COP 28 Loss and Damage

COP 28 Loss and Damage: What to Expect in Upcoming Climate Talk from UAE a Global Oil Giant

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP (Conference of Parties), is an annual event that brings together representatives from governments, civil society, and the private sector to discuss and address climate change. The upcoming COP 28, to be held in 2023, will be particularly important as countries work to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. One of the key topics of discussion at COP 28 will be the Loss and Damage (L&D) fund, which has been a contentious issue in previous climate talks.

In this article, we will explore what the L&D fund is, why it has been controversial, and the expectations surrounding its discussion at COP 28, which will be hosted by the UAE, a fossil fuel leader.

What is the Loss and Damage fund?

The Loss and Damage fund is a mechanism that was established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to address the financial losses and damages that result from climate change. The fund is intended to provide financial support to developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and loss of biodiversity.

Progress at COP27

The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly referred to as COP 27, will be remembered for its significant progress in “loss and damage” financing, also known as climate reparations. However, it has faced criticism for its failure to take meaningful action toward other climate objectives. Climate advocates contend that the conference did not go beyond the 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact’s commitment to “phase down unabated coal power” and establish fresh targets for limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Numerous individuals have already shifted their attention to COP 28, focusing on the measures necessary to ensure that the forthcoming climate conference yields climate action on numerous fronts. The following are the issues that we believe will shape the upcoming year – and what might occur in Dubai next November.

Why has the Loss and Damage fund been controversial?

The Loss and Damage fund has been controversial for a number of reasons. One of the main issues is that developed countries have been reluctant to provide adequate funding for the fund. Developing countries argue that they are disproportionately affected by climate change, despite contributing the least to global emissions, and that developed countries have a moral obligation to help them adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change. However, developed countries often prioritize their own economic interests over the needs of developing countries, leading to tension and disagreement at climate talks.

Another issue with the Loss and Damage fund is the lack of clarity around its scope and purpose. Some countries have argued that the fund should only be used to address loss and damage that cannot be prevented through adaptation or mitigation measures. Others argue that the fund should also address loss and damage that results from historical emissions and the failure of developed countries to take adequate action to address climate change in the past.

What can we expect from discussions at COP 28 and the Role of UAE as Fossil Fuel’s Boss?

Discussions around the Loss and Damage fund are likely to be a major point of contention at COP 28. Developing countries will continue to push for increased funding and greater recognition of the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities. Some experts predict that developing countries may also push for compensation for loss and damage caused by climate change, which could be a significant development in climate negotiations.

However, developed countries are likely to resist such demands, citing concerns about the impact on their own economies and the lack of clarity around the scope and purpose of the fund. Negotiations around the Loss and Damage fund may also be complicated by other issues, such as the role of market-based mechanisms in addressing climate change and the need for greater transparency and accountability in climate finance.

Overall, the discussions around the Loss and Damage fund at COP 28 are likely to be challenging and complex. However, they are also a crucial opportunity for countries to come together and address the urgent and pressing issue of climate change, and to ensure that vulnerable communities are not left behind in the transition to a more sustainable future.

The most important fact that the president of COP28 will be the UAE’s leader in the fossil fuel industry undermines the credibility of the summit. This will highly likely hinder the progress of Loss & Damage fund as it will not in the interest of the Gulf country.

The United Arab Emirates is the world’s largest oil producer country and it has also plans for expanding oil and gas production, which could potentially undermine net-zero efforts. 

Sultan al-Jaber the CEO of the UAE’s national oil company, ADNOC, has been appointed as the president of COP28, a crucial summit in the race against climate change. However, ADNOC, which is the 11th biggest oil and gas producer globally, has plans to expand oil and gas production equivalent to 7.5 billion barrels of oil, 90% of which would need to remain unexploited to achieve the net-zero goal set by the International Energy Agency. This new development has made COP28 very controversial.

In 2021, Adnoc delivered over a billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBOE), and it intends to increase its product portfolio by 7.6 BBOE in the coming years, marking the world’s fifth-largest increase in oil and gas production.

The selection of Sultan al-Jaber is disheartening for those who were expecting COP28 to make significant strides toward reducing carbon emissions and promoting climate justice, as it sends the wrong message to those most impacted by climate change. It is a fatal political signal to the world.”

The appointment of the head of the national oil company will heighten concerns that the UAE will use its presidency of COP28 to foster fossil fuel interests.

Chiara Liguori, Climate Advisor, Amnesty International

According to Climate Action Tracker, independent experts have determined that the United Arab Emirates expansion plans for fossil fuels are not in line with the goal of limiting global heating to 1.5C. The UAE’s climate targets and policies are rated as “highly insufficient.” The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cautioned that the carbon emissions from existing fossil fuel projects alone could cause the climate to exceed 1.5C.

Nils Bartsch of Urgewald argued that the appointment of Sultan Al Jaber as Cop28 president is a mockery of the institution. Bartsch claimed that choosing an oil and gas executive as the Cop president shows a complete lack of awareness of the issues at hand and sends a fatal political message to the world. Tasneem Essop, executive director of Climate Action Network International, stated that the climate emergency requires action, not words. Despite Al Jaber’s calls for bold action to stay below 1.5C, his actions do not match his words. His position as CEO of Adnoc raises concerns about whether he can play an impartial role in securing an ambitious outcome at Cop28, which must make it clear that new fossil fuel projects are unacceptable.

The UAE’s significant oil production is concerning for the potential outcome of COP28, especially with the appointment of the head of the national oil company as president. This raises concerns that the UAE may prioritize fossil fuel interests during the summit.

However, there is still time for action. Sultan al-Jaber could resign from his role with the state oil company, and the COP28 leadership team should prioritize the phasing out of fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, the call to rapidly phase out all fossil fuels at COP27 in November was not successful due to the powerful fossil fuel lobby, the opposition of oil-producing states, and the ambiguous stance of some other countries. Nonetheless, with rising temperatures and record-high greenhouse gas concentrations, there has never been a more pressing need for meaningful progress in the fight against climate change.