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Five questions for Markku Rummukainen ahead of the COP28 climate summit

Markku Rummukainen outdoors with trees and houses in the background. Photo.
"Given the urgency of climate action, every meeting matters," says Markku Rummukainen. Photo: Johan Persson

The UN's annual climate summit, COP28, is just around the corner. Starting on 30 November, the world's countries will meet for two weeks to discuss global climate cooperation and how to achieve the climate goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. This time the meeting will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

We put five questions to Markku Rummukainen, Professor of Climatology at CEC and Sweden's representative to the IPCC.

  1. What are the main items on the agenda for this year's meeting?
    There are always many items on the agenda, but in Dubai the conclusions of the so-called Global Stocktake are particularly important. This is a kind of review of climate efforts as a basis for raising ambition and is a key mechanism in the Paris Agreement. Among other items on the agenda are the ongoing work programmes on mitigation and adaptation, and the agreed fund to finance handling loss and damage in particularly vulnerable countries.
  2. Why is the meeting important?
    Given the urgency of climate action, every meeting matters. It is clear that the actions taken so far fall short of the global climate goals agreed by all countries in Paris in 2015. More and faster action is needed from all, in terms of ambition and implementation on mitigation, adaptation and overall cooperation.
  3. Are there any other key issues that need to be discussed?
    Climate finance for action is an important issue that is getting a lot of attention. It is about how much support can be mobilised to enable climate action in developing countries in need of support, where the funds come from and how they are managed. Another ongoing discussion is about the so-called Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. It refers to a specific framework for different types of international cooperation to implement emission reduction measures.
  4. What are the expectations for the meeting?
    Progress towards important decisions in the climate negotiations is often made in stages. Every meeting is important, but it remains to be seen how the talks will go this time.
  5. What does hosting mean?
    COP meetings are hosted by different countries around the world, and this time the United Arab Emirates has the presidency of the COP. The presidency obviously has an important role to play in the success of the meeting. The nominee, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber (head of the country's national oil company and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Renewable Energy Initiative), has been in the spotlight for his role in the fossil fuel industry and, of course, the same goes for the United Arab Emirates as an oil and gas producing country as such. There has also been some concern about the conditions for civil society participation during the meeting, so it is important that it goes well.

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is an international agreement adopted during the UN’s 2015 climate change conference in Paris (COP21) and which began to apply the year after. Through the agreement, which is seen as an historic milestone in climate-related action, the 191 signatory countries undertake to maintain global heating far under 2 degrees, with an aim to halt it at 1.5 degrees. The agreement, which consists of 29 articles, also concerns issues such as climate change adaptation, climate finance, technology transfer, damage, loss, etc.