COP28: Highlights of the United Nations Climate Change Summit
From November 30 to December 12, 2023, the 28th United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP28) took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This event was significant in the international community's collective effort to address the severe challenges of climate change. In this article, Naan will summarize the key highlights of the summit, including substantial reports, commitments from countries, action initiatives, and activities of businesses.
During the summit, scientific reports on the global climate situation were released, presenting alarming figures on the adverse impacts of climate change on temperature, humidity, rainfall, flooding, energy, and human health. Some important reports include:
Temporary Global Climate Status Report 2023 (Photo: WMO)
On November 30, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released the Temporary Global Climate Status Report at COP28, indicating that 2023 will be the hottest year recorded, with the global average temperature surpassing 1.4 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. The past nine years (2015 to 2023) have also been the warmest recorded. Currently, El Niño and greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion are significant factors contributing to the continued temperature increase this year. The WMO noted in early September that the current El Niño event is expected to last until at least November 2024. Under the influence of El Niño, land and ocean temperatures are likely to rise even further.
Global Drought Overview 2023 (Photo: UNCCD)
On December 1, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Secretariat announced the Global Drought Profile 2023, highlighting that human-induced drought over the past two years has caused an unprecedented emergency. Land restoration and sustainable management are necessary to enhance resilience before drought. The report calls for the application of nature-based farming techniques, such as cultivating drought-resistant crops, efficient irrigation methods, and soil conservation methods, to help communities reduce the impact of drought on crops and income. The report advocates for international cooperation, knowledge sharing, and environmental and social justice.
Report on Global Cooling 2023 (Photo: UNEP)
On December 5, the Cool Coalition led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced the "Global Cooling Observatory Report 2023," indicating that significant steps to reduce the energy consumption of cooling devices can cut at least 60% of the expected emissions from the sector by 2050. Promoting life-saving cooling services, reducing pressure on the energy grid, and saving trillions of USD by 2050. The report outlines sustainable cooling measures in three main areas: passive cooling, improving energy efficiency standards, and reducing the use of refrigerants that contribute to climate warming faster; Implementing these measures will help reduce 60% of emissions; This, combined with the rapid decarbonization of the power grid, could reduce 96% of emissions from the cooling sector.
During the summit, countries demonstrated their commitment and determination to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transition to green energy, support developing countries, and promote international cooperation. Some commitments and proposals from major countries and groups are as follows:
China: Three Proposals for Global Climate Governance (Photo: COP28)
On December 1, Ding Xuexiang, Special Representative of President Xi Jinping, Politburo Standing Committee Member, Deputy Prime Minister of the State Council, attended the summit and delivered a speech. He pointed out that China always keeps its promises and has made significant contributions to global climate governance. The country also put forward three proposals for global climate governance: practicing multilateralism, accelerating green transition, and enhancing implementation actions: First, we must adhere to the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the goals and principles set out by the Paris Agreement; second, actively increase the proportion of renewable energy, promote the use of clean, low-carbon, and efficient traditional energy, while accelerating the development of green and low-carbon energy and energy-efficient methods and production carbon. Third, fully implement all commitments made by all countries, especially developed countries need to enhance financial support, technology transfer, and capacity building efficiently for developing countries.
United Kingdom: Commits £1.6 Billion to Restore Climate Dialogue (Photo : COP28)
On December 1, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom delivered a speech at the COP28 climate summit, urging major emitting countries to expedite the process of implementing emission reduction commitments. On that day, Sunak announced that he would invest £1.6 billion in renewable energy, green innovation, and forests to implement the Glasgow Climate Pact. At the same time, Sunak announced a new agreement between the state-owned UAE renewable energy company Masdar and German energy giant RWE, including a commitment to jointly invest up to £11 billion in the UK's Dogger Bank wind farm. The new wind farm will be the world's largest and will boost the UK's renewable energy sector, creating jobs, providing electricity, and other areas.
United States: Transforming the Food System to Combat Climate Change (Photo COP28)
On December 1, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken gave a speech titled "Transforming the Food System to Address Climate Change" at a COP28 leaders' event. Blinken announced that the United States will join the UAE's Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action, and will also serve as a founding member of a technical cooperation organization to help realize its vision. Blinken stated that the United States is also working with partners to rethink what food to produce, where, and how on a changing planet, with the goal of enabling farmers and ranchers to do so at lower cost, on less land, and with fewer emissions. richer and higher-yielding crops.
Japan: Will Issue National Transition Bonds to Promote Carbon Reduction (Photo: COP28)
On December 1, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida declared in a speech at COP28 that Japan will implement a carbon pricing mechanism based on growth-oriented GX Promotion Law. In 2024, the world's first internationally certified national transition bonds will be issued. By accelerating the promotion of GX, we will strive to achieve a balance between emissions reduction, providing stable energy, and economic growth, while making a significant contribution to the global carbon reduction process. This is expected to catalyze carbon reduction initiatives in industry and Asia, attracting global capital for GX investment in Asia, estimated at 4,000 trillion yen by 2050. At the same time, Japan hopes to make contributions through specific projects under the "Asia Zero Emissions Community" (AZEC) initiative and will host the first AZEC summit in Tokyo in mid-December.
Kazakhstan: Participates in Global Commitments to Reduce Methane Emissions (Photo: COP28)
On December 1, President Tokayev of Kazakhstan highlighted in his speech at COP28 that Kazakhstan is the first country in Central Asia to ratify the Paris Agreement and aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. He stated that Kazakhstan's new environmental laws promote the widespread adoption of "green" technologies across various sectors of the national economy. President Tokayev believes that reducing methane emissions is the quickest way to slow down global warming, and Kazakhstan is committed to global initiatives to reduce methane emissions.
