After a summer 2023 marked by record-breaking heat and drought, the annual United Nations Climate Meeting (COP), which is set to open in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will have to address a range of controversial issues, including phasing out fossil fuels and financing the energy transition in developing countries.

France 24 looks back at the main issues at stake in these two weeks of negotiations at COP28, which takes place from 30 November to 12 December.

• Measure progress

The main task of COP28 will be to assess, for the first time, the progress made by countries towards achieving the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The latter requires its signatories to keep the temperature increase "well below" +2.0°C, and preferably +1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels.

With global efforts lagging behind, countries will try to agree on a plan to put the planet on track to meet these climate goals. This could include urgent measures to reduce CO2 emissions or boost investment in the green transition.

States will have to update their national emission reduction targets and plans by 2025.

• The Future of Fossil Fuels

The most difficult debates at COP28 are expected to focus on the future role of fossil fuels and how to phase out the use of coal, oil and gas, which are big CO2 emitters.

At COP26 in Glasgow, countries agreed to phase out the use of coal, but never agreed to phase out all fossil fuels. The United States, the European Union and many countries vulnerable to climate change are insisting that the final COP28 agreement commits countries to phasing out fossil fuels, but the G20, which brings together the world's largest economies, has failed to agree on this. Some countries, including Russia, have said they will oppose it.

The countries are also waiting to see if the United Arab Emirates, the nation hosting the conference, will push other oil producers to support the idea. While COP28 President Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber said in July that phasing out fossil fuels was "inevitable", he has also been criticised for his dual role as head of the UAE's state-owned oil and gas company (Adnoc) and future leader of climate negotiations.

Read alsoCOP28: the United Arab Emirates caught up in its contradictions on climate

• What is the role of emerging technologies?

The United Arab Emirates and other countries whose economies rely on fossil fuels want COP28 to focus on emerging technologies designed to capture and store CO2 emissions underground.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), these technologies are essential for achieving climate goals, but they are also expensive and not yet being scaled up.

The EU and other countries fear that they could be used to justify the continued use of fossil fuels.

Read alsoBleaching clouds, capturing CO2... A climate manipulated to save the planet

• Developing renewable energies

Countries are considering setting targets to triple renewable energy capacity and double energy savings by 2030, a proposal put forward by the EU, the US and the UAE's COP28 presidency.

This proposal is expected to have broad support, as major G20 economies, including China, already endorse the renewable energy target.

However, the EU and some countries vulnerable to climate change insist that this should be accompanied by a phase-out of fossil fuels, which could lead to conflict.

• Who will pay for the consequences of global warming?

The fight against climate change and its consequences will require considerable investment, far greater than the world has so far anticipated.

According to the UN, developing countries will need at least $200 billion a year by 2030 to adapt to the increasingly severe effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and storms. They will also need funds to replace polluting energy with clean sources. Added to this is the cost of damage already caused by climate disasters.

In Dubai, countries will be tasked with setting up a "loss and damage" fund to deal with this situation. The fund is expected to unlock at least $100 billion by 2030, according to developing countries.

Vulnerable countries want more funds for their transition and rich countries, whose past CO2 emissions are largely responsible for climate change, to pay. Rich countries will have to demonstrate that they have met their commitment to provide $100 billion a year for developing countries to take climate action.

With Reuters

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