Oct 30, 2023Clean Energy Future

COP28: An explainer

As Australia starts its summer, a global annual climate change event will take place in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December — COP 28.

COP stands for the ‘Conference of the Parties’, the main global decision-making body for nations to negotiate climate action. The 28 signifies it is the 28th annual summit held by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”).

Who attends?

COP 28 will be attended by world leaders, government representatives and diplomats, as well as civil society representatives from industry and business, NGOs and indigenous groups.

Why is COP28 important?

COP28 will focus on what the United Nations calls the ‘Global Stocktake’ (GST, but not the one you pay when you go to the shops).

The GST requires participating countries to update all other countries on what they are doing, what they have done, and how they are accelerating towards fulfilling the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, which includes:

  1. Global peaking of emissions as soon as possible
  2. Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels
  3. Achieving net zero emissions.

The GST is like taking inventory. It means looking at everything related to where the world stands on climate action and support, identifying the gaps, and working together to agree on solutions and pathways to 2030 and beyond. It complements the comprehensive annual reporting obligations of all nations, as well as the International Panel on Climate Change’s Assessment Reports on the latest science.

This year the focus is on unity for success – when countries work together, countries win together.

2023 Oct 01: The COP28 Changemaker’s Majlis at the Abu Dhabi Energy Center in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Trevor Brown, Jr./Trevor Brown Photography

How does the gas industry contribute to COP objectives?

Natural gas has a vital role to play in helping with climate action. For example, natural gas will be crucial to industries processing Australia’s critical minerals which are used in electric vehicles, solar panels, batteries and other renewable and low carbon technologies technologies needed for net zero.

It also partners with renewable energy sources, providing instant back-up when the sun isn’t shining and wind isn’t blowing. Natural gas can be used to produce low-cost low-carbon hydrogen for heat and power applications as well as for transport such as cars and shipping.

The impact goes beyond just Australia. Natural gas is replacing coal, dung and wood fires in Asia, meaning clearer skies for our regions and cleaner energy for our neighbours.

The industry is a genuine participant in decarbonisation and has partnered with high-tech emissions reduction and removal projects nationwide including carbon capture and storage (CCS), which is recognised around the world as critical to net zero by independent authorities including Australia’s own leading science body, the CSIRO.

If you want to know more about this year’s event, head to https://www.cop28.com/en/

With Australia pushing to host COP31 in 2026, we may see this important event at home in the near future.