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Will COP28 Catch the Next Green Wave … Or Will It Wipe Out?

The hosts of COP28 are betting big on business and a private sector “mindset” to deliver a successful event. Are they right? Professor Felix Dodds and Chris Spence review the current state-of-play.

Perhaps one of the least well known among Dubai’s many attractions is surfing. Locals and visitors enjoy the sport at Sunset Beach and elsewhere, especially in winter. There is even an artificial wave pool where surfers can hone their skills. To some, the pool is just another example of the host country’s entrepreneurial outlook.

With COP28 on the horizon, the host government of the United Arab Emirates is once again promoting the virtues of business. In a recent interview with the Guardian media outlet, COP28 president-designate Sultan Al Jaber said the world needs a “business mindset” to tackle the climate crisis. What’s more, he laid out plans to use the COP to promote private sector goals as well as those for governments.

Will this focus on business signal a genuine new green wave, or will it wipe out? This article assesses the state of play and the host’s approach as we head into the official preparatory meetings taking place in Bonn, Germany, in June.

What was achieved at COP27?

To understand the situation, we need first to look at what happened at COP27. This is important not just in terms of the current landscape, but because the COP27 hosts, Egypt, technically continue to hold the presidency until COP28 officially starts on November 30th. While all incoming presidencies are incredibly active in the months leading up to the event they will host, the outgoing presidency has a role to play, too, and the quality of the relationship between the two governments is important.

For many UN insiders, COP27 exceeded expectations. Admittedly, expectations were not high, particularly since COP27 was viewed by many as an “in-between” COP rather than one with critical milestones of the sort that occur every few years. While all COPs matter, most insiders will tell you not all are equal in importance. The COP in Sharm El-Sheikh had a menu of issues it was dealing with, but it was not one where, say, a new global agreement was expected (such as COP21 in Paris), or a global stock take was due (as will happen at COP28 later this year). There had been calls for governments to strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (pledges and commitments) at COP27, but few did.

The major achievement at COP27—and the reason the meeting exceeded expectations—was an agreement to establish a loss and damage fund to support vulnerable countries. Few anticipated such a positive outcome even a few weeks prior to the meeting. Although the agreement on loss and damage did not include acceptance of historical responsibility, it was viewed as a big win for the Egyptian Presidency, small islands and other vulnerable states, as well as the Group of 77 developing countries, which in 2022 was under the presidency of Pakistan. Under the terms of the agreement at COP27, the loss and damage fund will need to be operationalized at COP28 and a transitional committee is already working on this. In the world of multilateral diplomacy, this is an ambitious timeframe.

There was another positive development on a modest scale at COP27 on the Global Goal on Adaptation. Delegates agreed to “initiate the development of a framework” to be available for adoption in 2024. Meanwhile, on agriculture a new four-year process was agreed to carry on the work started under the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. There is a sense now that agriculture and food security are gaining the attention they deserve in climate negotiations.

Outside the formal negotiations, many projects and alliances were advanced, including plans to accelerate the decarbonization of five major sectors: power, road transport, steel, hydrogen, and agriculture. Noteworthy initiatives included the launch of the Global Renewables Alliance, which brings together leaders from the wind, solar, hydropower, green hydrogen, long duration energy storage, and geothermal sectors.

What was not achieved at COP27?

The main source of disappointment at COP27 was the absence of ambition on mitigation. There was a noteworthy lack of new and ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) from governments. What this means is that the critical needle has not shifted when it comes to keeping global warming to less than 1.5 Celsius, or even under 2C. According to the Climate Action Tracker, our long-term scenarios are still well above 2C under most scenarios, and as high as 3.4C under their most pessimistic estimate. This means things have not really improved since COP26.

What’s more, research released just before COP27 showed that the Global North is still not delivering on its commitment to provide $100 billion a year to the Global South. One silver lining to this dark cloud is that this goal may finally be reached in time for COP28. Still, that is three years too late.

Meanwhile, COP27 did less to clarify new rules for the global carbon market than many were hoping to see. While COP26 in Glasgow had provided more details about Paris Agreement Article 6 (which sets out a framework for international cooperation and carbon markets), more granular guidance is still needed. Some fear that without more details on accountability and measurement, for instance in terms of carbon offsets, we could end up with a “wild west” when it comes to the markets.

