What to Expect at COP28?

The upcoming 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) is a key platform for global action on climate change. COP28, which will take place in Dubai between 30 November and 12 December 2023, will be an important opportunity to assess our path towards achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which foresees a 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, with a target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. It is clear that we are not currently on track to achieve the Agreement's objectives. COP28 will therefore be a unique opportunity to make progress, bringing together global political leaders and non-state actors to drive climate action and ensure that the world is on track to meet its goals.

COP28 is a particularly important event, as the Contracting Parties will consider the findings of the first UN Global Stocktake. The stocktake assesses progress on climate action over the last five years and whether the actions taken by countries are consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The outcomes of COP28 will also be important for decision-making at the board level. While companies are driving climate action on many fronts, they need certainty and reassurance that governments are also working towards policy actions that will support the achievement of a net-zero future. The outcome of the COP28 negotiations will be an important instrument for businesses as it has the potential to influence strategic decisions on investment and decarbonisation pathways. Some of the results may be translated into national and regional regulations, which could have an impact on corporate governance practices.

The priorities for COP28 under each of the themes are as follows:

Finance / Trade / Gender Equality / Accountability

  • Reform of international financial institutions for a gender-just transition.
  • Enabling voluntary carbon markets.
  • Establishing private sector accountability on climate change.

Nature / Land Use / Oceans

  • Identifying integrated climate-nature pathways to mobilise funding, with a focus on societies that define, analyse and disclose nature-related objectives.

Energy and Industry / Just Transition / Indigenous Peoples

  • Innovation and action to decarbonise heavy emitting and ‘hard-to-abate’ sectors, such as cement, steel, aluminium.
  • Mobilising the energy transition, including discussions on fossil fuel phase-out or reduction, clean hydrogen, nuclear energy and decarbonisation technologies.
  • Focus on global cooling for climate change mitigation and adaptation through the newly established Cool Coalition.
  • Empowering indigenous peoples in a just transition.

Health / Relief, Recovery and Peace

  • Continuing discussions on the activation and mobilisation of the "Loss and Damage Fund" established at COP27 to provide solutions for climate change adaptation and resilience.

Multilevel Action / Urbanisation and Built Environment / Transport

  • Multi-level action on sustainable trade finance across supply chains, including large companies that play a key role in supply chain decarbonisation.

Food, Agriculture and Water

  • Continuing the efforts launched at COP26 on the Global Methane Pledge to reduce global methane emissions and to develop a strategy to decarbonise the food system.

Youth, Children, Education and Skills

  • Investing in green jobs, entrepreneurship and youth-led innovation in response to environmental and social challenges.


Source: Climate Governance Initiative, What to expect at COP28: A briefing for board directors. https://hub.climate-governance.org/article/preCOP28_briefing

The Climate Governance Initiative is organising a webinar on 14 December 2023 at 13:00 CET on the outcomes of COP28 and what it means for the boardroom. For more information and to register, click here.