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COP28 opens in UAE amid intense scrutiny over fossil fuel links

A breakthrough was made on the first day of the UN climate summit as world leaders established a loss and damage fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change.
COP27 and COP28 presidents

DUBAI, UAE — The 12-day Conference of Parties 28 (COP28) climate summit opened on Thursday in Dubai, with intense scrutiny on the talks after the United Arab Emirates appointed the head of the country’s national oil company to oversee the negotiations. 

The UN climate talks come as 2023 is set to be the hottest year on record, and as greenhouse gas emissions rise. Along with that, the sobering global stocktake — the document tracking progress toward meeting the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels — piled on additional pressure for countries to do more to limit their carbon emissions.

The stocktake released by the United Nations in September found that under current climate targets, the world would collectively lower greenhouse gas emissions to 2% below 2019 levels by 2030. Climate scientists, however, say that a 43% reduction is needed to avoid surpassing the 1.5-degree target agreed to in Paris in 2015 at COP21.

In the COP28 opening ceremony on Thursday, COP27 President Sameh Shoukry passed the gavel to UAE climate envoy Sultan Al Jaber, the COP28 president.

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