COP 28 Live Blog - 8th December


Welcome to our live blog of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Over the next two weeks, world leaders, policymakers, activists, and experts will gather to discuss and negotiate critical issues related to climate change, biodiversity, and sustainability. The stakes are high, as the world faces a climate crisis that demands urgent and transformative action.
We will be bringing you real-time updates, insights, and exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpses of the event, providing a comprehensive overview of the discussions, decisions, and outcomes of COP 28.

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End Of Day Summary

Updated 23:10h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23

As COP 28 approaches its final days, the focus remains on achieving a robust and ambitious outcome. Today saw developments across key areas. However, several crucial questions remain unanswered, including the final wording on fossil fuels in the agreement, and the host country for COP 29.
Here is a summary of today's key developments:
  • Leaked OPEC letter: OPEC Secretary General urged member countries to reject any agreement reached at COP 28 that targets fossil fuels.
  • Azerbaijan frontrunner for COP29: Diplomatic sources indicate widespread support for Azerbaijan's bid, with Russia's approval removing the threat of a veto.
  • 5 options for fossil fuel phaseout in global stocktake draft: Options range from complete phaseout to no mention of fossil fuels at all.
  • Dubai announces 50% emissions reduction target: Ambitious goal aims to double previous target by 2030.
  • Norway distances itself from Rosebank oil field project: Minister of Foreign Affairs states decision ultimately rests with UK government.
  • COP28 President Al Jaber expresses optimism: Emphasizes the need for continued momentum and achieving consensus on remaining agenda items.
  • New FAO research highlights impact of livestock emissions: Study finds livestock agrifood systems are responsible for 12% of all emissions.
  • Indigenous groups call for protection of rights: Open letter urges delegates to prioritize Indigenous communities during clean energy transition.
  • Australia pledges $150 million for Pacific climate action: Funding will be directed towards existing initiatives rather than the loss and damage fund.
  • Egypt and Canada tasked with developing language on fossil fuels: Canadian Environment Minister Guilbeault expresses confidence in achieving “historic” language.

OPEC Chief “Urges Members To Reject” Anti-Fossil Fuel Deals

Updated 21:30h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23

In a leaked letter, OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais urged member countries to reject any agreement reached at COP 28 that targets fossil fuels “instead of emissions.” The letter, dated December 6th, expresses concern about the draft agreement currently being negotiated, stating that it contains “undue and disproportionate pressure against fossil fuels.” The authenticity of the letter was confirmed by a high-level source from an OPEC member state with access to it.
“...proactively reject any text or formula...pressure against fossil fuels may reach a tipping point with irreversible would be unacceptable that politically motivated campaigns put our people’s prosperity and future at risk”
The draft agreement includes various options, ranging from phasing out all fossil fuels to no language on the topic. OPEC members oppose strong language on phasing out fossil fuels. Negotiations are currently focused on the language surrounding fossil fuels, with the final agreement expected to be reached before COP 28 ends on December 12th.

“The Pieces Of The Puzzle Have Aligned...Azerbaijan Will Host COP 29” - Source

Updated 19:44 GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23
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Azerbaijan has emerged as the frontrunner to host the next UN climate summit, COP 29, in 2024. This follows a deal with its longtime rival, Armenia, and the backing of Russia.
Diplomatic sources indicate widespread support for Azerbaijan's bid, although official negotiations remain ongoing. The selection process was previously deadlocked due to Russia's opposition to any European Union host nation, a “consequence” of ongoing sanctions against Moscow.
Azerbaijan secured Armenia's support by striking a deal late Thursday. Additionally, they obtained Russia's endorsement, removing the threat of a veto. This is crucial, as the host requires unanimous approval from the Eastern European group. While Moldova expressed interest in hosting COP 29 and Serbia considered a potential bid, Azerbaijan appears to have secured the necessary regional backing.
Despite being an oil and gas producer and OPEC+ member, Azerbaijan has addressed concerns regarding its suitability to host a climate summit.
“...I do understand these concerns...Despite the fact that Azerbaijan is rich in oil and gas, Azerbaijan's strategic goals are the diversification of energy, resources, especially applied to wind and solar energy...We received particular support from most of the countries... Russia has also supported our bid..”
- Aykhan Hajizada, Spokesperson of Azerbaijan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