There was also little progress in negotiations aimed at encouraging the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. On the private sector side, while many companies have made net-zero targets, research suggests many do not have robust plans to deliver this, and there is uncertainty over how the private sector will use carbon offsets. Without greater clarity, this hyped-up “wave” of pledges from businesses around COP26 and before may end up a damp squib.

Looking to the Bonn climate conference

The political backdrop to the UN Bonn climate conference in June is complex. On the downside, governments are still emerging from the COVID pandemic and many are still focused on, and feeling the impact of, the war in Ukraine. On the positive side, the cost of solar and wind continues to fall and European countries are moving more quickly because they want to be independent of Russian fossil fuels. Although others are taking advantage of Europe’s reduced demand to increase purchases of Russia’s fossil fuels at reduced prices, the growing focus on renewable energy in many countries should be seen as a positive overall in terms of climate mitigation.

With some major milestones coming up at COP28 later this year, the Bonn conference in June will give us some signals of how close we will be to delivering success in December.

Global Stocktake: UN climate negotiators are expected to take stock of progress on the Paris Agreement every five years. COP28 marks the culmination of the first “stocktake” and will be expected to shape and catalyze future action. The stocktake has three phases. In the first phase, which started at COP26, information is collected and prepared from various sources to help assess progress. Phase 2, which started last year, includes in-person “technical dialogues” focused on mitigation, adaptation, and implementation. These will conclude in Bonn this June. Finally, the stocktake will end at COP28 with a presentation of findings and discussions on how to respond. The Bonn meeting will therefore present an opportunity to take the pulse of these discussions. How robust have the technical dialogues been? Is there a surge of support from governments to make COP28 a major milestone for climate action? Bonn should provide clues about this. 

Loss and Damage Fund: The transitional committee has been established and had its first meeting in Luxor, Egypt, in April. It will meet again in Bonn. Its role is to make recommendations on how to operationalize both the new funding arrangements and the fund at COP28. How are these discussions proceeding? Bonn should give some indications on progress, as well as potential areas of discord and disagreement.

Global Goal on Adaptation: With significant change already “baked in” to our climate system, effective adaptation will be critical. The Global Goal on Adaptation was agreed under the Paris Agreement and recognizes the need to build adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and limit vulnerability. Adaptation will be addressed in Bonn under both the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). It also links to the work of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, a related UN initiative which is having its “mid-term review” at UN Headquarters in New York from 18-19 May.

New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance: The goal of providing $100 billion in support annually for the Global South by 2020 was originally set in 2009. Now it is up for review. Since that earlier goal was viewed as a “floor” rather than a ceiling, many are expecting more ambitious targets in future. A new goal is supposed to be set before 2025, meaning COP29 in 2024 should mark the moment when a new number (or set of numbers) is agreed. Again, Bonn will mark a moment to assess how those conversations are going, especially given the wide differences in the type of dollar figures being bandied about by the Global North and Global South (many of whom are calling for trillions). Those following this topic can look to the 6th Technical Expert Dialogue, which is taking place in Bonn, to get a sense of progress.

Carbon Markets: As mentioned above, in spite of progress many are still hoping for more granular details on the carbon markets. This will be vital to curtail greenwashing with offsets.

Coalitions of the Willing: Sultan Al Jaber, the COP28 president-designate, recently highlighted the private sector’s role in combating climate change. In fact, all stakeholders will need to be fully engaged if we are to have any chance of staying withing 1.5C of warming. Voluntary coalitions of governments, the private sector and many others will be vital, especially when it comes to advancing issues where all 190+ governments that are party to the UN climate treaty and Paris Agreement are not yet ready or willing to agree.

Such voluntary initiatives offer considerable scope for those who want to move ahead. In turn, this has the potential to set precedents and entrench ideas that might be taken up by all governments in future formal UN negotiations. An example of this is the methane pledge, which involved some 50 countries reporting on progress at COP27. More should be looked for at COP28. Likewise, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, which has reportedly had some teething problems since its launch in 2021, will hopefully use COP28 as a moment to showcase progress and put its early difficulties behind it.

Will COP28 Launch a New Green Wave?

Eyebrows were raised when the United Arab Emirates was first named as host of COP28. Why, people asked, would a climate COP be held in an OPEC state? Furthermore, many wondered publicly whether Sultan Al Jaber, who is likely to preside over the meeting, should do so given his role as chief executive of UAE’s national oil company? Does this represent a conflict of interest?

