07 Nov 2023, 13:29
Julian Wettengel

Geopolitical conflicts bad for trust, but will not fully derail COP28 climate talks – PIK director

Clean Energy Wire

Geopolitical conflicts such as in Ukraine or the Middle will not fully derail upcoming negotiations at the UN climate change conference COP28 in the United Arab Emirates, even though they are an issue for trust and global governance in international climate talks, Johan Rockström, scientific director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), said. “The climate agenda has matured to a point where the issue is a mainstreamed, established policy domain, which stands firmly despite such conflicts,” said Rockström during a press briefing. However, the conflicts were bad “for our ability to have trust and governance,” he said.

Global cooperation on climate change has taken on a new sense of urgency this year. 2023 has seen many climate records shattered, with unprecedented air and ocean temperature anomalies and low sea ice coverage. However, negotiations at the upcoming UN COP28 climate change conference are set to be exceptionally difficult, complicated by new geopolitical realities which are exemplified by tensions between western countries and Russia, or around the violent conflict in the Middle East.

Rockström said that COP28, which will start in Dubai at the end of the month, must bring agreements on phasing out climate-damaging fossil fuels. “We see COP28 as being the ‘mitigation COP,’” he said. “We have significant opportunity and responsibility to see credible commitments on phasing out fossil fuels,” he added. However, the climate scientist also said that so far, he could not see signs of credible coalitions or agreements in the run-up to the climate talks. Still, “we should give this COP a chance.”

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