New COP 28 Global Stocktake Draft Proposes Five Options For Fossil Fuel Phaseout

Updated 18:44 GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23
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The new draft text for the global stocktake at COP 28 presents five distinct options for phasing out fossil fuels. These options range from a complete phase-out aligned with scientific recommendations to a "no text" scenario that avoids mentioning fossil fuels altogether.
The draft, now 27 pages long (compared to the 25-page Paris Agreement), outlines the following options:
  • Phase out all fossil fuels in line with science: This option calls for the most ambitious action, urging countries to align their fossil fuel phase-out plans with scientific recommendations to achieve the Paris Agreement goals.
  • Phase out all fossil fuels, achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century and adhering to the 1.5°C limit set by the Paris Agreement: This option combines the first option with specific targets for reaching net-zero emissions and temperature stabilization.
  • Phase out "unabated" fossil fuels, aiming for a peak in their use and a transition to a "predominantly" fossil-fuel-free world by 2050: This option distinguishes between "unabated" fossil fuels (those without carbon capture and storage technology) and others, focusing on phasing out the former while allowing for the continued use of the latter with mitigation technologies.
  • Phase out "unabated" fossil fuels and achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions in the energy sector by mid-century: This option combines the previous two by setting a specific goal for the energy sector while allowing for some continued use of fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage technology in other sectors.
  • No mention of fossil fuels: This option presents a blank slate, avoiding any mention of fossil fuel phase-out in the final text.
The draft also includes 206 paragraphs with 159 "options" across various topics related to climate action. This increased complexity highlights the ongoing negotiations and the diverse perspectives among participating countries.

Dubai Announces 50% Emissions Reduction Target by 2030

Updated 18:26 GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23
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Dubai has announced plans to achieve a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030, doubling their previous target. The ambitious goal was unveiled today by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE).
“Today's announcement on Dubai doubling the reduction of carbon emissions to 50 per cent by 2030 reflects the emirate's full commitment to a sustainable future locally and globally, especially as this announcement coincides with Expo City Dubai's hosting of the COP 28 Conference of the Parties held in the UAE”
- Secretary General of the Executive Council, Abdulla Mohammed Al Basti
With the world's attention focused on climate action during COP 28, Dubai is attempting to send a strong message of its commitment to addressing climate change. Specific details of the plan and the implementation strategies are yet to be released. However, this ambitious goal represents a step forward for Dubai and sets a positive example for other cities to follow.

Rosebank Oil Field: “That's Up To The UK Government” - Norway's Foreign Minister

Updated 17:55h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23

Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Espen Barth Eide, faced questions from “Stop Rosebank” activists protesting the development of the Rosebank oil field in the North Sea. The project, licensed by the UK government but operated by Norwegian company Equinor, has drawn criticism due to its environmental impact.
When confronted about the field's potential emissions, Eide stated that the decision ultimately rests with the UK government. He acknowledged Norway's influence over state-owned companies like Equinor but emphasized that these companies operate within the market. Eide further reiterated the government's commitment to phasing out fossil fuels before ending the interaction.
The confrontation highlights the complex political and economic considerations surrounding the Rosebank project, with the burden of decision-making falling on multiple actors. While Norway's government seeks to distance itself from the immediate decision, its role as a shareholder in Equinor and its broader commitment to sustainability remain under scrutiny.

Al Jaber: “COP 28 Has Already Made History”

Updated 16:10h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23

Sultan Al Jaber, the COP 28 President, held a press conference to kick off the second half of the summit. He expressed optimism about the progress made so far and emphasized the need for continued momentum.
Al Jaber acknowledged the uniqueness of COP 28, highlighting the sense of inclusivity, willingness, and flexibility present among participants. He pointed to the early consensus on the issue of loss and damage as evidence of this positive spirit.
“We can all agree COP 28 has been different, and I am sure we will agree that COP 28 has already made history. There is a unique sense of momentum, a sense of inclusivity and a sense of willingness and flexibility. I also feel a sense that something unprecedented is possible to happen here at COP 28. We achieved consensus on the first day with the loss and damage, and I believe with the momentum we have, with the action-oriented mindset that has been instilled across the board here on the site, I believe we can achieve consensus again on the rest of the agenda.”
Responding to questions from journalists, Al Jaber reiterated his commitment to keeping the 1.5-degree target within reach. He described this as his "North star" and emphasized his role in facilitating negotiations and enabling a pragmatic and results-oriented energy transition.
On the issue of coal, oil, and gas, Al Jaber did not provide a definitive answer regarding their inclusion in the final text. He stressed the collective responsibility of negotiators and his own focus on fostering ambition and achieving the best possible outcome.
Al Jaber addressed concerns about bringing on board countries like China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, stating that he has engaged with all parties and explored various avenues to achieve this goal. He reaffirmed his commitment to securing the highest possible level of ambition.
Regarding financing for developing nations, Al Jaber emphasized the need to view climate change as an opportunity, not just a burden. He called for making finance accessible and affordable, not only through pledges but also through mechanisms that facilitate timely delivery to those in need.