These are fair questions that will only be fully answered by the COP and what it achieves. However, it is worth noting that the prospects of a fossil fuel-producing country hosting COP28 were always quite high. As UN insiders know, the climate COPs are typically hosted on a rotating basis in each of the UN’s five “regional groups.” This time around, it was Asia-Pacific’s turn. Many countries in this region, including more than a dozen small island nations, probably do not have the internal capacity to host an event of this magnitude. Of those that do, many—from Saudi Arabia to India, Indonesia to China, Iran to Australia—are fossil-fuel producers. Furthermore, while Sultan Al Jaber has a history in the fossil-fuel industry, he has also been prominent in the UAE’s work on renewable energy and is the founding CEO and current Chair of Masdar, a UAE-owned renewable energy company. Depicting him simply as a fossil fuel “dinosaur” does not do justice to a more nuanced and complicated situation.

Ultimately, UAE’s role as COP28 host will be judged on results. Will COP deliver an operational and meaningful loss and damage fund? Will it produce a global stocktake that invigorates international action? How will discussions on a new global finance goal shape up? And will Sultan Al Jaber’s overtures towards the private sector turn the steady trickle of pledges into a giant wave of action? Finally, will other stakeholders, like non-governmental organizations, be embraced and welcomed? We should also note the significance of appointing Razan Al Mubarak as UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for the COP28 Presidency, given she is also IUCN President and a former head of Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency.

One early indicator in Bonn will be an expected update on COP28 logistics. This is likely to include more details on the “Blue Zone” (where negotiations are held and many stakeholders usually have pavilions and stalls). Will the Blue Zone offer easy access to all stakeholders? And how will the “Green Zone,” which at past COPs has been open to the public, operate?

Only time will tell if COP28 marks the start of a new green wave or ends in an unfortunate wipe out.

Adjunct Professor Felix Dodds is Vice President of Multilateral Affairs, Rob and Melani Walton Sustainable Solutions Service (RMWSSS) at Arizona State University. He is also Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow at the Global Research Institute, University of North Carolina, and Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute, Boston.

Chris Spence is a consultant and advisor to a range of international organizations on climate change and sustainable development, as well as an award-winning writer. Spence and Dodds recently co-edited Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy: Profiles in Courage (Routledge, 2022).


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Interview by Marc Buckley on UNFCCC and our book Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy

Felix Dodds and Chris Spence are my guests on Episode 174 of Inside Ideas with Marc Buckley. Watch here on YouTube 

Global climate conferences are typically met with scepticism by a public struggling to see them as anything more than a bastion of empty promises. But a new book asks us all to look again, at the detail, and specifically to the people shifting the needle of progress towards the symbiotic interests of people and planet.

In a book about some of the achievements driven by scientists, politicians, diplomats, activists and businesspeople, Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy: Profiles in Courage offers a much needed new perspective on the real impact being made when governments get together to thrash out deals that can deliver change.

The book is edited by my guests today on Inside Ideas: the award-winning writer and environmentalist, Chris Spence, and an old friend of the show, Felix Dodds, a leading thinker in the area of global governance for 30 years, he has written or edited 24 books on sustainable development. Both have spent serious time working inside the annual COP climate conferences and pretty much every other intergovernmental event tasked with developing solutions for the planet.

“One of our points in the book is that the big outcomes, like the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Agreement, do have a significant impact that cascades all around the world through government policies,” Chris explains. “It influences business decisions, it influences investment in new technology. Prior to 2015 when the Paris Agreement was signed we were staring down the barrel of between 4 and 6 degrees Celsius of warming, now we’ve reduced it to somewhere in the order of 2 to 2.5 something. That’s still terrible — but it’s not as catastrophic and that all came through these UN agreements.”

Chris believes the COP events could be simplified but this book about success stories shows even if the format has a ways to go the idea that they are nothing more than talking shops doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

“We’ve had successes, and if we start to tell some of those stories, we could inspire future leaders, the next generation, who can lead us to new, even bigger successes,” adds Chris.

The 12 heroes discussed in the book show what happens when people ditch thinking that is circumscribed by old ideas and mindsets.

