The 28th United Nations conference on climate change opened Thursday with great fanfare in Dubai. For two weeks, negotiations on climate and energy transition promise to be difficult. This conference will draw up a first global assessment of the action taken by all States to comply with the Paris agreement, concluded at COP 21 in 2015, which sets the objective of limiting the rise in temperature to 1 .5°C by the end of the century.
“This is the most important COP since Paris,” declared the head of the UN Climate, Simon Stiell, Wednesday November 29. “We are moving forward today with small steps, while we are expecting giant steps. »
The first major decision of COP28 could come as early as this Thursday, with the adoption in plenary session of the implementation of the new fund to compensate for losses and damage from climate disasters in vulnerable countries. This adoption on day one would allow delegates to focus on the other battles on the agenda, starting with fossil fuels. But its financing remains THE sticking point. Who should contribute to it and who should it benefit? These two questions could not be resolved during the 5 preparatory meetings during the year between 24 Member States. It is presumptuous to imagine that they will be done in two weeks between 200 States.
However, we will remember that the start of the COP was marked by numerous significant announcements from heads of state. First of all, the first day of negotiations saw the launch by the COP of a “loss and damage” fund intended to help vulnerable countries cope with the increasingly costly and damaging consequences of climate disasters. According to a tally from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the first financial promises on Saturday amounted to more than $650 million.
Furthermore, at least 118 countries have signed a call to triple the capacity of renewable energy installed globally and to double the annual rate of improvement in energy efficiency from 2% to 4% by 2030. Energy efficiency or the idea of “consuming less but better” has stalled in the world in 2023, warned the International Energy Agency (IEA) on the eve of the launch of the 28th Climate Conference.
Many analysts are optimistic that in the days that follow, concrete progress is expected on the massive deployment of renewable energies: the COP roadmap provides for their tripling by 2030. Many countries are committed to this path and, unusually, this strategy is the subject of broad consensus. The Emirates, organizers and at the forefront in this sector, intend to achieve a victory on this point to save the furniture because a fiasco on December 12 is not ruled out.
Simon Stiell warned yesterday: “When the leaders leave Dubai after the summit, the instructions to their negotiators must be very clear: do not come home without a real agreement. »
If the first days of COP 28 were marked by the interventions of different heads of state and the various announcements, the rest of the summit will take place with the delegates around the negotiating table and technical discussions. Then, from the end of the week, the ministers will take over for the final stretch of the COP, which is more political. Despite the importance of the various announcements made at the start of the summit, only the final text will be authoritative.