. This summit is also likely to see pledges to curb methane emissions, restrict finance for coal plants, and reduce the impact of emissions from air conditioning. 

What has been the relationship and role of India at COP (Source: IndianExpress)

  • From a passive role in earlier COPs to becoming an active participant, India is a vital part of the negotiations. In the 2021 Glasgow meeting, India blocked the final draft outcome at the last minute and got the “phase-out” of coal changed to “phase-down”. At the Sharm El-Shaikh meeting held in 2022, India campaigned for a phase-down of all fossil fuels, not just coal, a proposal that is still too hot to handle for many countries. 
  • India is promoting the need for lifestyle changes to reduce energy consumption and emissions. The IEA analysis shows that even simple lifestyle changes can reduce annual global carbon dioxide emissions by about 2 billion tonnes by 2030. It also said that nearly 60% of these savings could be directly mandated by government actions. India’s life (Lifestyle for Environment) Mission is now much more acceptable to other countries and found its way in the final declaration at the G20 summit in New Delhi. 

Do you know which COP was held in India? COP8 in 2002.

In essence, what is the focus of the discussions at COP 28, and what are the anticipated outcomes?

COP 28 primarily involves evaluating key performance indicators (KPIs) critical to the survival of humanity on Earth. This evaluation, known as the Global Stock Take (GST), is crucial to evaluate the impact to date and agree on actionable measures to enhance it before facing a significant crisis.

Simple takeaways for us as individuals

Even if these are policy matters discussed at a global level, they have implications for the land, water, and air we live and breathe. We can contribute by taking small steps collectively towards sustainable living. We need to become more conscious of our consumption and lifestyle habits and take easy but impactful actions. 


COP28 presents the most critical opportunity, almost eight years after the Paris Agreement, to propel effective climate action into the next phase of the 2030 Agenda. The Conference's outcomes will shape our collective journey toward a sustainable future. 

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