“It was Bobby Kennedy in 1968 who reminded people that GDP recognises how many car accidents are had, how many bombs are used but it doesn’t recognise the happiness we have, or the strength of our families. It was he who said ‘some people ask why, other people ask why not’ so I think we need to dream of things that have yet to happen and make sure that they are part of the agenda,” Felix said.

There are a lot of great stories to unpack in this book, so join Felix, Chris and me on this latest episode of Inside Ideas to take a deep dive into what I think is one of the most important books to be published so far this year.

Originally published here 

Check out Inside Ideas podcast website.

Watch and subscribe to Inside Ideas on YouTube, listen wherever you get your podcast, and follow the show on InstagramFacebookLinkedInInnovators magazine, and Apple News


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Was COP27 a Success or Failure?

Originally published IPS 

HARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 24 2022 (IPS) - It’s finally over. After the anticipation and build-up to COP27, the biggest climate meeting of the year is now in our rear-view mirror. The crowds of delegates that thronged the Sharm el-Sheikh international convention center for two long weeks have all headed home to recover. Many will be fatigued from long hours and sleepless nights as negotiators tried to seal a deal that would move the world forwards. Did all this hard work pay off? In our opinion, COP 27 was both better and worse than we’d hoped.

Failing to Follow the Science

First, the bad news. COP 27 failed to deliver what the science tells us was needed. With the window of opportunity closing fast on our goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C or less, COP 27 did far too little on the all-important issue of mitigation—that is, cutting emissions.

COP 27 failed to deliver what the science tells us was needed. With the window of opportunity closing fast on our goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C or less, COP 27 did far too little on the all-important issue of mitigation—that is, cutting emissions

The case for urgent action keeps getting stronger. The latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) make for grim reading about what to expect if we let temperatures rise too much. Nowadays, though, we just need to read the newspapers to catch a glimpse of the future.

The head of the key negotiating Group of 77 – 134 developing countries – was Pakistan which has been dealing with the worst floods in its history, leaving 1717 people dead and dealing an estimated $US40 billion in damage. In 2022 in the USA, there were 15 climate-related disasters which each exceeded $1 billion in costs.

Meanwhile, in Africa, according to Carbon Brief’s analysis of disaster records, “extreme weather events have killed at least 4,000 people and affected a further 19 million since the start of 2022.”

Since this COP was billed by some as the “Africa COP”, one could expect a strong response to such news.

The pressure was therefore on at COP 27 to respond to such disasters. Attending COP27 were 112 world leaders and over 300 government ministers: not as many as at COP 26, but still a good number. Something like 27,000 people from governments, intergovernmental, stakeholders, and journalists also attended the COP. This was to the backdrop of the UN Secretary General warning us that we needed to “cooperate or perish,” to take urgent action to take us off “a highway to climate hell”.

Messing up on mitigation: And yet progress on mitigation was modest, at best. While some delegations pushed hard for stronger commitments on cutting emissions, the appetite in some quarters just didn’t seem to be there. After being pressured to do more in Paris and Glasgow, China, India, and some of the oil-producing countries appeared reluctant to take much more in Sharm el-Sheikh.

They feel developed countries, which are historically responsible for the bulk of emissions, should be doing more themselves, rather than coercing others. The result was a negotiated outcome with little more on the table than we had in Glasgow. For instance, delegates could not agree to ramp up their language on fossil fuels, much to many people’s disappointment.

Finance: Likewise, there was not too much to report on the issue of climate finance. The $US100 billion annual support for developing countries initially promoted by Hilary Clinton at the 2009 Copenhagen COP and enshrined in the Paris COP in 2015 will be reviewed in 2024 with a new figure being hopefully agreed then for 2025 implementation.

The Global South has been talking of this new sum numbering in the trillions to help adapt and mitigate against climate change. And yet there were few signs of movement towards anything of that magnitude.

Given that the North has still not met its pledge of US$100 billion by 2020, it’s clear a lot of movement is needed in the next couple of years. Yet news from outside the conference, such as the US House of Representatives now having a Republican majority, does not bode well.

For a meeting billed as the “implementation COP” where climate action was taken to another level, the news on mitigation and finance was therefore disappointing.

Just prior to the start of COP27 the lead negotiator for Egypt Mohamed Nasr underscored: “science reports were telling us that yes, planning is not up to expectations, but it was implementation on the ground that was really lagging behind.”

Exceeding Expectations—the Loss and Damage Fund

There were some bright spots, however.

