COP28: UAE to follow north star of keeping 1.5°C climate rise limit within reach

COP28 is expected to produce a comprehensive assessment of the global progress since adopting the Paris Agreement on April 22, 2016


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Sat 30 Sep 2023, 4:12 PM

Last updated: Sun 1 Oct 2023, 7:37 PM

The UAE is highly-focused in following its ‘north star’ as it hosts COP28 or the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from November 30 to December 12 at Expo City Dubai.

“We are guided by a single north star, keeping 1.5°C within reach,” COP28 president-designate Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, said on Saturday at the conclusion of the inaugural ‘Climate Future Week’ at Dubai’s Museum of the Future.

The 1.5°C is the global pledge taken by world governments to limit temperature rises to 1.5°C on pre-industrial levels under the 2015 Paris Agreement during COP21.

COP28 UAE is hailed as a milestone moment when the world will take stock of its progress on the Paris Agreement that set the goal to keep the rise in mean global temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and preferably limit the increase to 1.5°C to substantially reduce the effects of climate change.

Speaking at the special session ‘Countdown to COP28’ on the last day of Climate Future Week, Al Jaber said: “As hosts of COP28, we are guided by a single north star, keeping 1.5°C within reach. We aim to do that with a four-part action agenda: (1) fast-tracking a just and orderly energy transition, (2) fixing climate finance, (3) focusing on people, lives and livelihoods and (4) underpinning everything with full inclusivity.”

Acting together

Al Jaber, who is also the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, underscored: “The UAE assumes the responsibility of hosting COP28 with humility and a deep sense of urgency to deliver a future-proofed world for us all. We live in a region where heat is extreme, water is scarce and food systems are fragile. And we also live in an ever-more interconnected world where the impacts of climate change anywhere will affect us everywhere.”

COP28 is expected to produce a comprehensive assessment of the global progress since adopting the Paris Agreement on April 22, 2016. It will also provide measures that are needed to be put in place to bridge the gaps in addressing climate change.

The country’s hosting of the climate conference comes at a time when the world has witnessed summer of 2023 as a season of weather extremes marked by devastating wildfires and debilitating heatwaves across US and Europe, while torrential rains and flash floods hit China and many parts in the Asian and Scandinavian regions.

Al Jaber noted the way to move forward is to “seize the opportunity of COP28 to unite the world and act together to deliver actionable solutions to the climate crisis.”

Whole-of-society approach

Joining Al Jaber in the discussion was UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28 and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) president Razan Al Mubarak. She said: “We need a whole-of-society approach to address climate change and drive a just system transformation. This is why inclusion has been the cornerstone of the COP28 Presidency.”

“While we are seeing closer alignment between the climate and nature agenda, we urgently need to scale up implementation. COP28 will be a pivotal moment to elevate nature as a critical lever to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement,” she underscored.

She added: “I've been focusing on raising the profile of inclusion and nature in order to deliver on this goal. I have been engaging with businesses, investors, cities, regions and civil society to ensure they are a part of the dialogues and shaping the solutions. I have also been advocating for and mobilising nature-positive climate action.”

Al Mubarak noted COP28 is not just a meeting among world leaders but is also an opportunity for everyone to become climate activists or actionists. She added COP28 is also about sharing inspiring stories of ordinary people doing their share in protecting the environment.

More importantly, COP28 is about doing action continued Al Mubarak as she shared an anecdote of her personal conversation with her daughter who asked her: ‘Mama, don’t you think it’s enough talking and let’s start doing?’.

Climate majlis

Meanwhile, the final day of Climate Future Week was also dedicated to Climate Startup Majlis featuring local entrepreneurs who shared effective solutions to accelerate climate resilience by using technology.

Speakers included Dr Saeed Al Khazraji, professor at Khalifa University and founder of Manhat; Lamis Al Hashimy, co-founder of Palmade; Dr Josef Schmidhuber, chief sustainability officer of Pure Harvest; Rabih Elchaar, co-founder of Nadeera; Onur Elgun, co-founder of CarbonSifir; as well as Lara Hussein and Ceylan Uren, co-founders and soil builders at The Waste Lab. They presented innovative solutions, including smart farming, sustainable production and zero waste technology.

The five-day ‘Climate Future Week’ was held in the lead up to COP28 and as part of the UAE’s ‘Year of Sustainability’. It was attended by government officials, industry leaders, futurists, members of civil society, academics, and students.


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