Graphic for the COP28 climate talks in Dubai. There is a woman on the left being silenced and there are protesters on the right infront of a large planet Earth. There are signs that say 'Respect our voice' and 'Stop Big Oil.'
Mei | Better World Info

COP 28 – Climate Action or just another Climate Talk?

The 2023 UN Climate Change Conference was held between November 30th – December 12th in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The ultimate goal of COP 28 is to enforce adherence to the strict Paris Agreement and limit global warming to 1.5C.

Previous lack of action has left many experts, activists, governments, and climate campaigners jaded. The choice of location has also been branded highly inappropriate as the UAE is one of the world’s largest emitters of CO2. In 2019 the country ranked as the fourth biggest polluter per capita.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has recently warned that climate change is now "out of control.” This comes at a time when we are witnessing increasingly deadly and frequent natural disasters intensified by climate change. We needn’t look further than the Pakistan floods, record breaking heatwaves across the US, China and Europe, intensification of the hurricane season, unprecedented wildfires, and the devastating drought in the Horn of Africa.


Line graph displaying annual CO₂ emissions by world region from 1750 to 2021
Our World in Data | Creative Commons

2022 saw 10 climate related disasters that caused more than $3 billion worth of damage – each! It was the second costliest year on record for drought. As all six populated continents were affected in the top 10 costliest climate impacts, no corner of the globe was spared.

The 2023 Emissions Gap Report aptly named ‘Broken Record’ was released in November by the UNEP ahead of the conference. The report confirms that temperatures have hit new record highs, and that the world has failed to cut emissions. Countries will now need to go beyond their climate commitments in order to prevent temperature rises far above the Paris Agreement goals.

Representatives will be there from the 197 Parties in the UNFCCC, almost every country on the planet. Also present will be environmental NGOs, business leaders, and indigenous communities.

How can I Stay Informed about the Proceedings and Outcomes of COP 28?

Staying informed is easy with Better World Info. We have collected an extensive platform for COP 28 which is free, reliable, and provides critical analysis.

Discover our selection of handpicked news sources, including video news, and key events. We recommend following our excellent Twitter Lists for up to the minute developments from climate experts, journalists, NGOs, politicians, and activists.

Find over 2,500 links to previous UN Climate Conferences, the recent Africa Climate Summit, a guide to the work of the United Nations, key IPCC and UNEP reports, and comprehensive overviews of the SDGs, the Climate Crisis, and Sustainability.  

Our collection of news portals from the UAE will keep you up to date on events happening in the country, and for developments in politics and the current human rights situation in the country look no further.


Beige poster about carbon footprint inequality. There are 7 footprints all reducing dramatically in size, the largest being the USA. The poster reads - "The US, with less than five per cent of the world’s population, pours out nearly a quarter of global emissions. It is followed by China, then Indonesia and Brazil (where emissions are driven by deforestation) – then Russia and India."
Flickr |

What are the expected Outcomes of COP 28 and are they Achievable?

The four pillars set out for this year's COP are – Speeding up the energy transition, securing climate finance, safeguarding people's lives and livelihoods, and full inclusivity.

More than 80 countries are hoping to secure a complete phase out of fossil fuels. The proposed pledge by the COP 28 President Sultan Al Jaber includes tripling the infrastructure of renewable energy by 2030. On climate finance, he is aiming for full operation of the loss and damage fund, and states that he will ensure that the delayed $100 billion a year fund will finally be delivered.

Previous COPs have led to the creation of agreed-upon texts, which layout the responsibilities and individual commitments of each party. Traditionally the political, economic, and social diversity of the parties creates huge barriers to both commitment and cooperation.

Historically, the voices of those most affected by the climate crisis and climate injustices are underrepresented and overshadowed. Previous goals have appeared to be unattainable and have received little follow up action after the media attention fades.

Setting a poor precedent, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, just 2 months before the start of the talks has announced a U-turn in his government's climate commitments. His pushing back of net zero goals prove that the COP talks are not holding polluting nations accountable, nor are they delivering on effective progress monitoring.

Another goal for this year's talks includes that of doubling adaptation financing by 2025 to aid with adaptation responses. However, critics have voiced that many developing countries and small island nations are already experiencing the effects of climate change which go beyond the scope of adaptation.

This COP we must reach an agreement of strict yet achievable goals which meet the complex needs of every party. Secondly, commitment to these goals must be enforced, and timescales adhered to. The traditionally slow pace of these agreements while ensuring that every voice is heard, prevents urgent climate action from taking place.


Image of oil tycoon Sultan Al Jaber from the UAE. He sits at an Arctic Circle conference wearing black traditional dress with a white head covering
Flickr | Arctic Circle

Controversy at COP 28

Before the talks have even begun there has been outcry from climate and civil rights activists and NGOs regarding the location of the talks, and at the appointment of oil tycoon Sultan Al Jaber.

