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COP28 Diary, 8th December 2023, Carbon Credit Markets Special.

News from Dubai. Signs. Getting clearer.

Before we start

Everyday, on our way to the Metro that takes us to COP28’s venue, we walk through the Mall of the Emirates. Always crowded and noticeably with people from all parts of the world. You see, feel and breath diversity. And now we start to notice some shops decorated for the season, more lights, even with Christmas trees. Dubai is a cosmopolitan city.

And about United Arab Emirates (UAE), its Friday-Saturday weekend moved to Saturday-Sunday in a landmark reform that came into force on January 2022.

At COP28 itself, on one hand a feeling that the audience is slowly reducing, although the climate ministers are around aiming finalising all possible agreements. On the other hand, an evident increase of young people around, inclusive with creative demonstrations every now and then. Probably normal, specially in these times of growing anxiety.

The day today.

Day started with us joining the “Plenary meeting of the COP/CMP/CMA”, plenary with the task to organize the work, including the sessions of the subsidiary bodies. About the different meanings of COP, CMP and CMA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has this very clear explanation.

COP28 President Al-Jaber opened the plenary and is followed by Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, with the following remarks.

“If we don’t bend the emissions curve, we will reach a tipping point. 1,5°C is the target. It’s not a choice. It’s a point of no return. The transition we have to do now is nothing compared to the one we may be forced to. We have the technology. We have a week left. We have to have a strong text on adaptation. Science based targets must be our North Star. We already had a lot pledges at first week, so we have to keep that momentum.”

Then the floor is given to several countries. Every now and then quoting “G77+China”, a negotiating bloc at COP. Then comes Colombia with a speech worth quoting:

“Adaptation is possible until 1,5°C. More than that will be loss & damage for everybody. Colombia exports coal and oil. Our concern is therefore not only with energy transition. It is about economic transition. Financial risk, credit downgrades. Ambition can not be punishments”.

Follows a unique, long, loud round of applause. So long that COP’s President Al Jaber had to interrupt it to give the floor to the next speaker (India).

Then we moved to “UNFCCC: Next round of NDCs”.

Perumal Arumugam (UNFCCC secretariat) made the opening remarks, before Mary Awad Menassa (UNFCCC) stepped into as moderator, panel with three countries (Brazil, Indonesia and Tunisia) and three entities:

  • Indonesia, Emma Rachmawaty (Head of Task Force for Second NDC, Ministry of Environment and Forestry)

  • Tunisia, Mohamed Zmeril (Head National Head Change Coordination Department, Ministry of Environment)

  • (Brazil was supposed to be represented by Mrs Ana Toni, Climate Change Director, Ministry of Environment, who did not show up. One representative arrived about 10 minutes after the panel started).

  • Cassie Flynn (Global Director of Climate Change UNDP)

  • Mariana Panuncio-Feldman (Director, Country Engagement NDC Partnership)

  • Andrea Camponogara (Regional Collaboration Centres Global Lead, UNFCCC Secretariat)

Some really great insights.

  • Tunisia: first NDC was top-down, for sectorial buy-in, ownership. New version, enhanced buy-in and add protagonism to the young people.

  • Mariana: “NDCs should not be seen only as a document, but a reference for public and private investments”. “Next NDC Target is for 2035. If we look the two last years, how to assess 13 years ahead?” We may not have the answers. Need collaboration.

  • Andrea: UNFCCC does not work only with NDCs, but also “Adaptation, Loss and Damage, Carbon Markets”. Contact among countries is key. “We see lots of actions by the private sector NOT reflected in the country NDC. Be aware: there are front runners in the private sector”. “We need to inject optimism into the NDCs”.

And three questions from the audience, summarising all replies:

  1. Ocean. Countries considerations in their past NDCs was limited to mangroves and costal ecosystems. Unfamiliarity with scientific studies was quoted. In this area, “global discussions need more stage, availability of data, capacity building”.

  2. Agriculture. A super significant sector. “Important everywhere, like oceans. Adaptation and mitigation meet in Agriculture”.

  3. Subnational integration. In spite of (political) challenges, “vertical integration critical. Work out financial issues, mandate and reporting.”

This was an important panel. COP28 Presidency sent Ghanim Hableel (UAE Senior Climate Mitigation and Response Measures) for the closing remarks.

Then the walked to the presentation “Brazilian emissions: on track to COP30? (Imaflora, Amazon, SOS Atlantic Forest Foundation, OC)”. Several panelists to discuss Brazilian 6h position as global emitter.

Initially several graphs and studies were presented (the 11th collection 1970-2022), subsidizing a perspective of “increased ambition”. In other words, what to do separately in terms of (a) deforestation Amazon, (b) deforestation other Biomes, (c) other emissions and (d) removals (protected land) to have more ambitions targets? Interesting. Source of information here.