New FAO Research Highlights Impact Of Livestock Emissions on Climate

Updated 15:02h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23
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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released new research at COP28 revealing the significant impact of livestock emissions on the climate. The study found that livestock agrifood systems are responsible for 6.2 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) emissions, accounting for approximately 12% of all emissions in 2015.
Key Findings:
  • Cattle are the largest contributor to livestock emissions, responsible for over 60%.
  • Meat production across all species accounts for two-thirds of emissions from edible animal products.
  • One-third of emissions come from feed production, processing, and transport.
  • Demand for animal products is projected to grow by 20% by 2050.
  • If unchecked, this increase could undermine efforts to reduce GHG emissions and worsen global warming.
  • Implement more sustainable practices, such as breeding low-emission livestock and modifying their feed.
  • Encourage dietary changes towards consuming less meat.
The study also found that cattle in sub-Saharan Africa produce significantly more emissions than North American cattle. While absolute emissions from intensive US livestock farming are far greater, the report suggests potential interventions in Africa to reduce emissions. Campaigners emphasize the importance of avoiding the misinterpretation that US farming is exonerated and subsistence farmers are solely responsible.

Indigenous Groups Call For Protection Of Rights During Clean Energy Transition

Updated 13:18h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23
Cultural Survival
Cultural Survival

Today, 100 Indigenous-led organizations and environmental advocacy groups published an open letter urging delegates to prioritize the rights of Indigenous communities during the transition to clean energy.
The letter highlights the vulnerability of Indigenous communities situated on land rich in minerals crucial for clean energy technologies like solar panels and batteries. They express concern that without proper safeguards, the clean energy transition could put their communities at risk, citing the potential for environmental damage and disruption of their traditional ways of life.
The letter emphasizes the need for policies that require Indigenous communities' free, prior, and informed consent before any mining projects are undertaken on their lands. This principle, enshrined in previous UN agreements, ensures that Indigenous communities have a say in decisions that impact their lives and territories.
The letter also acknowledges the leadership of Indigenous communities in advocating for climate action and the phaseout of fossil fuels. However, it asserts that the clean energy transition must be inclusive and respect the rights of Indigenous peoples to protect their lands and cultural heritage.
The signatories urge COP 28 delegates to define a better and more inclusive world that serves all communities and all peoples. They call for the recognition of Indigenous rights as essential to achieving a just and equitable transition to clean energy.

Australia Pledges $150 Million For Pacific Climate Action

Updated 13:03h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23
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Today, Australia's Climate Change Minister, Chris Bowen, announced a $150 million commitment to climate finance for Pacific countries. However, the funds will be directed towards existing initiatives instead of the newly established loss and damage fund.
The majority of the funding, $100 million, will be allocated to the Pacific Resilience Facility, a trust fund designed to support small-scale climate and disaster resilience projects. The remaining $50 million will go to the Green Climate Fund, the world's largest climate financing mechanism. This marks Australia's first contribution to the Green Climate Fund since rejoining the initiative in 2023.
Bowen emphasized the importance of directly meeting Pacific needs and priorities, describing the Pacific Resilience Facility as “by Pacific leaders for Pacific circumstances.” Regarding the loss and damage fund, he stated that Australia remains engaged in the discussion and has requested a minimum allocation for small island developing states and least developed countries.
While acknowledging the “modest” contribution to the Green Climate Fund compared to previous commitments, Bowen expressed aspirations for the fund to play a more significant role in the Pacific region. He emphasized Australia's commitment to working with partners to address the challenges of climate change in the Pacific.

