Written by REA’s CEO Nina Skorupska, from the grounds of Expo City, Dubai.

Yesterday was “Rest day” and symbolised the midpoint of the COP28 negotiations.  Having attended a number of COPs over the years, I can agree with reports in the media that this is by far the largest event, both in number of attendees, number of venues and their size. The official “Zones”, located in Dubai’s Expo City, are huge.  With the REA recognised as an official UN observer, we are fortunate to participate in Blue Zone activities and host the Renewable Energy Action pavilion.  There are so many interesting discussions and debates it’s very easy to get lost in the maze of buildings, as you dash from one country pavilion to another, and attend official side events and roundtables.  I have heard the Green Zone is extraordinary in scale and content too however it’s an experience I have yet to enjoy.  The Innovation Zone, an important side event well established now at COPs, is located over an hour away by metro from Expo City, at another sumptuous location in the shadow of the iconic Burj Al Arab.

The rest day is to allow the 100,000 country negotiators to have a pause before moving into the second week’s important task of concluding negotiations that restart today. As the REA Team here for our inaugural Renewable Energy Action Pavilion, we welcomed the “pause” of the week so far.

Let me start by saying that, given the scale of the United Nations Climate Summit, it is important to remember that this whole jamboree (and we are part of that too) is to put the world back on track to keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.  We are here as REA International to build bridges with national organisations and international bodies and respectfully promote the extraordinary work of our members and my amazing team to a wider audience.  I see this truly global community at the intersection of some amazing ambitions that must now be met by action.  We must forge ahead on the path toward a sustainable and resilient future.

Here’s a snapshot of the noteworthy achievements to date:

  1. Unprecedented Global Commitments:

Nations across the globe have stepped up their climate commitments, showcasing an unprecedented wave of determination to address the pressing challenges of climate change. Updated NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) reflect more ambitious targets, emphasizing the collective understanding that urgent action is crucial. $83 billion mobilized in just five days of talks

Importantly a draft global stocktake text has been published with focus on fossil fuel language.  Almost 200 countries at Cop28 will agree to some sort of negotiated text about fossil fuel reduction – either a phase-out or phase-down – in the global stocktake of progress on the goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5C agreed in Paris in 2015.  Such an agreement would amount to a historic commitment, but every word of how this would be phrased will be haggled over, including whether this is a reduction or elimination of “unabated” fossil fuels – and what exactly that means. How this plays out will go a long way to deciding if this conference is a success


  1. Resilience and Adaptation Funding:

Concrete steps toward meeting the commitment of mobilizing $100 billion annually for climate finance by 2023 are underway. Discussions on enhancing resilience and adaptation funding for vulnerable communities are making progress, recognizing the disproportionate impact of climate change on these regions.


  1. Further Commitment to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency:

Renewable energy took centre stage at the start of the week as 119 countries signed up to the Tripling of renewables by 2030 and doubling efforts on energy efficiency. Along with that countries unveiled groundbreaking initiatives and investments – each nation having saved their commitments to be announced at COP28..The Renewable Energy Action Pavilion in the Blue Zone has been a focal point for showcasing innovative technologies, fostering collaborations, and inspiring a collective commitment to transition away from fossil fuels.


  1. Carbon Markets and Trading:

Advancements in carbon markets and trading mechanisms have been a key focus, aiming to create effective frameworks for pricing carbon and incentivizing emission reductions. Discussions on a global carbon market are gaining traction, offering a tangible pathway to incentivize industries to adopt low-carbon practices.


  1. Nature-based Solutions Gain Traction:

Recognition of the importance of nature-based solutions in climate mitigation and adaptation strategies is on the rise. Discussions at COP28 have emphasized the need to protect and restore ecosystems, highlighting the interconnectedness of climate, biodiversity, and sustainable development.


  1. Technological Innovation and Adaptation:

Innovation hubs and technological showcases throughout COP28 have highlighted breakthroughs in climate adaptation and resilience. From smart agriculture to advanced climate modelling, technological solutions are playing a crucial role in helping communities adapt to the changing climate.


  1. Youth-Led Initiatives:

The youth have emerged as powerful agents of change, with their voices resonating through COP28. Youth-led initiatives and activism have brought fresh perspectives, emphasizing the urgency of addressing climate issues and holding leaders accountable for their commitments.


  1. Ocean Conservation and Blue Economy:

The importance of ocean conservation and the blue economy has taken a prominent place in discussions. COP28 has seen increased attention to sustainable practices to protect marine ecosystems and harness the potential of the blue economy for economic growth while preserving ocean health.

As COP28 progresses, these achievements underscore a collective resolve to turn climate goals into actionable plans.

This is heartening to hear despite the controversial elements of this COP28: the location itself plus the vast number of oil and gas organisations represented. We have seen some clear efforts to counter this including the prising open of the deep pockets of the petro-states including from the host nation (close to 50% of financial commitments come from AUE itself). A further first from this group is to commit to reducing methane emissions which is long overdue and in reality, does not go far enough.  There was a very rapid clarification of whether the was any science behind climate change – but let’s not go there!

To date, we have had over 700 people visit the Renewable Energy Pavilion, from over 50 nations and we have agreed to work (with exciting MOUs) with some amazing organisations that are complimentary to the ethos of the REA: to deliver Net Zero with 100% renewable energy and clean technology.

While challenges persist, the momentum and collaboration witnessed so far provide hope that the international community is on the right track to create a sustainable and resilient future for generations to come. I have signed on behalf of the REA and its members the following statement, coordinated for the UK Government and its presence here.

As UK businesses we see the massive economic opportunity from delivering net zero that supports the UK in the transition to a climate-neutral, nature-positive and socially inclusive economy. The UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai taking place now, presents an opportunity for the UK to demonstrate its global climate leadership and raise ambition globally on both climate mitigation and adaptation that supports the implementation of our domestic UK targets. 

The UK’s priority for COP 28 is to deliver new commitments and action to keep 1.5C alive. This must include:

  • A commitment to peak global emissions by 2025 and clear guidance for the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). 
  • Commitments in the GST to phase out unabated fossil fuels in line with the G7 commitment the UK helped to deliver earlier this year and to triple global renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030.
  • An outcome on finance which helps deliver the trillions needed to accelerate the transition and supports vulnerable countries in building resilience to current and future climate impacts. This includes reform of international financial institutions and a commitment to double adaptation finance by 2025.

I hope that you all agree with this sentiment as we enter the second half of COP28.  We must use this stage for even greater strides in the fight against climate change.