What is COP28 and is it still important?  

What is COP28 and why it still matters? In a rapidly changing world, COP28 is not just another international gathering; it’s a pivotal moment for addressing the climate crisis. Businesses must pay attention, as the decisions made here will ripple into national policies and supply chains, impacting organisations of all sizes. Andrew Griffiths, Director of Policy and Partnerships at Planet Mark breaks down why COP28 is a big deal and how your business can get involved.

Andrew Griffiths
What COP28 in Dubai why important
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COP28 arrives at a pivotal moment for global action on climate change. With record-breaking temperatures and the increasing impact of extreme weather events like wildfires, floods, storms, and droughts worldwide, the urgency of addressing climate issues has never been clearer. 

The United Nations’ annual climate conference, which brings together over 140 world leaders, ministers, and negotiators, is set to deliberate on how to tackle climate change. The focus of COPs since COP21 in 2015 has been on implementing the Paris Agreement, with its primary objectives: keeping global average temperature rise “well below” 2°C and striving for a limit of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, adapting to climate change and building resilience, and aligning finance with a pathway toward low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. 

This year, COP28 will be hosted in Dubai and will take place between 30th November – 12th December. Join us at the Planet Mark COP28 business debrief event to learn how the outcomes and announcements around COP28 will influence your business. 

Outcomes of COP27   

Some of the most notable outcomes from COP27 were:   

  1. The signing of the Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Plan: The main ‘achievement’ within the final document was managing to keep the 1.5°C temperature goal and the annual requirement that countries revise and communicate their emission targets. But a resolution to reach peak emissions by 2025 was taken out too much disappointment. There was also a failed effort to progress “phase down coal” to “phase out all fossil fuels”. 
  1. Loss and damage funding: An agreement was reached to provide financial assistance to developing countries affected by climate change. But the specifics, regarding who will fund this and how much financial aid will be provided are still pending. There is also general septicism given the failure to honour an existing commitment to provide $100B per year of climate finance for mitigation/adaptation.   
  1. Commitment to boost ‘low emissions and renewable energy’: During COP26, countries aimed to “phase down” coal and last year talked about including oil and gas, but no final agreement was reached. Instead, some countries committed to improving their clean energy mix, including low-emission and renewable sources. The vague term “low-emission energy” raised concerns due to its potential interpretations, highlighting the impact of fossil fuel lobbyists on COP agreements. It’s a continued example of how much very small nuances in phrasings within the COP process make a huge difference to interpretation. 
  1. Refocusing on adaptation: The debate over prioritising adaptation versus mitigation persisted, with a commitment to double adaptation funding from $20B to $40B despite some countries trying to remove that commitment.   

As usual, there were a raft of notable announcements / updates from outside the official summit, including: 

  • Launch of the ISO Net Zero Guidelines: The British Standards Institute (BSI) led a process with 1,200 organisations from 100+ countries, including Planet Mark, contributing to the first end-to-end net zero governance framework for best practice measurement, targets, plans, claiming net zero and wider governance principles. We expect to see progress and the next steps of the guidelines announced during COP28. 
  • Launch of the draft UK Transition Plan Taskforce framework: Commissioned by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), this framework is the most robust to date outlining what a good net zero transition plan looks like. The FCA has committed to reviewing the framework and bringing its recommendations into effect for UK-listed companies and financial institutions.  

Despite these positive developments, COP27 left much to be desired. Now, let’s delve into what COP28 has in store. 

COP28: what to expect 

COP28 will build upon the decisions made at COP27 and marks the conclusion of the UN’s first-ever ‘Global Stocktake.’ This stocktake will determine the progress (or lack thereof) of countries in achieving the goals set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Once again, leaders and civil servants from across the globe will convene to negotiate new international climate agreements and set their own plans, called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), outlining each nation’s commitments to reduce carbon emissions. 

Why does COP28 matter to business?   

COP28 holds substantial relevance for businesses. The decisions and agreements made during the summit will cascade down into national targets, laws, regulations, and policies. For instance, the UK Government’s legally binding net zero target and emission reduction commitments are the result of participation in COP summits. 

This means that larger corporations, with their significant Scope 3 emissions, will need to work with their suppliers to set their own net zero commitments. Although there are currently no direct government regulations affecting small and medium-sized businesses, they may be swiftly impacted due to the trickle-down effect of international agreements. 

How can businesses engage in COP28? 

  1. Join the UN-backed Race to Zero: Commit to a credible net zero target and action plan. Planet Mark is one of the official partners where you can make this commitment
  1. Raise awareness: Educate your employees, suppliers, customers, and stakeholders about the significance of international agreements reached at COP28. Stay updated with insights from Planet Mark’s social media channels and mailing list where the team will be feeding you the business-relevant insights that are coming out from the summit that you can spread more widely.  
  1. Participate in local and online events: While most engagement will be remote, consider attending events around the UK related to COP28. Planet Mark are hosting COP28 Business Debrief event to give you a run-down on how the announcement around COP can potentially impact your business.

What outcomes do we want to see at COP28?   

  1. Increased national ambitions: Countries setting new emission reduction targets and legal net zero commitments. 
  1. Stronger wording in the final agreement: shift from “phase down coal” to “phase out all fossil fuels” and much clearer prioritisation of renewable energy development.   
  1. Climate finance: Advancements in climate financing, especially loss and damage funding, as developed nations are still failing to honour their 2015 commitment to provide $100B per year to developing countries to finance climate mitigation and adaptation with clarity on who pays, how much, and for what triggers. 
  1. Climate justice: Ensuring an inclusive approach to negotiations and a just transition to a net zero, climate-resilient economy. 

COP28 Business Debrief   

Don’t miss the opportunity to shape your business strategy for the year ahead! Join us on 14th December for the COP28 Business Debrief event. Learn how the outcomes and announcements around COP28 will influence your business and get insights on staying connected and informed in the lead-up to COP29. 

Register to our COP28 Business Debrief event
COP28 Business Debrief

Thursday 14 December 2023, 1:00pm - 2:00pm