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Exploring from carbon capture to King Charles: what to anticipate at Cop28.

King Charles

King Charles is a renowned and esteemed advocate for the environment, internationally known for his contributions to the Paris climate summit in 2015 and Cop26 in Glasgow in 2021. However, he was unable to attend Cop27 in Egypt last year due to interference from Downing Street. Now, upon the request of the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates, who shared a friendly relationship with the late Queen, King Charles has returned. Listeners can compare his speech at the world climate action summit to his first address as king at the opening of parliament, where he was obligated to read Rishi Sunak’s plans for increased oil drilling in the North Sea.

Sunak is expected to be present at Cop28, potentially anticipating that Bashar al-Assad, who was also invited, will not attend. The pope and Ursula von der Leyen from the EU will be in attendance, but instead of personally attending, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, the leaders of the two largest emitters in the world, will be sending representatives.

King Charles speaking at a lectern during Cop26 in Glasgow


Estimates suggest that one-third of the global food supply may be jeopardized if temperatures continue to rise. Agriculture is a significant factor in this predicament as livestock contribute methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and fertilizers release nitrous oxide, another greenhouse gas. Additionally, the conversion of forests, wetlands, and peatlands into croplands results in the loss of large carbon sinks.

In the past, food has not been a major focus at Cops. However, this time, leaders will be required to sign a unique declaration regarding food, which will be released at the beginning of the conference. Additionally, a few days later, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization will present its plan for how to sustainably feed a growing population while staying within the 1.5C temperature limit.


The climate crisis has significant impacts on neglected health issues, which will be highlighted at Cop28 through a dedicated day. Heatwaves have become more severe, putting workers in fields at risk of heatstroke. Additionally, floods and droughts pose threats of disease and water scarcity, while vector-borne illnesses like malaria, dengue fever, and Zika are spreading beyond their usual regions. Doctors and health experts are growing increasingly worried about the consequences of the climate crisis, as a recent report from the Lancet medical journal revealed that billions of people are at risk.


Decreasing methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas that is 80 times more impactful than carbon dioxide but dissipates faster in the atmosphere, could potentially limit the global temperature increase by 0.3C in the coming decades. This would greatly aid efforts to stay within the critical threshold of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. However, methane levels have been on the rise and the primary contributors are fossil fuel operations, which release the gas. As part of the COP summit, the UAE will host its first-ever methane summit where participating countries and oil companies will be expected to present strategies for tackling this issue.

Decarbonisation accelerator

Hosting a climate conference in a leading oil-producing nation may seem paradoxical. However, Sultan Al Jaber, president of Cop28 and CEO of the UAE’s national oil company Adnoc, disagrees. He believes he can rally oil companies and wealthy nations to participate in ways that others cannot. He plans to convene a consortium of oil companies in a “decarbonization accelerator” where they will commit to reducing emissions from their extraction processes. However, this may not encompass the primary impact of their operations on the environment: the emissions from consuming their products.

Loss and damage

When severe weather caused by climate change affects low-income countries, it can cause setbacks in development and undo progress made in economic prosperity. Last year, wealthier nations reached an agreement for the establishment of a new fund to aid the most vulnerable communities in times of crisis. It took several months of negotiations to come up with a compromise plan for the fund, which was finally drafted a few weeks ago. However, the actual funds are still missing as developed countries are expected to contribute and larger developing nations and oil-rich governments are encouraged to do the same. There have also been discussions about potentially implementing new sources of funding, such as taxes on oil and gas profits, shipping, and frequent flyers.

A worker in overalls fumigates a room in Indonesia to tackle the spread of dengue fever

Global stocktake

In 2021, the initial “global stocktake” will take place as outlined in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. This assessment will evaluate the progress, or lack thereof, that countries have made in meeting their emissions reduction targets. It is already apparent that we are not on track to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, so the stocktake is not expected to reveal any unexpected findings. However, it will serve as a crucial tool within the UN process to compel countries to revisit their strategies and develop more ambitious plans for reducing emissions in the next two years.

Fossil fuel phase-out

It is surprising that despite almost three decades of climate negotiations, there has not been a successful agreement on addressing the main culprit of the issue – fossil fuels. This can be attributed to the immense influence of fossil fuel producers, as seen in the delayed inclusion of a resolution on fossil fuels in the “cover decision” of Cop26, the annual UN conference on climate change. This resolution specifically pledges to reduce the use of coal. Even at Cop27, despite efforts from over 80 countries, a decision to completely eliminate fossil fuels was not passed.

During this year’s conference, there will be a continued debate over the use of language, with some advocating for a complete elimination of fossil fuels and others pushing for a less strict “phase down” approach.

(CCS) is a process where carbon dioxide is captured from large industrial sources, such as power plants, and then stored underground or used for enhanced oil recovery

CCS is a method in which carbon dioxide is taken from major industrial sources, like power plants, and either stored underground or utilized for enhanced oil recovery.

The term “unabated” refers to the utilization of methods like carbon capture and storage (CCS) to eliminate emissions from the environment once fossil fuels have been consumed. While some countries may want to implement this technology to sustain their oil and gas operations, experts caution that this is not feasible. Despite two decades of progress, CCS is not being used on a large scale and is costly, making it only suitable for certain geological locations. Activists are concerned that oil-producing nations, including the UAE, may use CCS as a disguise to continue profiting from fossil fuels. Additionally, the UK has also invested a significant amount of money in CCS.

The UK

Rishi Sunak’s reversal of green policies, which the independent Climate Change Committee cautioned could hinder the UK’s ability to achieve its legally binding goal of reaching net zero by 2050, will cast a shadow over the PM’s presence at Cop28. His commitment to “maximize” North Sea operations, despite the International Energy Agency’s warning that no new oil and gas exploration should occur in order to stay within the 1.5C limit, has provoked disapproval from the UK’s former allies in the fight against climate change. This is despite the US also expanding its production, despite President Joe Biden’s green Inflation Reduction Act. Lord Stern, a climate economist, criticized the government’s “backtracking” in a speech to the House of Lords this month. Labour’s Ed Miliband will also be attending Cop28.

Source: theguardian.com