16 November 2023

COP28 introduction: agenda, goals, and the future of the green economy

The United Nations’ 28th Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP28) will run from 30 November – 12 December 2023 at Expo City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The conference brings together politicians, activists, citizens, and business representatives from over 190 countries to set the course for the future of the green economy.

According to the United Nations (UN), “climate change is the defining crisis of our time and it is happening even more quickly than we feared.” Therefore, it is no surprise that COP28 is set to be one of the largest and most important international gatherings of 2023, with over 70,000 delegates expected to attend, including heads of state and leaders from 197 countries around the world.

Since the inception of the Paris Agreement at COP21 in 2015, UN member countries have been committed to keeping average global temperature rises around 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels and strengthening the world’s ability to adapt to the effects of climate change.

COP28 will present an opportunity to achieve further progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. The COP28 agenda will also be focused on four additional ‘paradigm shifts.’

1) Fast tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030

COP28 aims to significantly reduces emissions and builds on the progress made during previous summits. In particular, COP28 aims to accelerate mitigation efforts to develop decarbonisation strategies aligned with the Paris Agreement, implement carbon market and non-market approaches to attract investments, ensuring a faster transition towards a fossil-free energy system.

The COP28 Presidency, in partnership with global state and industry collaborators, is advancing a comprehensive energy plan in alignment with scientific recommendations. This plan includes a focus on tripling renewable energy capacity, reducing oil and gas emissions, transitioning high-emission sectors to low-carbon technologies, promoting fossil-free transportation, and accelerating the phaseout of unabated coal power, while encouraging action, transparency, and accountability from companies and countries in line with global standards.

2) Deliver old promises and set the framework for a new deal on finance

According to the COP28 Presidency, finance is essential for climate action, especially in developing countries, but the current financial system is inadequate to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, as those will require over $2.4 trillion annually by 2030. COP28 will urge the leaders of the developed countries to fund the Green Climate Fund, double adaptation finance by 2025, and scaleup adaptation efforts.

COP28 will aim to establish a new financial architecture, promoting dialogue on finance principles and reforming international financial institutions. This approach also seeks innovative solutions to mobilise private capital through regulatory reforms and voluntary carbon markets, accelerating climate progress in developing nations.

3) Put nature, people, lives, and livelihoods at the heart of climate action

COP28 will focus on addressing the impacts of climate change by prioritising adaptation, enhancing adaptation finance and ensuring support for those facing severe climate impacts. The conference emphasises a Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) framework, which aims to promote efforts on nature, food, health, water, and relief, and champions conservation and adaptation, highlighting the roles of women and indigenous peoples, while addressing climate-related humanitarian and security challenges through initiatives like Early Warnings for All and the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership.

4) Mobilise for the most inclusive COP

COP28 will prioritise inclusivity, collaborating with diverse groups for active participation, emphasising gender balance, and promoting indigenous peoples’ access to finance. The Youth Climate Champion, Minister Shamma Al Mazrui, strengthens youth engagement through initiatives like the International Youth Delegates program, calling for continued support. The COP28 program embraces innovation and inclusivity, addressing various topics, and urges commitment to multilevel partnerships.

COP28 will set the course for the future of the green economy, and the four paradigm shifts will serve as a blueprint for the immediate action that might expect from the leaders attending the conference. We also expect governments to continue to implement local policies to support innovation in cleantech. All solutions and innovative concepts helping to fulfil the green agenda and mitigate climate change should be protected, and the best way to do so is with help of intellectual property rights.

At Mathys & Squire, we work with many cleantech clients on green technology breakthroughs and sustainable solutions. We are pleased to partner with companies and inventors who are addressing climate change and whose initiatives further the objectives set forth by COP28.

We eagerly await the results of the COP28 summit to see how they will influence the future of the green economy.