What is Conference of the Parties?
A conference of the parties is the supreme governing body of an international convention. It is composed of representatives of the member states of the convention and accredited observers. The COP is the decision-making body of the Convention. All States that are Parties to the Convention are represented at the COP, at which they review the implementation of the Convention.
What happens at COP & why is it so important?
COP meetings primarily revolve around negotiations and debates. The aim is to review progress towards the overall goal of the UNFCCC: to limit climate change.
It sees representatives from hundreds of countries gather to agree actions to tackle the climate crisis. A key task for the COP is to review the emission inventories submitted by Parties. Based on this information, the COP assesses the effects of the measures taken and the progress made by Parties in achieving the objective of the Convention.
How often does COP take place?
The COP meets every year unless the Parties decide otherwise. The first COP meeting was held in Berlin, Germany in March, 1995. The COP meets in Bonn, the seat of the secretariat, unless a Party offers to host the session. Just as the COP Presidency rotates among the five recognized UN regions – that is, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe, and Others – there is a tendency for the venue of the COP to also shift among these groups.
What is COP28?
It is the most recent conference to take place. It was scheduled to last from 30 November to 12 December 2023, but overran by a day. The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly known as COP28, was the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference, held from 30 November to 12 December at Expo City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Why was it so important this year?
According to the 2023 edition of the Emissions Gap Report, released in the lead-up to COP28, emissions must be cut by 42 percent by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
The report finds that there has been progress since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. Greenhouse gas emissions in 2030, based on policies in place, were projected to increase by 16 percent at the time of the agreement’s adoption. Today, the projected increase is 3 percent. However, predicted 2030 greenhouse gas emissions still must fall by 28 percent for the Paris Agreement 2°C pathway and 42 percent for the 1.5°C pathway.
What was the outcome of COP82?
The conference agreed to implement the Loss and Damage Fund, which aims to keep up with the rising costs caused by extreme weather and slow-onset disasters such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, and melting glaciers.
It also concluded the first global stocktake of climate action under the Paris Agreement; the international treaty on climate change.
The biggest take-away from COP28 was that it adopted a decision calling for accelerated short-term action and an orderly transition away from fossil fuels towards climate-neutral energy systems.
Why is the transition away from fossil fuels vital for our planet’s future?
Phasing out fossil gas is crucial, alongside the phase-out of coal-fired power, to limit global heating to 1.5°C. When burned for energy, fossil gas produces carbon dioxide (CO2). Globally, 20% of current energy-related CO2 emissions are associated with fossil gas, and its use is expanding.
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