COP28 in Dubai
24 Nov 2023

COP28 in Dubai

A yearly cause for optimism or too controversial?

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is an annual event where global leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders come together to discuss and address the Climate Crisis. While they bring a sense of optimism and generate discussions around the climate crisis and net zero, they are not without controversy. The world needs to cut emissions by 28% by 2030 to get on a least-cost pathway for the 2°C goal of the Paris Agreement and 42% for the 1.5°C goal. Reaching these targets will require urgent action and investment from governments, businesses, and individuals.

Why is COP28 controversial?

One major point of contention for COP28 is the location, as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a major contributor to fossil fuel emissions. The president of the talks, Sultan Al Jaber, is the chief executive of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the UAE’S state-owned oil company, which raises concerns about potential conflicts of interest. The contrast between the urgent need for emission reductions and the host country's reliance on fossil fuels creates a complex dynamic.

There are positives

Despite these controversies, COP meetings have many positives. They serve as a platform to bring environmental issues into the mainstream and encourage engagement in the fight against climate change. The media coverage generated by these conferences helps raise public awareness and creates momentum for climate action. Additionally, COP events provide an opportunity for smaller nations, particularly those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, to voice their concerns and share their experiences. The example of Tuvalu's foreign minister delivering a speech knee-deep in seawater at COP26 is a powerful illustration of the immediate challenges faced by some nations. Such moments can be instrumental in encouraging more ambitious actions.


While there is skepticism about whether COPs can deliver significant progress, hope remains that these gatherings will lead to tangible commitments and actions to address the climate crisis. The involvement and pressure from businesses and individuals play a crucial role in holding governments accountable and ensuring that the optimism generated at COP28 translates into concrete and effective climate solutions. As sustainability professionals, Net Zero Group will be keeping a close eye on the conversations to gauge how decisions will affect our current and future clients.

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