The Expo City in Dubai gears up for COP28. The UN climate conference, which brings together 165 world leaders and other stakeholder for talks, will culminate on December 12. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

The world comes to Dubai on Thursday to unite for tangible action and deliver concrete solutions to the climate crisis, the most pressing issue facing humanity. Over the next 12 days at the Expo City, 165 world leaders and other stakeholders will debate topics at the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that will spur climate action and arrive at agreements to save our planet.

UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan welcomed the delegates to the summit on Wednesday. “We are honoured to welcome the international community to the UAE for the start of COP28. Solving the challenges facing our planet requires a shared vision and collective action, and we are determined to unite the world around climate action and ensure no one is left behind,” Sheikh Mohamed wrote on his X (Twitter) account.

COP28 starts at a time when the world is ravaged by droughts, floods, forest fires and other extreme weather patterns, making 2023 a turbulent year. So urgent measures have to be taken to halt the degradation and prevent potentially irreversible consequences for Earth.

Limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C

“We all know that this COP is not an ordinary COP,” COP28 President-designate Dr Sultan Al Jaber said at a Media Majlis on Wednesday. “We know that this COP comes at an inflection point of the world, and it is our view and our belief that this is the most consequential COP since Paris.”

High on the agenda are the plans to limit long-term global temperature increase to 1.5°C to offset the worst impact of climate change.

Dr Al Jaber called it COP28’s North Star. The aim is to keep the 1.5°C target within reach and close the gap between ambition and action. COP28 will also see the first Global Stocktake, a key article of the Paris Agreement, to assess the progress made by countries in achieving the objectives of the 2015 deal.

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“We all know what makes this COP different is the fact that we have been entrusted to conduct the first-ever Global Stocktake and the Global Report Card under the framework for deciding our way forward, and that is going to be a key outcome for this COP,” Dr Al Jaber said, adding that he would hold “every country and every stakeholder accountable to keep the 1.5°C target within reach. I aim to achieve the highest ambition in the Global Stocktake decision.”

Dr Al Jaber refuted reports alleging that the UAE planned to promote oil deals during the event, saying it is an attempt to undermine the work of the COP28 Presidency. The presidency has led the COP process with honesty and transparency, he added.

“These allegations are false, not true, incorrect, and are not accurate. It is an attempt to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency…No one in this world has been able to master the ability to create win-win relationships and fruitful and productive partnerships like this small country and this young nation.”