- Criticisms of Dubai as a host

The UAE is widely known for its restrictions to civil society, in particular for prisoners of conscience, migrant workers, women, and members of the LGBTQI+ community. The government has used surveillance, propaganda, and other tools of repression to control its citizens, prevent dissent, and shut down civil society organisations.

The state under normal circumstances requires official permission for the organisation of protests and demonstrations, in what is effectively a restriction of freedom of expression. In the case of COP 28, it has been confirmed that peaceful protests will be permitted, however, it remains to be seen if this will hinder the meaningful participation of climate activists.

The very site where the talks will be held has drawn criticism of its own. Expo City was built on the backs of forced labour and poorly treated migrant workers. On top of being the world's fourth biggest contributor to carbon emissions, it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that the UAE are using this COP to greenwash the activities of their government.

 - Criticisms of Sultan Al Jaber the COP President

Al Jaber is a controversial choice for the COP 28 presidency given that that he is the CO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and therefore has a huge conflict of interest. Not only is ADNOC the biggest oil producer in the country, but they are the 12th biggest in the world.

It would be fair to say that as his business interests lie in the field of fossil fuels, it is most certainly not in his best interests to fight for a phaseout of the industry. Climate activists were quick to jump on his plan to only “phase down fossil fuels” as opposed to phase them out.

Summed up nicely by Greta Thunberg who skipped last year's COP 27, labelling it a ‘forum for greenwashing’ -

“Lobbyists have been influencing these conferences since forever, and this just puts a very clear face to it... it’s completely ridiculous.”

It is worth noting that Al Jaber is also the chairman of renewal energy firm Masdar. With a focus on wind and solar energy, a presence in over 40 countries, and plans to increase its capacity to a significant 100 gigawatts by 2023, Masdar is making its own headlines in the energy transition.

The UAE although on no clear terms, has committed to become carbon neutral by 2050, Al Jabar at a minimum understands how we can make the transition to renewables. He has also admitted that many of the climate indicators are headed in the wrong direction, with specific mentions to biodiversity loss, the degradation of agricultural land, and food security. Admitting that we are on the wrong tracks could signify a much needed change in tack.


Nations leaders sit at a plenary for the Global Stocktake at COP 28 in Dubai. There is a large round green table in the centre and the leaders all sit on the outskirts with their respective flags infront of them
Flickr | COP28 UAE

Deal to Phaseout Fossil Fuels?

COP 28 saw the first ever Global Stocktake which was an evaluation of where the worlds stands in regard to meeting the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Going forward, it will take place every five years and is designed to help policymakers and stakeholders to reinforce climate policies and strengthen their commitments by observing gaps and where progress is lacking.

This stocktake signals the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era. Hailed as the central outcome of the conference, all parties agreed that a swift and just energy transition is needed, alongside deep emissions cuts, and expanded financing. Greenhouse house emissions now need to be cut by 43% by 2023 to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Activists have slammed the final deal as deep international divisions prevented any pledge to phase-out of fossil fuels. OPEC members such as Russia, Iraq, and Iran resisted attempts to commit to such a phase-out. Instead, eight options were provided for countries to curb their emissions. These options included reduction of consumption and production, phasing down the coal industry, and scaling up investment in carbon capture technologies.

The long awaited loss and damage fund was operationalised on the first day of the climate talks, a major breakthrough for developing countries on the frontline of climate change. The UAE has committed $100 million to the fund, as has Germany, and the U.S, the UK, and Japan have also announced contributions yet to be confirmed.


Campaigners in November 2022 marched through Edinburgh as part of Global Day of Action for climate justice during the UN Climate Conference COP27 in Egypt. At the front of the protest there is a large red banner which reads 'System change not climate change.'
Neil Hanna / Friends of the Earth Scotland | CC BY 2.0

How can you Contribute to the Objectives of COP 28?

COP 28 is not just an event for global leaders. Individuals and communities can contribute significantly to its objectives. Public pressure holds massive influence on national policies, so raising awareness, joining a protest, sharing our social media posts, becoming active online, advocating for climate action, and supporting environmentally friendly practices on a local level all have a ripple effect.

As a participatory platform we invite climate experts, NGOs, journalists, and activists to contribute their extensive knowledge and share their top resources on COP 28 and the climate crisis. Better World Info is the COP 28 platform you shouldn’t be without. It is a wonderful tool for networking, and provides a bounty of excellent free information and resources. We help to raise awareness, spread knowledge, and fight misinformation.

Our post on COP28 in Dubai on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. - Please like and share ;-)

We must act now!

Author: Rachael Mellor, 26.09.23 (updated 13.12.23) licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0

For further reading on COP 28 see below  ⬇️

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