Cornerstone Climate at COP28

30 Nov 2023

Cornerstone Climate

The 28th Conference of the Parties opens in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, today, with an opening ceremony and the first part of the high-level discussions, for Heads of State of Government (broadcast live and available to watch back on the UN Climate Change YouTube channel).

COP28 runs from 30 Nov – 12 Dec, with thematic days on a number of topics, alongside diplomatic negotiations on achieving various obligations under the Paris Agreement. A handy Glossary of COP terms has been produced by IIGCC (Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change).

Cornerstone Climate’s Participation

Various members of Cornerstone Climate will be participating in COP28. Dr Christina Lienen, our associate member based in Dubai, will be attending a number of events in person, so watch out for her reports. Nina Pindham will be speaking (remotely) at the main legal day, and has been involved in organising a number of other events, with a particular focus on the role of lawyers in addressing the climate crisis.

Christina’s in-person attendance will include the thematic day on Multilevel Action, Urbanization and the Built Environment / Transport (Day 7, Wed, Dec 6), on which a hugely varied number of events touching on the built environment will take place.

Nina will be speaking at the Climate Law and Governance Day (Day 6, Wed, 5 Dec) on Expert Panel 5 on the role of lawyers in the green transition. The day is the main legal fixture at COP, and this year will have four key themes:

  • Operationalising the Paris Agreement in International Law
  • Testing Legal and Governance Tools for High Ambition Implementation
  • Advancing Climate Resilience and Justice
  • Net Zero Legal Frameworks to Enable Climate Neutral Investment and Finance

Christina will be there in person and Estelle Dehon KC will participate remotely. Register to attend either in person or online here.

Nina has also been involved in organising two events at COP28. The first (Day 7, Wed, 6 Dec) is titled: The transformative power of law to tackle the climate crisis and implement the Paris Agreement: Legal implementation and capacity building at the domestic and international levels. This will be a discussion of the role of lawyers and organisations with a legal mandate in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, with representatives from the International Bar Association (IBA), American Bar Association (ABA), Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), Law Society of England and Wales, and the Net Zero Lawyer’s Alliance.

The second is Everything, everywhere, all at once: Lawyers tackling the climate crisis (Day 9, Fri, 8 Dec), a half-day conference that will focus on the role of lawyers and law associations in tackling the climate crisis. Legal and financial experts in various fields and sectors will explain how they are collaborating to understand the best available science, incorporating that into practice, and implementing the just transition at speed and scale. Nina and Christina will be there. Register for free here.

Other things we’re keeping an eye on

  1. Embodied carbon on the agenda. For the first time this year, RICS will be participating as an official observer in the Blue Zone, looking specifically at the role of the built environment in reducing emissions, as well as protecting and promoting biodiversity. Whole Life Carbon Assessments will be a big talking point, so RICS’s participation, backed by their recently published second edition of the Whole life carbon assessment professional standard, will be important.
  2. Spotlight on biodiversity loss and nature-based solutions. An established part of COP, the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Pavillion will have a huge range of events with a biodiversity theme, all of which can be watched on the live stream. From Scaling Up Nature-basedon Solutions in Urban Environments to the Global Biodiversity Standard, via the Launch of the Nature, Renewables and Grids Initiatives, there will be much to digest!
  3. The rise and rise of carbon markets. A lot of focus on this COP will be on carbon markets, both voluntary markets and markets and compliance methods. Among many others, the IEA (International Energy Agency) will be looking in detail at domestic carbon markets and the World Bank will launch the Carbon Action Forum, a group of potential buyers and sellers to identify transaction-level challenges related to participation in carbon markets and co-develop solutions that can help scale markets.

Insights on Climate Change – 7 December

On Thursday 7 December, Cornerstone Climate will host bestselling author Mike Berners-Lee, the world’s foremost leading expert in carbon footprinting, who will be in conversation with Estelle Dehon KC. Find out more here.