COP 28 venue: Expo City, Dubai

Date: November 30 - December 12

The UN climate change conference, COP28, has opened its gates in Dubai with a resounding call to accelerate collective climate action.

More than 70,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries are expected to participate in this decisive summit to discuss progress made in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, helping vulnerable communities adapt to the effects of climate change, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. All of this, amidst reports that climate pledges are not enough to avert the worst impacts of global warming.

Heads of nations, business leaders, climate scientists, Indigenous Peoples, journalists, and various other experts and stakeholders are also among the participants.

The US President Joe Biden will not attend the summit. Heads of GCC states, the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to attend. King Charles will give the opening speech along with the UN secretary general, António Guterres, and the UAE president, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. Among the other notable leaders, China's veteran climate change envoy, Xie Zhenhua, will also attend the climate talks in Dubai.

"Over 160 world leaders are headed to Dubai, because only cooperation between nations can get humanity back in this race. But COP28 cannot be just a photo-op. Leaders must deliver – the message is clear,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell. “And as leaders leave Dubai after the opening summit, their message to their negotiators must be equally clear: Don’t come home without a deal that will make a real difference.”

Among the many decisions countries must make during the summit will be whether to agree to gradually phase out consumption of fossil fuels and replace them with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Decisions made by the stakeholders at the COP28 could turn out to be the most consequential outcome following the 2015 Paris conference.

According to the UN, COP28 will provide a reality check – a culmination of a process called Global Stocktake – on how far the world has come in tackling the climate crisis and how much of a course correction is needed.

The first global stocktake began at COP26 in Glasgow and it will conclude in Dubai.

Global Stocktake is designed to help identify what more still needs to be done and guide countries towards more ambitious and accelerated climate action plans.

The president of COP 28 is Dr. Sultan Al Jaber. He also heads the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the largest oil producer in the UAE.

“We don’t have any time to waste. We need to take urgent action now to reduce emissions. At COP28, every country and every company will be held to account, guided by the north star of keeping 1.5°C within reach,” Al Jaber said.

“All parties should be prepared to deliver a high ambition decision in response to the global stocktake that reduces emissions while protecting people, lives and livelihoods,” he added.

Cooperation between the US and China, the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, is very important for the success of COP28.

The US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, met with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, in California last month and decided to work together for a successful COP28.  

"We have decided to actually work together to get a successful COP, to get a successful global stocktake," Reuters quoted Kerry as saying.

(Writing by Seban Scaria; editing by Anoop Menon)