COP-28 conference: Who are the key players and what's on their agenda?

Modi will be in UAE for two days from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 to attend the summit

COP28 Climate Summit A sign for the COP28 U.N. Climate Summit is displayed in Dubai | AFP

The two weeks from November 30 will see representatives of all major economies converging in Dubai for the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP28. The summit will see negotiations on contentious topics that include phasing out fossil fuels and financing energy transition in developing countries.

The venue will also witness major economies in the world wrangle over their next steps in fighting climate change while safeguarding their concerns and interests.

Here is a brief overview of the major players and their plans for the summit. 


Though China considers itself a developing nation in the climate talks, it is the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter. It also leads the world in dirty energy with more coal consumption than any other country. China also suffered the most aftermaths of climate change this year which saw it battling heatwaves, flooding and extreme drought. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping is not expected to show up but Beijing has been demanding richer nations pledge $100 billion in annual climate finance for poorer countries. It has also been reluctant to commit to phasing out of coal. 

United States

Though the world's second-biggest emitter, the US has the distinction of being the biggest historical CO2 emitter. The world's biggest oil and gas producer, however, has supported a COP28 deal calling to phase out CO2-emitting fossil fuel use. But, the U.S. will likely face pressure for climate finance after Washington said it supports a new fund to help poor countries deal with climate-caused damage. But, it wants a deal to make clear no country will be obliged to pay into it.

European Union

The 27-country European Union is likely to push for tripling renewable capacity, phasing out CO2-emitting fossil fuels, ending new coal-fuelled power plants and powering electricity grids with renewable sources in the 2030s. The EU backs climate-vulnerable small island states and wants China and other large economies to pay into the planned fund. 

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom also bats for phasing out fossil fuels and tripling renewable energy. However, London's recent plans to weaken some of the government's key green commitments by delaying a ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel cars and phasing out gas boilers could raise concerns among climate diplomats. 

India and other 'basic countries'

India is among the basic countries that have asked for more climate financing and equity through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concept which suggests rich countries that emitted the most historically should do more to address the problem.

African Group

African negotiators will be attending the COP28 for climate finance and financial mechanisms to speed up green energy projects. While countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Senegal have backed calls for phasing out fossil fuel production, others like Mozambique want to develop their reserves of gas - both to boost their energy capacity and to capitalise on European gas demand. 

What's on the agenda?

The main task at COP28 will be to take stock of the steps taken towards the 2015 Paris Agreement's goal of limiting the global temperature rise to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius while aiming for 1.5C. The participants will also press for a plan to ensure climate goals are met, which could include steps towards cutting CO2 emissions or boosting green technology investments. Another topic on the agenda would be whether all countries or just the world's wealthiest countries to do more because they released the most planet-warming emissions historically.

Talks on phasing out the use of CO2-emitting coal, oil and gas could dominate the talks at COP28. Though countries agreed at COP26 to phase down the use of coal, they have never agreed to quit all fossil fuels.

The focus could also be on emissions-abatement technologies which are important for meeting climate goals and clean energy. Countries will consider setting goals to triple renewable energy capacity and to double energy savings by 2030 - a proposal made by the European Union, United States and the UAE's COP28 presidency.

With regard to climate financing, vulnerable countries will be tasked with setting up a "loss and damage" fund.

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