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CATF – Driving climate action for a zero-carbon future

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) hosted the 28th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai on
30 November — 12 December 2023. 

Climate needs a new set of options

COP28 will bring together leaders from government, civil society, industry, and finance from around the world to raise ambition and accelerate action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

But the current approach is not working

Climate impacts are intensifying around the world while emissions continue to rise, all while we fail to meet growing global energy demand. The conventional approach still underestimates the scope and scale of the climate challenge and fails to acknowledge the need call for a more pragmatic, flexible, inclusive, and effective approach.

We must change our thinking  

COP28 in the UAE provides a promising platform for a paradigm shift, with the potential to break free from old thinking and reimagine what it means to take real, effective climate action.

Our message to global leaders

At COP28, CATF is calling for government, industry, finance, and civil society to reckon with the full scope and scale of the challenge and take the immediate actions needed to meet it.

That means understanding that:

  • We need more energy, not less. We must respect the need to alleviate energy poverty, boost energy security, and increase energy access, particularly in the developing world.
  • We need more climate solutions, not fewer. There are no silver bullets. We must advance a wide range of solutions to maximize our chances of success.
  • One size does not fit all. Leaders must advance region-centric approaches while centering the needs of developing world. Each country or region will likely require a different set of solutions to fit its unique needs.
  • Inclusion is key. Climate change is a shared challenge that requires collaboration between policymakers, civil society, front line communities, and critical industries working across the energy ecosystem.
  • Accountability is critical. Public and sometimes symbolic pledges can set the stage for action, but we need detailed plans that can be implemented in the real world and achieved in realistic timeframes. All stakeholders must be held accountable for tangible and meaningful outcomes.

CATF’s COP28 Footprint

The Road to COP28

With COP28 fast approaching, CATF’s experts are on the road engaging world leaders, industry professionals, policymakers, civil society, and the media at a range of global climate summits – promoting a new vision for climate action and urging leaders to take action now.

The Zero-Carbon Future Pavilion

For the second consecutive year, CATF is hosting the Zero-Carbon Future pavilion — a collaborative climate and innovation exchange for meaningful conversations and innovative thought leadership.

We’re partnering with a wide range of advocates, technical experts, government officials, philanthropists, and industry leaders from around the world, to take on the hardest climate and energy questions. We’ll ask hard questions, share innovative solutions, and highlight the opportunities we must seize to decarbonize the global economy and transform the energy system.

News from COP28

Explore insights, research, and the latest COP28 news from CATF’s experts.

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Find answers to your common questions around COP28.

What is COP?

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is an annual climate conference hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international environmental treaty adopted by countries all around the world in 1994 to address the issue of climate change. 198 Parties have ratified the agreement (197 countries plus the European Union), representing almost universal global involvement.

The objectives of the UNFCCC are to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system”. COP serves as a yearly meeting of the Parties to the UNFCCC to discuss progress and action toward achieving these goals.

Why is COP important?

COP provides an important mechanism for ratcheting up ambition, accountability, and action – while increasing coordination between Parties and wider stakeholders. The climate challenge requires multinational, multisectoral cooperation, and international fora can accelerate action — elevating the voices of those most vulnerable to climate change’s impacts on an international stage, creating opportunities to foster cooperation between countries who might otherwise be at odds, and providing a forum through which to ask and work through difficult questions.

Why is COP28 important?

COP28 is particularly important for its marking of the conclusion of the first Global Stocktake – a process that assesses overall progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. COP28 will consider the findings of the Global Stocktake’s technical assessment and summarize key political messages and recommendations for strengthening action and enhancing support. While the technical assessment has found that the Paris Agreement has driven near-universal climate action through setting goals and sending a political signal to the world, the process will also highlight that we are, collectively, very far behind on climate goals and governments must support systems transformations to strengthen the global response to climate change. Through the Global Stocktake at COP28, countries will work toward submitting adjusted plans to address climate change in 2025.

COP28 is also important for its location: the UAE. This COP provides a poignant platform for leaders to reckon with the realities of our global energy system and the continued prominence of oil and gas in powering global livelihoods. CATF will use this opportunity to hold leaders in every corner of the world accountable for climate action, and advance a pragmatic theory of change that works within the realities of our global economy.

With UAE as backdrop, we’ll leverage our extensive network of relationships and deep reservoir of technical and policy expertise to drive outcomes toward decarbonization – and to shift global narratives toward a more realistic reckoning with the climate challenge.

What is the agenda at COP28?

COP28 will feature the following thematic days:

  • November 30: Opening Day
  • December 1: World Climate Action Summit
  • December 2: World Climate Action Summit
  • December 3: Health / Relief, Recovery and Peace
  • December 4: Finance / Trade / Gender Equality / Accountability
  • December 5: Energy and Industry / Just Transition / Indigenous Peoples
  • December 6: Multilevel Action, Urbanization and Built Environment / Transport
  • December 7: Rest
  • December 8: Youth, Children, Education and Skills
  • December 9: Nature, Land Use, and Oceans
  • December 10: Food, Agriculture, and Water
  • December 11-12: Final Negotiations

For more information on the COP28 agenda and its thematic days, visit:

Where is COP held?

COP is hosted by a different country each year and typically rotates through different geographic regions. The first meeting (COP1) took place in Berlin, Germany. COP27, in 2022, was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

In 2023, the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held at Expo City, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

When did COP start?

The first COP was held in Berlin in 1995.It was a milestone that set the stage for future protocols and agreements for nations to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Who takes part in COP?

COP brings together tens of thousands of diplomats, ministers, and negotiators from nearly 200 countries. The conferences are also attended by representatives from civil society, business and finance leaders, academic experts, international organizations, activists, and the media.

What has been achieved at previous COPs?

Several landmark commitments, treaties, and funding mechanisms have emerged from these annual meetings.

At COP3 in Kyoto, Japan, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted with a commitment to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in industrialized countries. The Kyoto Protocol was ultimately replaced by the Bali Roadmap in 2007 (which included all countries rather than just industrialized nations) but laid an important foundation for later agreements.

In 2015, at COP21, the Paris Agreement was unanimously adopted by almost all countries in the world, aiming to keep the rise in the global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and ideally to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It also included provisions to strengthen the ability to adapt to climate change and build resilience and align all finance flows with “a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.” As part of the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to set emissions reductions targets and communicate these targets to the UNFCCC in the form of nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

At COP24 in Katowice, Poland, Parties agreed the Katowice Climate Package, which sets out procedures and mechanisms to make the Paris Agreement operational. This includes implementation guidance for NDCs, for reporting on adaptation and climate impacts, and how to conduct the Global Stocktake to assess overall progress towards the Paris Agreement aims.

At COP26 in Glasglow, UK, the Glasgow Climate Pact for the first time called on all nations to phase down unabated coal power and inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels. It also saw the launch of the Global Methane Pledge, where over 115 countries committed to reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Methane is a harmful climate pollutant that must be mitigated alongside carbon dioxide to prevent near term warming and avoid passing potentially irreversible climate tipping points.