The choice of Dubai to host the COP28 global climate summit has undoubtedly been highly controversial. Participants felt that the climate and living conditions there are a kind of warning of what Europe and many other regions of the world may experience in the future if appropriate steps are not taken to prevent progressive climate change. Indeed, the United Arab Emirates is a country that does not have a single permanent river, but instead has the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which remains unconnected to the sewage system. It’s also a country where, for a period of several months of the year, any kind of functioning outside of air-conditioned spaces is virtually impossible, which is reflected, for example, in the infrastructure that allows people to move between buildings without going outside. As if even a short walk poses a mortal threat.

Role of Gulf countries at COP28

On a practical level, it is much more significant that the chairman of COP28 was Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber – chairman of ADNOC, the largest oil company in the United Arab Emirates. An impressive display of greenwashing by those entities and countries most responsible for the extraction and exploitation of fossil fuels was therefore expected. Indeed, the presence of the Gulf states was strongly visible, and the resources allocated for their promotion – by far the largest. Building a favorable atmosphere was also not helped by statements made by the COP28 chairman just before the summit began, who questioned the scientific basis for the push to eliminate fossil fuels from the energy mix.

COP28
Source: OCPI

COP28 Conclusions

The effects of the summit, perhaps precisely because expectations are so low, are surprisingly positive. The final conclusions included, for the first time, a provision directly addressing the phasing out of fossil fuels, although without further specifics. The success of Arab countries that have strongly exposed these technologies is the inclusion of Carbon Capture and Storage among climate change prevention efforts. Undoubtedly, the establishment of a $700 million compensation fund is concrete. for developing countries that are experiencing the most severe effects of climate change. However, these measures are not sufficient. According to an OECD analysis, as early as 2025. Annual climate investment needs will reach $1 trillion. per year, and the funding provided today is equivalent to one-tenth of that amount.

Water, which is a key component of climate change adaptation efforts, remained an important topic at COP28. Related issues were devoted to one of the summit days. Issues linking to water management came up during most of the talks, thanks to initiatives such as the Water For Climate Pavilion, created through the cooperation of the governments of eight countries (Egypt, Germany, the Netherlands, Senegal, Slovenia, Sweden, Tajikistan, the UK) and more than sixty NGOs. The meetings and debates provided an extremely valuable opportunity to share experiences and perspectives, and to learn about new technologies – such as the recovery of almost 100 percent of the recyclables from wastewater treatment, or innovative solutions where companies pay farmers in Chile for the water they save.

The growing importance of COP28 and the absence of Poland

The COP is an event of ever-increasing importance – while in Katowice in 2018. It was attended by just over 20,000. people, the number of participants has already exceeded 100,000 in Dubai. Discussions are taking place around an ever-widening range of topics and involve a growing number of economic sectors. There is no denying that climate change issues affect everyone. COP28 was the first summit to devote a separate day to health care, a clear indication that the participants’ field of interest has expanded.

Noteworthy, countries in the Central and Eastern European region, Asia and even the island states of Oceania are making their presence felt more and more strongly. In this context, the absence of Poland, which has remained outside the event since COP24 in Katowice, despite its relatively high GDP and international importance, was all the more glaring. The only Polish accent was BGK’s booth promoting Idea 3W in the Climate Finance Hub pavilion. With the growing prestige and international importance of the summit, it seems that as a country we cannot afford to ignore the event for much longer.

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