Sustainability: COP28

Keep up with COP28: The main event

COP28 image of wind turbines
The UAE conference began with speeches from senior figures and heads of government, including from the President of COP28 and the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary. Many called on countries to speed up their action on climate change.
In this article

COP kicks off

  • Dr. Sultan Al Jaber was officially appointed as the COP President, taking over from Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry.[i]
  • Al Jaber began by publishing a summary of a series of high-level dialogues between world leaders and the International Energy Agency (IEA), held in the lead-up to the conference. The IEA said that it was “encouraged by the consistent level of ambition”.[ii]
  • However, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Simon Stiell, said that nations were taking "baby steps" and moving “far too slowly”. He said he was looking for leaders to "take responsibility for speeding things up."[iii]
  • The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, attended the first day of COP, and addressing the conference called for innovative and pragmatic climate action, as well as announcing £1.6 billion in funding for climate projects.[iv]

Early progress at COP28?

Delegates quickly got to work, penning an agreement on assistance for countries vulnerable to climate change, as well as a declaration to transform food systems and reduce their impact on the environment.

  • A ‘Loss and Damage’ fund for the developing countries most exposed to the climate crisis, initially agreed at COP27, was operationalised. The UAE has already committed $100 million for the fund, as did Germany, while the US committed $17.5 million.[v]
  • More than 100 countries also signed a declaration on sustainable agriculture, committing to include agriculture in their climate change plans by COP30 in 2025. The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) described it as a “tentative first step”, adding that agriculture was one of the “thorniest” climate change issues.[vi]

In the news

UK’s King Charles makes impassioned speech

Outspoken environmentalist King Charles III made an impassioned speech during the opening ceremony at COP28, saying the “hope of the world” is at stake during the summit. He urged delegates to consider public and private sector partnerships on climate finance initiatives, in particular discussing the role that the insurance sector could play.  

  • King Charles Urges Action to Slow World’s Descent Into Danger.[vii]

'We don't have two planet Earths’

The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, made a speech to COP28 that urged the conference to make faster climate progress in the interest of protecting humanity.

  • Brazil is set to host COP30 in 2025 and is thus making their voice heard on the world stage. The president, along with other ministers, is urging the Dubai conference to take a more ambitious course of action ahead of their summit which will be hosted in the Amazon.[viii]
  • Brazil has significantly reduced its levels of rainforest deforestation, which will reach zero by 2030, according to Lula da Silva, who is attempting to position Brazil as an example to other countries. Its urgent position on climate negotiations has also been attributed to the intense droughts which have recently affected the country.[ix]


i. - Dr. Sultan Al Jaber to be formally appointed as COP28 President - 30.11.23
ii. - IEA at COP28: IEA and COP28 high-level dialogue on building a 1.5 °C-aligned energy transition - 02.12.23
iii. - UN Climate Change Executive Secretary at COP28 Opening: "Accelerate Climate Action" - 30.11.23
iv. - PM to call for ‘era of action’ at COP28 climate summit - 01.12.23
v. - COP28 Presidency unites the world on Loss and Damage - 30.11.23
vi. - Leaders sign food sustainability declaration at COP28 - 01.12.23
vii. - King Charles Urges Action to Slow World’s Descent Into Danger - 01.12.23
viii. - Brazil to host COP30 climate summit in the Amazon in 2025 - 26.05.23
ix. - 'We don't have two planets Earth,' Brazilian president tells summit (DPA International) - 30.11.23