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This week marks the start of the 28th climate summit in Dubai, where world leaders will gather to discuss pressing climate issues. Despite the controversial choice of an oil-rich host, there are signs of progress.

  • The Dubai climate summit comes at a crucial time. Action is required to keep global warming below 2 degrees.
  • A mix of scepticism and hope surrounds the climate summit.

Urgency is high

The urgency of the climate crisis is clearer than ever. The effects are being felt worldwide and range from floods and droughts to extreme heat waves. The Dubai climate summit, also known as COP28, comes at a crucial time when action is required to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably below 1.5 degrees. The recent UN report indicating a course towards almost 3 degrees of warming shows that there is no time to lose.

Hope and scepticism

A mix of scepticism and hope surrounds the summit. On the one hand, there is the absence of US President Biden due to conflicts in Gaza. There are also concerns about leaked documents suggesting that the host, the UAE, might use the summit to discuss fossil fuel deals, raising questions about conflicts of interest.

On the other hand, despite their geopolitical tensions, the US and China stand shoulder to shoulder in their affirmation of the Paris climate agreements. The fact that countries are having their climate plans vetted during the ‘Global Stocktake’ shows a willingness to be transparent and possibly improve these plans.

Finance and technology as key

Money remains a central issue. Developing countries are eagerly awaiting pledges for the Climate Damage Fund and the Green Climate Fund. The discussion will not only be about quitting fossil fuels, but also about the support that rapidly emerging economies need in terms of finance and technology. This is essential to accelerate the transition to renewable energy worldwide.

The summit will be attended by 167 world leaders, including prominent figures such as the Pope and King Charles III. They will join other participants in setting the course for tackling climate change globally.