COP28 update: Day 1, 30 November

Greetings from Dubai! COP28 is underway, and we barely had enough time to find our way to the IETA Business Hub, start working out where the best coffee is to be found (still working on that) and update our COP28 online hub before the summit had leap-frogged the opening statements and was diving into matters of substance.

While world leaders were preparing their statements for tomorrow’s high-level segment of the summit, their negotiating teams stole their thunder with the approval – in the opening plenary, no less! – of the decision to operationalise the Loss & Damage Fund, just one year after its establishment. The United Arab Emirates and Germany both went one better by each committing $100 million to the Fund.

A Transitional Committee established in Sharm el-Sheikh last year reached an eleventh-hour deal earlier this month to house the Fund at the World Bank, but could not agree on requiring contributions from developed country Parties, a timeline for contributions, or criteria for disbursing funds to climate-affected countries. These disagreements were reflected in some Party statements.

But as you might imagine, the agreement on operationalising the fund so quickly has been warmly welcomed by all Parties and it certainly put a spring in the step of Dr. Sultan al-Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, CEO of ADNOC and Masdar and COP28 President, who has had a torrid few days.

This largely financial issue runs parallel to discussions on the New Collective Quantified Goal on climate finance. With experts predicting that developed countries have, as of 2022, finally reached the target agreed in Copenhagen of mobilising $100 billion a year in financial flows to developing countries by 2020, and with the Loss & Damage Fund now dealt with, it’s the perfect moment to start talks about the next goal for 2025.

The other headline issue this year will be the first Global Stocktake, in which the COP runs the rule over Parties’ Nationally Determined Contributions and assesses their ambition in light of the Paris Agreement goals.

The welter of reports and analyses that have appeared in the past few months should leave us in no doubt that the world is not on track to keep global temperature increases to less than 2 degrees. Some sources suggest that we are still struggling to even stay below 3 degrees. So the COP Presidency’s job here in Dubai will be to cajole, encourage, hector and persuade Parties to up their game.

Other issues that got an airing in the opening session included a formal acknowledgement of the disagreement over where to host next year’s COP. It’s Eastern Europe’s turn in 2024, but Russia has so far blocked any EU member state, while the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute has prevented Azerbaijan from tabling a bid. Dubai is not thought to be very keen on a repeat in 2024, but that may be the only option. (It’s Brazil in 2025, by the way.)

Russia made a rare intervention in the opening plenary to criticise the granting of observer status to certain organisations that it asserted were funded by the United States government, which prompted a brusque riposte from US climate envoy John Kerry.

We will get those opening statements from world leaders starting tomorrow, while our own packed agenda of side events leaps into gear as well.

Of course, the main focus of the IETA team here at COP will be Article 6, where delegates will be absorbing the two recommendations from the Article 6.4 Supervisory Body on requirements for the development and assessment of Article 6.4 mechanism methodologies and on activities involving removals under the Article 6.4 mechanism.

The agenda for this COP was agreed during the opening session of the SBSTA, which also appointed the co-facilitators for consultations on Article 6.2 and Article 6.4. These are the same as last year (Norway and Saudi Arabia for Article 6.2; Australia and Bhutan for Article 6.4). Negotiations will begin on the basis of the SBSTA chair informal notes published last week, which you can find here (Art. 6.2, Art. 6.4)

Talks will begin in earnest tomorrow, even while leaders are making their statements to the plenary, and we will report back with any developments in tomorrow’s email.

Coming up tomorrow at IETA’s COP28 Business Hub

IETA’s COP28 programme kicks off on Friday morning. Many of the events hosted at the IETA Business Hub will be webcast – just click on the link by each event to participate! All event times are listed in Gulf Standard time, which is three hours ahead of Central European time and two hours behind Singapore.

0800-0930: Delivering High-Integrity in 2024: An Update from the VCM Standard Setters, with Annette Nazareth (ICVCM), Mark Kenber (VCMI) and Kelley Kizzier (Bezos Earth Fund). Event webcast.

0930-1100: Pacific Islands/Small Island Resilience: Advancing Climate Goals through Paris Agreement Strategies, with Kamesh Iyer (STX), Nelson Kalo (Vanuatu), Naveen Kumar Pawar (Neo Climate Solutions), Anthony Garae (Vanuatu), Joanna Latasi (Tuvalu) and David Tufi (Solomon Islands). Event webcast.

1100-1230Towards Paris-Aligned Carbon Markets, with Nicolas Kreibich (Wuppertal Institute), Malin Ahlberg (BMWK), Martin Hession (European Commission), representatives from Pakistan, Thailand and Colombia. Event webcast.

1230-1315Decarbonisation Decoded: The Macroeconomic, Geopolitical, and Corporate Finance Implications of Net-Zero, with Zachery Halem (Lazard Climate Centre), Nikita Singhal (Lazard Asset Management, Peter Orszag (Lazard), William McRaven (University of Texas) and Joseph Aldy (Harvard Kennedy School. Event webcast.

1400-1530Carbon Markets: Past, Present, Future, with Anshari Rahman (GenZero), Dirk Forrister (IETA), Frederick Teo (GenZero), Tan Chong Meng (PSA), May Liew (Gen Zero), Tim Gould (IEA) and Michael Webber (Energy Impact Partners). Event webcast.

1530-1700Unlocking Climate Finance with Carbon Removal, with Philip Moss (NextGen DR Facility), Ali D. Mohamed (Kenya), Daniel Hanna (Barclays), Nawal Al-Hosany (IRENA), Steve Kell (1Point5 International) and Sanjeev Khagram (UN High Level Climate Champion). Event webcast.

1700-1800Article 6 and Carbon Market Opportunities in the APAC Region, with Janet Hallows (Carbon Market Institute), David Tow (Tasman Environmental Markets), Ivy Yuwei Yin (S&P Global Commodity Insights), Apisai Rinamalo (Fiji) and Takashi Hongo (Mitsui & Co. Global Strategic Studies Institute). Event webcast.

1800-1930: A Women’s Panel on Fairness, Transparency and Equality: A Reality Check on CCP 7, with Anna Lehman (Wildlife Works) and invited speakers. Event webcast.

Don’t forget you can see the full programme overview (as well as all COP28-related IETA content) on our COP28 online hub!