COP28 has begun in Dubai and the University of Leeds is at the heart of the conference, with a delegation bringing youth, experience and innovation.
The UN priorities for COP28 are fast-tracking the energy transition; fixing climate finance; putting nature, people and livelihoods at the heart of climate action; and mobilising for an inclusive COP (Conference of Parties). We will be working at the heart of the conference’s global community, combining research and innovation, student education, and knowledge exchange.
Official observer status
Since 2009, the University of Leeds has been an official observer of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — the framework that underpins COP28 — and as an official observer we are able to send a delegation each year and engage with the conference virtually. This involvement with the UNFCCC and COP events also informs our research, innovation, education and knowledge exchange, work that, importantly, stretches across our spectrum of the sciences, social sciences and humanities.
Our COP28 delegation
This year’s COP delegation includes representatives from all career stages including the first undergraduate delegate, Vaibhav Pramode Nair and six postgraduate students. Among them are many first-time attendees, and people involved with youth engagement. Meet the Leeds COP team. This delegation, and the University more broadly, will play an important role in holding parties and stakeholders to the UNFCCC to account, and in ensuring that negotiated outcomes of COPs are informed by, and align with, the latest evidence.
Expert panellists and discussion leaders
University staff and students are involved in several COP events on a range of topics and undertaking research at COP28, with many contributing to the daily themes over the two week period. Professor Piers Forster will be leading the discussion on ‘Where is global warming in relation to the long-term, temperature goal?’ Associate Professor Viktoria Spaiser will be a panellist on ‘Correcting Course to 1.5°C: Positive Tipping Points in the Transition to Net Zero’ and Research Fellow Rebecca Sarku and PhD researcher and Scaling, Hauke Dahl, will be leading and taking part as panellists at events in Dubai.
Youthful delegation focused on change
The University delegation also hopes that their enthusiasm around youth participation will be reflected in COP28 itself. With young people from across the globe involved in this year’s COP, the hope is that their influence will be reflected in the outcomes of COP28. Undergraduate student Vaibhav Pramode Nair, and Masters student Omar Salameh will play a role in shaping global futures.
Why is COP28 important?
Against a backdrop of the hottest year in human history, COP28 is set to conclude the first global stock take — “a process for countries and stakeholders to see where they’re collectively making progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement — and where they’re not.” (UNFCCC).
The University of Leeds, as a research institution providing tools, data and expertise that contribute to the global stocktake, it is important that we play a part in COP28 and support nations in stepping up their ambition and their international cooperation. As a leading UK institution for interdisciplinary climate research, we have a strong international reputation for collaborating on national and international scientific assessments and policy-facing reports.
What will happen after COP28?
University of Leeds experts will engage with UNFCCC processes beyond COP events, contributing relevant research, expertise and evidence, and scrutinising developments in key strands of the negotiations.
Through engagement with key networks, academic and policy events and activities, and the media, we aim to establish a legacy from our UNFCCC activities that feed into UoL research and innovation, education and knowledge exchange.