COP28: a crucial conference for the fight against climate change


COP28, the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will be hosted and chaired by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December 2023. Eight years after COP21, where the historic Paris Agreement was adopted, COP28’s results will be crucial for achieving the objectives set and the future of humankind.

What is a COP session?

In 1992, during the Rio Earth Summit, 154 States, recognizing the existence of climate change resulting from human activity, decided to work together to limit global warming. This gave rise to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (or UNFCCC) and its decision-making body, the Conference of the Parties (or COP).

A COP session brings together the 198 Parties to the Convention each year. Each session is an opportunity to take stock of the application of the Convention, give details on the implementation of decisions and negotiate new commitments with individual or shared objectives. Decisions are adopted by consensus. The European Union speaks with a single voice. Ahead of each session, the EU Member States coordinate to produce a negotiating mandate.

More information: International climate negotiations

A first global stocktake of the Paris Agreement’s implementation

COP28 is an opportunity for a first “Global Stocktake” (GST) of the Paris Agreement’s implementation. This mechanism was adopted at COP21 in 2015 to evaluate collective progress, in 2023 and then every five years, in implementing the 3 pillars of the Paris Agreement:

  • Mitigation, or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Adaptation to climate change;
  • Resources for implementation.

France and the EU are calling for this first GST to:

  • Lead to robust political recommendations to strengthen collective ambition;
  • Promote tangible solutions strengthening the implementation of national commitments and international climate cooperation.

Perseverance in mitigation efforts and phasing out fossil fuels

In accordance with the conclusions of the sixth IPCC Assessment Report, COP28 should highlight the urgency of more and faster action to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Achieving this collective mitigation objective, which is enshrined in the Paris Agreement, requires States, especially the main emitters, to ratchet up their goals and seek to achieve carbon neutrality as quickly as possible. The European Union has committed to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 and to reach climate neutrality (including all greenhouse gases) by 2050.

At COP26, countries committed for the first time to speed up the transition to low-carbon energy sources. That means gradually reducing use of coal for power generation and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. Phasing out coal is a French priority for the coming years, and France will continue advocating with the EU for the phasing out of fossil fuel energy facilities without capture and storage equipment for emissions.

Building adaptation capacities

Above and beyond what we can do to reduce emissions and slow global warming, our societies will have to adapt to climate change to protect people from the related risks, such as fires, droughts and floods. That will require changes to our social and economic systems. France is committed to promoting the key role of adaptation in the variety of solutions to address loss and damage.

Unlike mitigation, in which it is fairly simple to assess global progress, adaptation is more difficult to quantify and qualify, so it is difficult to set a clear objective. COP28 should see the adoption of a working framework to formulate precise ambitions for adaptation globally, with clear milestones to measure progress across the board in achieving the global adaptation objective.

Getting finance on board

International cooperation is needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s objectives. Progress has been made in recent years, but renewed efforts are needed to fulfil the commitment to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance for developing countries from 2020 to 2025. France is determined to contribute to fulfilling that commitment. The EU and its Member States are the main contributors to international climate finance, and raised €23 billion in 2021.

When it comes to loss and damage, COP28 should bring progress on implementing the new financial arrangements adopted at COP27 to support developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change. France and the European Union want financial arrangements and funds to be focused as a priority on the most vulnerable developing countries, in line with the COP27 decision.

France: a pioneer of climate diplomacy

France is engaged in all areas of climate diplomacy, supporting more than 50 coalitions and multi-stakeholder initiatives (involving States, local government bodies, civil society and the private sector) to bring progress on sectoral priorities. These include the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA), and the High Ambition Coalition (HAC), which brings together a group of countries committed to climate action. The One Planet summits, launched at the initiative of the French President in 2017, have become a forum for the financial commitment of States, local governments, international organizations, businesses, private banks and insurance companies.

The Summit for a New Global Financing Pact convened by the French President in Paris on 22 and 23 June 2023, began producing the financial boost that is much awaited by many partners in the global South, in order to address the main global issues and related financial challenges: fighting poverty, decarbonizing our economies to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and protecting biodiversity. The Summit was a first step and generated new political momentum to raise greater financial resources, adapt the international financial architecture to the needs of the 21st century and lighten the immediate fiscal burden for the most vulnerable countries. The high-level engagement at COP28 will be a milestone in bringing these collective ambitions to fruition and will strengthen the coalitions created in Paris under the Paris Pact for Peoples and the Planet.

At home, France has made ecological planning a priority. The French strategy for energy and the climate should provide an updated roadmap for France’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 and adapt our society to the impacts of climate change, enshrined in the first five-year programming act on energy and the climate.

Updated: November 2023