Students, faculty, and staff from across YSE and Yale will join negotiators, policymakers, environmental advocates, and heads of state from nearly 200 countries at the annual United Nations climate summit, COP28. This year’s conference, taking place in Dubai from November 30-December 12, is expected to focus heavily on the first of the Global Stocktakes. Adopted in the Paris Agreement, the stocktakes serve as an inventory of global progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the level needed to keep global warming well below 2°C (3.6°F) above preindustrial levels. The first of the stocktakes, which take place every five years, got underway at COP26 in Glasgow and will wrap up at COP28.
“As we saw from the 2022 Environmental Performance Index, only a handful of countries are on track to reach the net-zero emissions target by 2050,” said Daniel Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy. “The Global Stocktake provides countries with an opportunity to evaluate their progress on reaching their Paris Agreement goals and to determine how best to accelerate the pace of emissions reduction within their own borders as well as in partnership with other nations.”
The first-of-its kind "loss and damage" fund, which was established at COP27 as a way for wealthier nations to compensate developing countries for the devastating impacts of climate change, will be launched during COP28. On November 13, just a few weeks before the conference gets underway, the European Union and its member states said that they will announce a “substantial” contribution to the international fund during COP28.
"Discussions around the fund could be contentious. It is not just the amount of money; it is about from which countries and which sources within those countries, who and how, will the fund be administered, and which countries will qualify for support," said Eli Fenichel, Knobloch Family Professor of Natural Resource Economics.
The voice of youth will take on a new prominence at this year’s talks, with conference leaders introducing an International Youth Climate Delegate program. With a priority for delegates from least developed countries and underrepresented groups, 100 emerging climate leaders from around the world were selected to attend COP28 for the inaugural youth delegates program, which will serve as a model for expanded youth inclusion in the COP process moving forward.
A total of 32 students will be traveling to Dubai with YSE, working with a wide array of governmental and nongovernmental delegations, including the Mexican and Peruvian delegations, the Malaysian Youth Delegation, Environmental Defense Fund, and National Resources Defense Council, among others.
Before heading to Dubai, several student-participants talked with YSE News about what they hope to achieve at COP28.
Raysieo Duakin '24 MEM
Malaysian Youth Delegation
Malaysia, a nation heavily reliant on fossil fuels, grapples with the challenge of advancing its economy while also balancing its energy dilemma. Notably, fossil-fuel development projects tend to cluster in regions with high poverty rates, necessitating a meaningful involvement of communities in these regions to ensure an equitable transition.
At COP28, I will partner with the Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD), an NGO appointed to the Climate Change Advisory Panel by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change of Malaysia (NRECC). Together, we aim to amplify the intersectional perspectives of youths and the Global South.
By partnering with MYD at COP28, I hope to explore how non-state actors can advise the government to prioritize this transition while gaining insights from other countries confronting similar challenges. Above all, this experience will bridge the gap between my classroom learning and field experiences, allowing me to see the interconnected efforts of state/non-state local, national, and international entities working towards the shared objective of combating climate change. Beyond COP28, I aspire to leverage this experience to continue advancing the cause of a just energy transition in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
Rennie Jones ’24 MEM
Natural Resources Defense Council
One of the primary mandates for this year's COP is to get the new Loss and Damage fund (which is designed to help country’s recover from damage due to climate change) up and running and ready to accept funds. I will be supporting the Natural Resources Defense Council at COP28, where I will follow the negotiations around Loss and Damage. I am hoping for a resolution allowing vulnerable developing countries to access necessary financing and funding.I am excited to attend COP to get a better sense of how to direct capital toward climate action. I am especially interested in how to mobilize private funding sources to meet the massive challenges posed by climate change at scale. I am looking forward to attending in person to encounter issues, initiatives, and advocates I would not otherwise be aware of and to understand how they push these issues forward. I plan to build out my mental map of the complex network of climate actors to expand my knowledge of what positions exist in the field and which positions need to be invented.
Calla Rosenfeld ’24 MEM
Pew Charitable Trusts
“At COP28, I will be partnering with Pew Charitable Trusts. I’m thrilled to support their work elevating nature-based solutions as a key component in addressing climate change. Focusing on ocean-based climate solutions, I will be tracking and reporting on negotiations surrounding financing for marine restoration, Article 6, and the Global Goal on Adaptation. I’m looking forward to participating in crucial discussions and side events on the role of natural climate solutions not only in climate change mitigation, but also in supporting biodiversity, adaptation, and resilience to the impacts of climate change.
In Dubai, I hope to gain insights on how to foster international partnerships and build momentum for ambitious climate action among diverse stakeholders, crucial insights that I look forward to bringing back to my work on international policy, climate communications, and effective solutions at YSE and beyond.”
Bisrantee Wagle ’24 MEM
"I am partnering with Digobikas Institute (DBI), an organization based in Nepal. I worked with them last year at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where I helped organize an event on Least Developed Countries’ perspectives on climate finance. I am excited to collaborate with DBI once again at COP28. This time, I will assist with an event centered around the Loss and Damage fund.
I hope to contribute to and potentially influence decisions that will enhance the success of DBI’s side events and exhibitions, as well as the Nepali delegation’s participation in negotiations. I am particularly excited about this year’s COP, given the significance of the first Global Stocktake, the Loss and Damage fund, and the Glasgow Declaration Accountability Framework."
Nate Warszawski ’23 MEM
“I am supporting the delegation of Vanuatu, a small island nation in the South Pacific. My main activity for the conference will be following the negotiations on loss and damage, a cause which Vanuatu has championed since the negotiations process began in 1992. As part of this, I’ll be attending the negotiation sessions, taking notes, analyzing the negotiations, thinking through strategy, and supporting the delegation.
This is an incredible learning opportunity that will give me important on-the-ground experience and will help supplement what I am learning in my classes. Through my participation in COP, I’m hoping to learn more about how negotiations are carried out, to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the UN Climate negotiations process for achieving global climate justice, and to expand my network of climate-justice minded professionals. I am thankful to YSE for making this opportunity possible and to Vanuatu for welcoming me on to their delegation.”