Canada Asked To Help Develop Language On Fossil Fuels

Updated 12:35h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23
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COP 28 President Sultan Al Jaber has tasked Canada with helping to develop language surrounding the potential “phasing down” or out of fossil fuels.
Speaking to a media scrum this morning, Canadian Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault acknowledged the potential for limitations in ambition but expressed confidence in achieving “historic” language on fossil fuels. He highlighted the importance of collaboration with allies to find common ground acceptable to all parties.

Russia's Veto Threatens COP 29: Moldova Offers Path Forward For Presidency

Updated 12:00h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23

Moldova has formally volunteered to preside over COP 29, according to a letter obtained this morning. The letter has been verified by various sources, including Reuters. While the country has not offered to host the massive gathering, its proposal presents a potential pathway out of the current impasse.
Here's how it could work:
  • Moldova would assume the responsibility of leading discussions and guiding negotiations for COP 29. This role involves setting the agenda, managing the flow of discussions, and ensuring that all voices are heard.
  • While Moldova presides over COP 29, another country will be chosen to host the event. This host country will provide the physical location and manage the logistics of accommodating thousands of delegates, officials, and observers. This division of responsibilities is not without precedent. In fact, a similar approach was adopted last year during the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada served as the host while China held the presidency.
Serbia, on the other hand, is considering both hosting and leading COP 29, but hasn't yet made a formal bid. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, with Armenia's backing, has confirmed its interest in hosting the event, emphasizing it as a gesture of goodwill towards reconciliation between the two neighbors. The complication of the selection process stems from Russia's veto on bids from European Union countries, a ”consequence” of sanctions imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. This effectively blocked Bulgaria's earlier bid to host the summit.
Diplomats are racing against time to reach a decision before the conclusion of COP 28 on December 12th. Under UN guidelines, the COP presidency rotates between five global regions, with the regional countries unanimously deciding on a candidate. Whether any of the latest candidate countries will gain regional approval remains uncertain. If no agreement is reached, the UAE may be forced to retain the presidency for another year. Additionally, if a host city isn't chosen, the summit could revert to Germany, where the UN's climate secretariat is based.

“It's Crunch Time”

Updated 11:30h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23

Following a “rest day,” negotiations are poised to intensify. With just five days remaining, negotiators face an uphill battle to bridge gaps on crucial issues like fossil fuels and finance. Achieving the overall goal of staying within the 1.5°C target hinges on their ability to navigate these complex challenges.
Starting today, the COP 28 presidency will take a more “active role”, guiding the process by identifying areas requiring further attention. Additionally, over 200 ministers are expected to arrive in the coming days, offering their support and galvanizing their teams. Friday's plenary sessions will serve as a critical juncture, setting the course for the final stretch of negotiations.

Cloudy Skies In The Negotiation Room

Updated 11:10h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23

As the plenaries of the Subsidiary Bodies concluded on the 6th, a concerning lack of progress was evident on several crucial areas for the success of this COP.
The Global Stocktake, a central outcome expected from this meeting, provides the first comprehensive assessment of countries' collective progress towards their Paris Agreement commitments. While the stocktake will analyze past actions and identify remaining gaps, the most critical discussions revolve around its future-oriented aspect: how countries will respond and accelerate their climate ambition and action. Unfortunately, significant disagreements have hampered progress in this area.
Negotiations on the Global Goal on Adaptation remain deadlocked. Disagreements have prevented agreement on even the most basic procedural steps, such as compiling all parties' views and outlining potential options for ministers. Discussions throughout the first week focused solely on procedural matters, highlighting the lack of political engagement needed to inject urgency and direction into these critical discussions.
The Just Transitions Pathways work program aims to assess, design, and implement equitable pathways for achieving the Paris Agreement's goals, ensuring no one is left behind during the necessary transformative changes. Unfortunately, the current draft texts for this program remain mere compilations of diverse viewpoints, encompassing hundreds of options across various draft decisions. Negotiators, ministers, and the COP Presidency face a daunting task in the coming week if they hope to deliver a successful package of decisions.

Good Morning!

Updated 11:00h GST/UTC+4 - 8/12/23

After a day of recharging and strategizing, COP 28 negotiations resume today with renewed energy and fresh perspectives. Our live coverage returns, bringing you the latest updates, insightful commentary, and exclusive access to the heart of the negotiations.
  • George Kariuki

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    Looking forward!

    Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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