Then a presentation by SOS Atlantic Forest Foundation, with a relatively positive scenario of several spotted regeneration areas (published by Nature in 2020). And the belief that zero deforestation will be first achieved in this biome, the Atlantic Forest. Its the only biome protected by a special law, besides being a national heritage zone. You can read more here.

Then “Cerrado: Challenges to reduce land use emission in the second largest biome of Brasil”. With several alerts:

  • Deforestation: grew 3% in the Cerrado (while reduced 40% in the Amazon).

  • Bad data(CAR limitation): 73% of the cerrado is “assumed to be private use”.

  • Law: allows 80% deforestation in the Cerrado (and only 20% at the Amazon).

There was more, but we stop here. And go to the next appointment.

Press Conference: UNCTAD Climate and Development 2023

United Nations representatives talking about Trade & Development, finance relates issues and supporting the G77+China, whose leader Pedro Manoel Moreno was expected at the press conference (but couldn’t get there).

Three hard copy papers were distributed (we will read later) There might be digital version at their website ( Here their titles:

  •  Taking Responsibility. Towards a Fit-for-Purpose Loss and Damage Fund

  • Report Summary. Considerations for a New Collective Quantified Goal. Bringing accountability, trust and developing country needs to climate finance.

  • Report Summary. Making sense of Article 2.1(c). What role for private finance in achieving climate goals?

For reference, Article 2.1 (c) calls on “making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development”.

What was said (impressed us!):

  • Global financial system: “Insufficient, inefficient and unfair”. Needs to be “better, bigger and bolder”. Reform needed at the international finance architecture.

  • Loss & Damage: “we would like to see US$ 150 billions per year.

  • (*) Reference (for the lack of ambition of the Loss & Damage Fund): US Marshall Plan after World War II to 16 countries in Europe.

  • Loss & Damage: move from a political to a technical issue. Developing countries asking for a specific governance body to address next steps.

  • The World needs a (new) international independent mechanism to sort this situation (“burden”) out.

  • “We realised that several countries - totalling 3 billion population - are struggling with debit payment , hampering, for example, investments on education.”

(*) Indeed Carbon Credit Markets checked and found this reference at GMF (German Marshall Fund) portal: “The Marshall Plan dedicated an unprecedented amount of foreign aid—$13.2 billion, over $130 billion in today’s dollars, or 5.2% of US GDP”. Why don’t you - our readers - go check how much the US GDP is these days and calculate how much would 5.2% of it be? Just as a reference.


And the last of the day, the panel “Uniting for Climate Actions: Calling for International Technology and Innovation”, in the most chic of the plenaries, the Al Waha Theatre (picture). With the final remarks by Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, COP28 Director General.

  • How to fast track the energy transition? Technology.

  • How to fix finance, transform the international architecture to deliver to people on the ground? Technology.

  • How to reach people in an inclusive way? Technology.

Before we close the day.

On our COP28 Diary of 5ht December, we quoted Ross McKenzie (Drax Group), panelist of “Capture de Opportunity: The role of carbon removals in addressing the global stocktake” for having said about CO2 that “99% is removed by trees. Rest only is Direct Removal (DR) and Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BEECS)”. One of our readers asked for a reference about that quote. Thanks to LinkedIn we contacted Ross, who kindly complemented:

“Good to hear from you. Yes the figure is actually 99.9% and the figure comes from Oxford University in a report they published this year”. So, here is the report for all our readers.

People and paparazzi

Two names are being heard more frequently these last COP28 days. One is William Ruto, the Kenyan president, that out of Africa seems to be emanating a new type of leadership among developing countries. The other is Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, Cuban, chair of the G77 + China, one significant and active bloc being quoted over and over in the main plenary sessions.

Last but not least, yesterday, enjoying COP28 recess with a select group of Latin Americans and Middle Easterns, we joined the vernissage “Art with Climate Conscience Dubai” at Sui Mui - Westin Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina. We were hosted by Karla and Sigrid Links to their purpose-full initiatives.

Our key takeaways

Beyond mangroves. There is much more about the ocean’s role on climate change and our future. All this has to be added to the NDCs.

“There are front runners in the private sector” (also not be forgotten in the NDCs). “We need to inject optimism into the NDCs”.  Andrea Camponogara, Regional Collaboration Centres Global Lead, UNFCCC Secretariat.

“Together we surprised the doubters, and inspired the optimists. By working together, we can help sustain our planet.” By the COP28 President Al-Jaber.

“Ambition can not be punishments”, Colombia.

“The transition we have to do now is nothing compared to the one we may be forced to”. Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary.

US Marshall Plan as a reference (for the current lack of ambition of Loss & Damage): it was 5.2% of US GDP after World War II. How much would it be nowadays?

COP28 Al Waha Theatre. Photo by CarbonCreditMarkets
COP28 Al Waha Theatre. Photo by CarbonCreditMarkets


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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