As the world grapples with the devastating effects of climate change, all eyes will turn to the United Arab Emirates in 2023 as the host of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28). You have an opportunity as a resident of this forward-thinking nation to take pride in the UAE’s leadership on environmental issues and its commitment to building a sustainable future for generations to come.
COP28 will bring together leaders from nearly every country to take action on climate change. Hosting such a pivotal global event places the UAE at the forefront of progress on reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to renewable energy. The choices made at COP28 will shape climate change policy for decades. As the host country, the UAE can drive ambitious goals and help cement its reputation as an eco-friendly destination. You can do your part by reducing waste, conserving natural resources, and making environmentally-friendly choices in your daily life. Together, we can all make COP28 a turning point for a greener future.
What is COP28?
COP28 refers to the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As the premier international climate change conference, COP28 provides a platform for countries to evaluate and strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.
Hosting COP28 is a watershed moment for the UAE. It signals the nation’s commitment to sustainability and ambition to help facilitate the global transition to renewable energy and a low-carbon future. At COP28, the UAE aims to accelerate climate action by encouraging countries to update and enhance their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
COP28 will build upon the outcomes of COP26 and previous conferences to make progress on issues like:
- Mitigation: Transitioning to renewable energy, reducing emissions, and achieving net zero carbon targets. New or updated NDCs are expected from many countries.
- Adaptation and resilience: Enhancing adaptive capacity and strengthening resilience to the effects of climate change like sea level rise, droughts, heatwaves and other extreme weather events.
- Finance: Securing the funding required for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries through mechanisms like the Green Climate Fund.
- Loss and damage: Addressing loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change that mitigation and adaptation cannot avoid.
The UAE has set an ambitious vision for COP28. By bringing countries together, facilitating cooperation, and taking action across these critical areas, COP28 can represent a turning point in global efforts to curb climate change and safeguard our planet. The time for climate action is now.
What to Expect at COP28 Dubai?
As the host of COP28 in 2023, the UAE aims to make it a pivotal moment for global climate action. COP28 will build upon the outcomes of COP27 and previous conferences to further accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable future for all.
You can expect COP28 Dubai to focus on three key areas:
- Raising ambition. Countries will be asked to strengthen their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and long-term strategies to align with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C. New net zero targets and strategies to achieve them will be announced.
- Mobilizing finance. Trillions of dollars in public and private sector finance are required to fund the global transition to renewable energy and more sustainable economies. COP28 will work to unlock new sources of climate finance, especially for developing nations.
- Driving action. COP28 aims to catalyze real-world changes, not just more commitments and pledges. Expect initiatives around renewable energy expansion, zero-emission transport, nature-based solutions, and more. New partnerships between governments, businesses, investors, and citizens will form to accelerate climate solutions.
With its focus on raising ambition, mobilizing finance, and driving action, COP28 signals a shift from planning to implementation. The UAE’s leadership recognizes that time is running out and practical solutions must be deployed at scale. COP28 represents an opportunity for all stakeholders to strengthen their resolve and take the urgent action needed to curb emissions and build climate-resilient communities. By the time COP28 concludes, the world could be on an irreversible path to a sustainable future.
The UAE’s Ambitious Climate Change Goals
The UAE has set ambitious goals to tackle climate change and transition to a greener economy. At COP28 in 2023, the UAE aims to show the world its progress in achieving these objectives and inspire further climate action.
Reducing Carbon Emissions
The UAE plans to cut carbon emissions by 23.5% from business-as-usual levels by 2030. This includes increasing the share of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50% and the share of renewable and nuclear energy in the total energy mix to 44% by 2050. The UAE also wants to double the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix by 2030.
Expanding Renewable Energy
The UAE seeks to scale up solar and other renewable energy sources. It has built the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which will be the world’s largest single-site solar park based on the independent power producer model. The UAE aims for the solar park to have a capacity of 5,000 MW by 2030. The UAE also has wind and waste-to-energy projects in the pipeline.
Phasing Out Inefficient Fossil Fuels
The UAE plans to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and re-allocate funds to support its renewable energy goals. It will also update building codes to boost energy efficiency and sustainability in new developments.
Preserving Natural Habitats
The UAE aims to designate more protected areas, especially marine habitats, and restore degraded ecosystems. It plans to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030 and rehabilitate key habitats for native flora and fauna like the Arabian Oryx.
By hosting COP28, the UAE hopes to highlight the progress made in achieving these climate objectives and inspire more countries to ramp up their climate ambitions. The UAE’s success in transitioning to a greener economy and society can serve as a model for sustainable development in the region.
Promoting Sustainable Event Management Practices
To achieve the UAE’s sustainability goals in hosting COP28, several environmentally-friendly practices must be implemented for managing and operating the event. As the host country, adopting sustainable event management strategies demonstrates your commitment to tackling climate change and transitioning to a greener economy.
Providing low-carbon transportation options for attendees is key. This includes operating efficient shuttle services between venues, hotels and transportation hubs as well as subsidizing public transport passes. Incentivizing the use of electric vehicles by offering charging stations and priority parking for EVs will also help reduce emissions.
Choosing eco-friendly hotels and venues that have sustainability certifications and implement measures like reducing energy and water usage, using renewable energy sources and minimizing waste is ideal. Providing guidelines on sustainability best practices for partner hotels and venues will encourage more local businesses to go green.
Using sustainable and recycled materials will cut down on waste. This includes using recycled paper for printed materials, biodegradable utensils and reusable water bottles, minimizing single-use plastics. Donating unused materials to local organizations for reuse and repurposing what you can for future events is also impactful.
Serving locally-sourced, organic plant-based meals reduces the event’s carbon footprint. Banning items like plastic straws and excessively-packaged snacks in favor of bulk dispensers and reusable containers prevents waste. Composting food waste and donating excess edible food to food banks and shelters also helps.
By prioritizing sustainable practices in all aspects of event organization and operations, COP28 will serve as a model for eco-friendly global gatherings. Implementing even some of these recommendations can make a meaningful difference in mitigating the environmental impact of such a large-scale event. The UAE’s leadership in sustainability will be on display for the world to see.
The UAE securing COP28 is a promising step forward in the global fight against climate change. As the first Middle Eastern country to host the conference, the UAE has the opportunity to bring fresh and impactful perspectives to the table. Their ambitious sustainability goals and investments in renewable energy showcase their commitment to building a greener future. With its central location and experience convening world leaders, the UAE is poised to make COP28 a pivotal moment for accelerating climate progress. Though the challenges ahead are great, the UAE’s leadership proves that by working together we can rise to meet them. COP28 could mark a turning point where words become actions and possibilities turn into realities. The world will be watching and hoping that the UAE’s vision for a sustainable future becomes our shared destiny.