Climate Action

COP28: These are the key talking points for the 2023 climate summit

A person walks past a "#COP28" sign during The Changemaker Majlis, a one-day CEO-level thought leadership workshop focused on climate action, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

COP28 begins on 30 November. Image: REUTERS/Amr Alfiky

Ian Shine
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • COP28 begins on 30 November and will play host to a series of first-time events for the UN climate crisis talks.
  • Here’s a round-up of some of the best things to read about COP28.
  • The World Economic Forum is partnering with COP28 host the United Arab Emirates to shape the debate at the conference’s Trade Day.

What will be the key talking points at the COP28 climate summit?

Get up to speed on what prioirities and desired outcomes will be the focus of this year’s UN Climate Change Conference with our selected readings below. COP28 begins on 30 November, and we’ll keep adding new blogs to our list as the summit moves towards its conclusion on 12 December.

A 'Global Stocktake' on the climate crisis

COP28 will host the first Global Stocktake, assessing how nearly 200 countries are progressing on climate action. The findings will feed into new country targets on the climate crisis.

COP28 will host the first-ever Global Stocktake to assess progress on tackling the climate crisis.
COP28 will host the first-ever Global Stocktake to assess progress on tackling the climate crisis. Image: United Nations

The Global Stocktake was established as part of the Paris Agreement in 2015. It will detail 17 key findings and related recommendations across four areas: climate change context; mitigation; adaptation; and the implementation and financing of climate action. Find out more by reading our Global Stocktake explainer.

5 key areas for action at COP28

Speeding up the energy transition will be among the areas of focus at this year’s climate talks. Greenhouse gas emissions are at an all-time high, despite pledges to move in the opposite direction. Discussions at COP28 will likely focus on the rapid scaling up of renewable energy, and how innovations like hydrogen fuels and carbon capture technologies can help reduce emissions.


How is the World Economic Forum fighting the climate crisis?

The conference’s Trade Day will explore the potential to reduce emissions across the trade value chain and grow markets for climate-friendly products such as electric vehicles and non-plastic packaging. The World Economic Forum is partnering with COP28 host the United Arab Emirates, UN trade body UNCTAD, the World Trade Organization and the International Chamber of Commerce to shape the debate at Trade Day.

What different countries want from COP28

The United States wants to stop new coal-fired power plants getting permits to operate, and it wants this to happen immediately, according to Politico. The UAE, meanwhile, is looking for a “strong” agreement on how to cut emissions, along with a “comprehensive adaptation agreement”


Carbon Brief also offers its take on what different countries want from the climate talks. It says the African negotiating group will be prioritizing post-2025 climate finance goals, and is ideally looking for mandatory contributions from developed countries. China and the G77 group of developing countries will also be looking to extract commitments from developed countries, but this time around payments into the Loss and Damage Fund agreed at COP27.

Brazil, meanwhile, will push for a global financing framework to help preserve tropical forests, according to the Financial Times. The fund would provide compensation to residents and landowners who keep local forests intact, in an attempt to lessen the financial motives for deforestation.

Potential COP28 outcomes

The future of fossil fuels will be in the spotlight at COP28. A group of 130 major companies will be pushing for the agreement of a timeline to end fossil fuel use, according to Reuters. They will call for the richest countries to commit to having 100% decarbonized power supplies by 2035. There will also be an EU-led push for promises to “phase out” fossil fuel emissions, according to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Commitments to combat biodiversity loss could also emerge, the CFR adds. This follows the signing of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework in late 2022, the goals of which include setting aside 30% of Earth's land and ocean as protected areas by 2030.

The COP28 talks could lead to more commitments to combat biodiversity loss.
The COP28 talks could lead to more commitments to combat biodiversity loss. Image: WWF

The World Economic Forum’s series of reports on Nature-Positive Industry Sector Transitions highlights what companies in different sectors can do to help reverse nature loss by 2030. “Most of the world’s top 500 companies have a climate target – but just 5% have one for biodiversity,” the reports all say. “Given how dependent the global economy is on nature, the private sector urgently needs to help halt and reverse nature loss this decade.”

COP firsts

A Health Day will take place at a COP conference for the first time in 2023, to address the ways the climate crisis is impacting people’s wellbeing. It will promote the "health arguments for climate action" – covering both physical and mental health – and highlight the best ways global health systems can build up resilience to potential climate shocks.

Impact of climate change on human health.
The climate crisis impacts human health in numerous ways. Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The COP28 Local Climate Action Summit will make its debut, with the intention of bringing subnational leaders such as mayors and governors into the COP programme and process. It will focus on how local action can support national targets in areas from the energy transition to climate finance.

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