Sign In or Create an Account.

By continuing, you agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge our Privacy Policy


COP28 So Far: A Cheat Sheet

Halfway through the year’s marquee climate conference, here’s where things stand.

COP28 elements.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

It’s a “rest day” at COP28, which means there probably won’t be a ton of news coming out of Dubai as delegates take a breather before the climate talks shift into high gear tomorrow. That makes now a good time to reflect on what’s happened so far and what to expect as the conference enters its second half.

Some key accomplishments:

  • The loss and damage fund: On day one of the conference, world leaders reached a landmark deal to help vulnerable nations deal with the costly effects of climate change. The early accomplishment set an optimistic tone for the summit — although The Guardiannotes that wealthy countries have so far pledged $700 million to the fund, “far short of what is needed.” In total, countries have announced $57 billion of various funding pledges at the conference.
  • Methane cuts: About 50 oil and gas companies pledged to slash their methane leaks by 2030. Critics cry greenwashing, but as Heatmap’s Emily Pontecorvo points out, recent technological advances in methane monitoring – including satellites, drones, and handheld detectors – could help in the international effort to hold these companies accountable. A planned $40 million infusion from billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg will bolster the cause, too.
  • A renewables pledge: At least 120 countries backed a pledge to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030. That goal made it into an early draft of the global stocktake report, the summit’s final deliverable, but that’s no guarantee it will be formally adopted.
  • A nuclear energy declaration: More than 20 countries including the U.S., Canada, the UK, and the United Arab Emirates, pledged to triple global nuclear energy capacity by 2050.
  • Growing support for a fossil phase-out: The number of countries pledging to voluntarily end oil and gas extraction and exploration grew to 24 when Spain, Kenya, and Samoa joined the Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance
  • A global cooling pledge: More than 60 countries pledged to reduce their cooling-related emissions by at least 68% by 2050.

Still to come:

  • Phase out or phase down?: The global stocktake will be the main focus heading into the second week of COP28. This key document will set out the world’s climate goals for the coming years, and help determine how they’ll be accomplished. The most contentious issue is whether to include a call for a phase out of fossil fuels. A new draft of the global stocktake is expected tomorrow.
  • What comes after $100 billion?: Ministers will also need to lay the groundwork for new climate financing targets for poorer countries. Rich nations recently (and belatedly) hit their goal of providing $100 billion annually for poorer countries, a pledge set out in 2009. But finance efforts don’t end there, explains the World Resources Institute. Next year’s COP will call for setting a new “collective quantified goal” that uses the existing $100 billion target as a jumping off point but will likely balloon to be much bigger. Delegates in Dubai will try to come to some consensus on what to prioritize when negotiations start at COP29.

“We had a pretty damn good week here in Dubai already,” U.S. Special Envoy John Kerry told the AP. But underlying it all is the reality that the event is being held in one of the world’s biggest petrostates, fossil fuel lobbyists are out in force, and the summit’s president, Sultan Al-Jaber, has been openly skeptical about the science connecting fossil fuel caps to taming global temperatures.

“I’m not telling you that everybody’s going to come kumbaya to the table,” Kerry added, “but I am telling you we’re going to make our best effort to get the best agreement we can to move as far as we can as fast as we can. That’s what people in the world want us to do. It’s time for adults to behave like adults and get the job done.”

The summit is set to end on December 12, but previous COPs have run into overtime.

Jessica  Hullinger profile image

Jessica Hullinger

Jessica Hullinger is a freelance writer and editor who likes to think deeply about climate science and sustainability. She previously served as Global Deputy Editor for The Week, and her writing has been featured in publications including Fast Company, Popular Science, and Fortune. Jessica is originally from Indiana but lives in London.


What 2 Years of High Interest Rates Have Done to Clean Energy

The end may be in sight, but it’s not here yet.

Jerome Powell.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Are interest rates going to go down? The market will have to wait.

Following a Tuesday report showing steady consumer prices in May and prices overall only rising 3.3% in the past year, the Federal Reserve held steady on interest rates, releasing a projection Wednesday showing just one rate cut this year.

Keep reading...Show less

The Stephen Miller of Climate Policy

Russ Vought could jeopardize the next decade of climate science. But who is he?

Russ Vought and Donald Trump.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

It is my sincere belief that, as with many aspects of governance, thinking about climate policy bores former President Donald Trump. He is not without his hobbyhorses — wind turbines are ugly bird-killers; it’s freezing in New York, so where the hell is global warming? — but on the whole, I tend to agree with the assessment that he basically believes “nothing” on climate change. Trump simply isn’t all that interested. He prefers to let the others do the thinking for him.

This isn’t a knock on Trump, per se; part of leading a bureaucracy as big and as complicated as the United States government is surrounding yourself with people who can offload some of that thinking for you. But the crucial question then becomes: Who is doing that thinking?

Keep reading...Show less

AM Briefing: N20 Emissions Climb

On a very potent greenhouse gas, Florida’s flooding, and hydropower

We Need to Talk About Nitrous Oxide
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: Temperatures in northern China will top 107 degrees Fahrenheit today • Months-long water shortages have sparked riots in Algeria • Unseasonably cold and wet weather is being blamed for stunted economic growth in the U.K.


1. Torrential rains flood southern Florida

More than 7 million people are under flood advisories in Florida, with a tropical storm stalled over the state at least through Friday. Flooding was reported across the southern part of Florida including Fort Myers, Miami, and even farther north. In Sarasota, just south of Tampa, nearly four inches of rain fell in an hour, a new record for the area, with total rainfall reaching about 10 inches on Tuesday. The downpour was a one-in-1,000-year event. “The steadiest and heaviest rain will fall on South and central Florida through Thursday, but more spotty downpours and thunderstorms will continue to pester the region into Saturday,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Reneé Duff said.

Keep reading...Show less