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COP28 Diary, Carbon Credit Markets Special: 30 November 2023.

These are today’s news from Dubai.

Dubai EXPO 2020 إكسبو

This is where COP28 is happening, South of the city center. Several air-conditioned pavilions spread in a large area. For example, to go from B6 - 77 to B2 - 24 it might take you a 10-15 minutes walk. Modern looking areas, including gardens of stylistic iron plants (`a la Avatar) as well as irrigated natural ones, including palm trees, By the way, their straight rough very high trunk makes them very different than those from the tropics. Back to Dubai EXPO 2020 area, there is a central spot with a huge dome structure, where two different areas converge: blue (UN run-zone, delegates and negotiations) and green (free). Bird’s eye view of all these areas would resemble a flower (extremely expensive around, btw), with that round dome at the center. Blue area is easily accessible by metro and blue-pass-holders get free travel. By the way, the metro is already a pre-COP experience. A group of Brazilians (chatting), a Spanish speaking couple (taking picture of that Brazilian with an Indian headdress), a man from India (talking on his mobile with a particular English accent), a lady from Indonesia (country name written in her backpack) and a man texting on his mobile, indicating Marshall Islands on his badge.

To eat and drink.

Not cheap. Hamburger, fries and soda for 93,00 AED (Emirati dirham), equivalent US$ 25. Plus 10% tip. (Tomorrow it will be also supermarket day ...). On the other hand, free potable water everywhere. But only drinkable as long as you carry your own COP28 dark green bottle. Yes, no cups available. Maybe something good. Maybe (recalling Taylor Swift’s show in Rio de Janeiro a few days ago … climate change concerns).

The day.

It was the opening of COP28. An impressive plenary meeting, huge pavilion, with representatives from all over the World. To the left someone speaking Japanese and to the right an African language hard to distinguish. In front, representatives from all countries and organisations.

Although Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber was already travelling and having meetings all over the World for about one year, in preparation this COP28 at his home country, his COP presidency started at that opening ceremony. He then formally took on the helm from the president of COP27 Egypt.

Some of his words:

The science has spoken. We need a new road. I ask you to be flexible. For this COP to deliver. Please. UAE, young country on the desert. 2 years older than I am. Collaboration, partnership, work, pragmatism. We have to do something about oil. Find common ground. With the north star: 1.5 °C. Climate finance to step in, so that South does not suffer nor need to make difficult choices. Loss and damage. To deliver what started in Egypt. This is also the 1st COP to discuss health. Our task in the coming 2 weeks is not only about negotiating words with consensus. It’s about people. We made the choice to be here.

Then quotes from other speakers:

  • Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary: “There is no time to trying to try”. (quoting his son and as a respectful reference to future generations).

  • Jim Skea, chair of IPCC: “Science is no substitute for action.”

At the Press Conference later on, Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber was specially thankful - “COP28 has a different enthusiasm.” - for the fact that the agenda was voted and agreed at this same 1st day, something nothing common in a COP. This means that preparatory meetings worked and that “the real work begins now, focused on delivering the highest aspirations.”

On top of that, money started to feed the Loss & Damage fund. When we anticipated the news a few hours ago, the amount was US$ 100 million. At the end of the day in Dubai the amount was already USD 420 million. And it will probably increase more.

From the Press Conference, worth another quote, from Mrs. Hana Al Hashimi, COP 28 Head Negotiator: “We hope it will be a truly monumental COP. Including emerging young leaders”.

The other important day.

The coming days December 2 and 3, UAE celebrates Union Day (previously known as National Day). This means 52 years since the formation of the United Arab Emirates.

Why do we say that? Because the Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber quoted in his opening speech to all COP28 delegates, referring to what can be constructed in (less than) a generation, with vision and determination.

Just Google “UAE 50 year ago” and compare with “Modern UAE”.

Before we close the day.

Other than the opening session, we attended a few other events:

  • National Oil Companies NOCs & climate / energy transition challenges. Reference was made for this publication. One of the panelists, Natalie Jones from IISD, indicated that US$ 4 trillion of stranded assets would be at stake, to which Glada Lahn, from Chatham House, suggested moving away from economic growth for some time, to allow the transition.

We also visited some Country Pavilions. Here the outcome:

People and paparazzi

John Kerry, veteran U.S. climate envoy noted at the plenary during the opening session. And at the end of the day almost crashed - saved by a reporter - with U.K. Foreign Secretary, David Cameron. And Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber only allowed two selfies after the press conference. Pity that Pope Francis will not come.

Our key takeaway

According to the NDCs, water comes before everything, including forests, i.e. there are much more countries in the World worried about their water (and food security) than NBS.

COP28 Dubai, Opening Session. Photo by
COP28 Dubai, Opening Session. Photo by


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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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