COP28: where is the next climate summit, dates it will be held, what is on the agenda after COP27 in Egypt?

While COP27 saw a landmark agreement reached for a loss and damage fund, the Sharm El-Sheikh event did not see a breakthrough on fossil fuels or emissions

COP27 has ended in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, with the latest edition of the international conference providing only minor progress in the battle against climate change.

The summit, which was the follow-up to COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, saw a landmark deal agreed that will lead to the launch of a loss and damage fund for the world’s most climate-vulnerable nations.

But at the same time, countries failed to agree a deal to phase out fossil fuels. Some even tried to row back on an existing deal that sought to get nations to work towards a target of keeping global warming to no more than 1.5℃.

While COP27 may end up in the history books as yet another moment when the world failed to step up to the planet’s considerable environmental challenges, governments have another shot at redemption at COP28.

So, where is COP28 happening, when will it take place - and what’s likely to be on the agenda? Here’s what you need to know.

There was no commitment to phase out fossil fuels at COP27 (image: AFP/Getty Images)

What is a COP?

A Conference of the Parties, or a COP, is an annual United Nations (UN) climate change conference where politicians, scientists, experts and campaigners come together to discuss how best to tackle climate change.

The first COP took place in 1995, but it was not until the third edition in Kyoto, Japan in 1997 that the first step towards progress was achieved. In the wake of COP3, all the nations and territories in the world pledged to begin limiting their greenhouse gas emissions.

While minor successes came at subsequent conferences, it was arguably not until COP21 in Paris, France that a major breakthrough occurred. World leaders descended on the French capital to pledge to limit global warming to 2℃ above pre-industrial levels.

This target was then revised down to 1.5℃ at COP26 in Glasgow in late 2021, after scientific evidence showed the 2℃ target would fail to prevent the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.

Paris was also notable for introducing the ratchet mechanism - an agreement that sees countries revise their emissions reduction targets at every COP so that they can accelerate their efforts to reduce their climate impact.

The loss and damage fund is COP27’s standout achievement (image: AFP/Getty Images)

While there have been some successes at previous COP events, the summits have come in for criticism from climate campaigners. Some view the conferences as nothing more than talking shops, with prominent activist Greta Thunberg describing them as “greenwashing” events.

Where is COP28?

COP28 will be taking place a relatively short distance away (roughly 2,500km) from Sharm El-Sheikh - the Red Sea resort in Egypt that hosted COP27.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), will be hosting the next edition of the UN event in Dubai. Next year’s host has already come in for criticism over claims it has used the event to whitewash its climate reputation.

Sitting in the Persian Gulf, the country has become incredibly wealthy as a result of its oil wealth.

COP28 is set to take place in Dubai in 2023 (image: AFP/Getty Images)

When is COP28?

COP28 is expected to take place over two weeks in November 2023.

Exact dates have not yet been announced, but it is expected that the event will fall across the fortnight from 6 November to 17 November.

What is on COP28 agenda?

COP28 is expected to pick up where COP27 left off. Its immediate priority - and, quite possibly, toughest task - will be to thrash out how the loss and damage fund will work.

Who will pay into it, how much they’ll have to stump up and who will get their hands on the cash will be major points of contention, with progress likely to be slow. The usual debates over emissions reduction targets, and limiting the use of fossil fuels are also likely to dominate proceedings.

The big unknown is what climate-related events will happen that drive the conversations next year. In 2022, a major heatwave in Europe and the knock-on climate impact of the war in Ukraine were big topics of discussion.

How the war develops over the next 12 months could be crucial for the future direction of climate talks, given it has already driven much of Europe towards using more fossil fuels.