Arab countries have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% compared to 2010 levels by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2070. They have also proposed a regional action plan on climate change, including actions in energy, transportation, industry, agriculture, and forestry. Arab countries have collaborated with other nations in the Middle East and North Africa to promote international cooperation.
On November 30, COP28 passed a resolution on the activities of the Fund for Loss and Damage (Photo: COP28)
During the conference, many action initiatives were launched or participated in by countries, organizations, businesses, and individuals in areas such as climate finance, renewable energy, mitigation, agriculture and food, health, and gender. Some notable action initiatives include:
- Climate Finance Initiative: This initiative aims to enhance climate finance for developing countries, especially the smallest and poorest nations, to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation actions. The initiative has garnered participation from over 100 countries, organizations, and businesses, with a total financial commitment of up to USD 100 billion per year.
- Renewable Energy Initiative: This initiative aims to increase the use of renewable energy, particularly solar and wind energy, to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. Over 50 countries, organizations, and businesses have participated, with a total commitment of up to 1,000 GW of renewable energy by 2030.
- Mitigation Initiative: This initiative aims to reduce heat in urban and rural areas, especially in hot and arid regions, to minimize the impact of climate change on human health. Over 40 countries, organizations, and businesses have participated, with a total commitment to reduce temperature by up to 2 degrees Celsius by 2030.
- Agriculture and Food Initiative: This initiative aims to enhance sustainable agriculture and food security, especially for developing countries, ensuring food security and nutrition for the population. Over 30 countries, organizations, and businesses have participated, with a total commitment of up to 100 million tons of agricultural and food products by 2030.
- Health and Gender Initiative: This initiative aims to strengthen health and gender equality, especially for women and children, in the context of climate change. Over 20 countries, organizations, and businesses have participated, with a total commitment to health and gender reaching up to 10 million people by 2030.
Tencent and other companies jointly launched the "Global Low-Carbon Innovation Alliance" (Photo: COP28)
During the conference, many businesses showcased technological innovation, community support, and participation in global alliances to address climate change. Some activities of notable businesses include:
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: The foundation has pledged to invest USD 2 billion over the next 5 years to support developing countries in developing and deploying green technology solutions, such as solar energy, energy storage, smart agriculture, and biotechnology. The foundation has also collaborated with countries, organizations, and businesses with the goal of developing and deploying green technology solutions.
- Tencent: Tencent, one of the world's largest technology companies, has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2060. Tencent has proposed a green strategy, including actions in energy, transportation, industry, agriculture, and forestry. Tencent has also collaborated with countries, organizations, and businesses with the goal of developing and deploying green technology solutions.
- State Grid: State Grid, one of the world's largest electric utility companies, has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. State Grid has proposed a green strategy, including actions in energy, transportation, industry, agriculture, and forestry. State Grid has also collaborated with countries, organizations, and businesses with the goal of developing and deploying green technology solutions.
- Jinko Solar: Jinko Solar, one of the world's largest solar panel manufacturers, has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2040. Jinko Solar has proposed a green strategy, including actions in energy, transportation, industry, agriculture, and forestry. Jinko Solar has also collaborated with countries, organizations, and businesses with the goal of developing and deploying green technology solutions.
Main Themes of Conference Days
December 3 is designated as "Health Day," the first of COP (Photo: COP28)
During the conference, each day was dedicated to a main theme, focusing on important and urgent issues related to climate change. Some main themes of conference days include:
- 12/3 - Health Day: This day is dedicated to raising awareness and taking action on the impact of climate change on human health, especially for vulnerable populations such as women, children, the elderly, and the poor. The day is also used for exchanging and sharing experiences and solutions to protect and improve health in the context of climate change, such as temperature reduction, enhanced forecasting and warning, and improved resilience.
- 12/4 - Gender Day: This day is dedicated to raising awareness and taking action on the impact of climate change on gender equality, especially for women and girls who often bear the brunt of climate change impacts. The day is also used for exchanging and sharing experiences and solutions to promote the role and rights of women and girls in coping with climate change, such as increased participation, decision-making, and leadership, and improved coping abilities.
- 12/5 - Energy Day: This day is dedicated to raising awareness and taking action on the impact of climate change on energy, especially for developing countries, nations with high energy needs, and those heavily dependent on fossil energy. The day is also used for exchanging and sharing experiences and solutions for transitioning to green energy, such as increased use of renewable energy, improved energy efficiency, and enhanced energy transmission and distribution capabilities.
- 12/9 - Nature Day: This day is dedicated to raising awareness and taking action on the impact of climate change on nature, especially in areas with high biodiversity and vulnerability, such as forests, wetlands, oceans, and deserts. The day is also used for exchanging and sharing experiences and solutions to protect and restore nature, such as strengthening management and conservation, improving quality and biodiversity, and enhancing adaptability.
- 12/10 - Food Day: This day is dedicated to raising awareness and taking action on the impact of climate change on agriculture and food, especially for developing countries, nations with large food needs, and those affected by drought and seasonal variations. The day is also used for exchanging and sharing experiences and solutions to enhance sustainable agriculture and food safety, especially for developing countries, such as increasing the use of adaptive crops and livestock, improving land and water management and conservation, and enhancing resilience and recovery.