Perhaps most surprising was the agreement to create a ‘Loss and Damage’ fund to help the most vulnerable countries. This has been a key issue for almost 30 years, particularly for small island developing countries.

In Glasgow this looked very unlikely to be resolved in the Sharm COP, but with a late change of heart by the Europeans and eventually by the USA and others in the OECD, this is perhaps the most significant and surprising outcome from COP 27. Even as recently as October, the signs were that OECD countries were not on board with calls for a new fund. However, at COP 27 the “trickle” of earlier action in this area turned into a flood.

Interestingly, it was Scotland at COP 26 that started things off, with a modest, voluntary contribution. More recently, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and Belgium had also financial commitments to loss and damage, now amounting to $US244.5 million. Mia Mottley Barbados’ Prime Minister has called for a 10% windfall tax on oil companies to fund loss and damage caused by climate change, which could raise around $US31 billion if it had been introduced for 2022. Still, the signs a fund would be agreed at COP 27 had not been good.

This makes the final outcome all the more welcome. The idea, the door is now open for the most vulnerable countries to receive more support. A goal has now been set to fully operationalize the fund at COP 28 in a year’s time. For the most vulnerable nations, this cannot come quickly enough.

Global Goal on Adaptation: Another positive development, albeit on a more modest scale, was in the area of the ‘Global Goal on Adaptation’. Here, delegates agreed to “initiate the development of a framework” to be available for adoption next year.

A lot of work will need to be done at the intersessional meeting of the UN Climate Convention’s subsidiary bodies in Bonn in June next year to prepare for this, including how to measure progress towards this Goal. An approach similar to the development of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 might be appropriate, perhaps?

Article 6: Another of the Glasgow breakthroughs was that on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement on carbon markets and international cooperation. COP 27 saw some solid work undertaken on how to operationalize this both in market and non-market approaches.

There are still a lot of sceptics on this will have a genuine impact and how to ensure not double counting or even that any offsets are real. An approach that is more ecosystem-based than just trees is gaining momentum. Such a change, if it happens, also offers a real chance to link the two major UN conventions on climate and biodiversity.

Agriculture: The work on the Koronivia Work Programme on Agriculture went down to the wire. The outcome was a four-year open-ended working group reporting at COP31 (2026). Some controversy on the term ‘food systems’ may see its first workshop address this issue.

It will also look at how we can better integrate the programme’s work into other constituted bodies such as the financial mechanisms of the convention. The Green Climate Fund has given only $US1.1 billion for adaptation on agriculture. It says one of the major reasons for this is the:

“Lack of integrated agricultural development planning and capacities that consider maladaptation risks and investment needs across the agricultural sector, climate information services and supply chains.”

While these outcomes on agriculture, adaptation and Article 6 may seem modest, they should be welcomed as steps in the right direction.

Coalitions of the Willing: One of the outcomes from the Glasgow COP was the launch of ‘Coalitions of the Willing’; groups of countries and stakeholders wanting to move quicker on an issue than they might under the official UN negotiations, which are consensus-driven and involve more than 190 countries. In Sharm el-Sheikh we saw a number of countries join the Methane Pledge, including Australia and Egypt. China joined the meeting on the Pledge and committed to its own national methane strategy.

In Glasgow, 137 countries had taken a landmark step forward by committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. With the imminent return to leadership in Brazil of President-elect Lula da Silva, there is renewed hope that real action on the Amazon forests is possible again. Lula committed Brazil to reaching zero deforestation and was hailed as a hero by many when he turned up at COP 27 during the second week.

Meanwhile, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ)—the global coalition of leading financial institutions—committed to accelerating the decarbonization of the economy. GFANZ, which includes over 550 of the world’s leading financial institutions, has committed to reduce their financed emissions in line with 1.5 degrees C.

With $US150 trillion of combined balance sheets, the accountability mechanism announced of a new Net-Zero Data Public Utility is yet to prove if it is effective in holding the finance sector to their commitments. However, if it can deliver on its potential, this could be a game changer.

There was plenty more activity at COP 27 where the results are harder to measure. Most people at these large UN climate summits are not negotiators and COP 27 was full of “side events” and government and stakeholder pavilions each with its own set of events and agendas.

Country pavilions provided a venue to talk about their challenges, issue pavilions on oceans, food, water, health, education, and resilience highlighted their issues and how they fit into the climate agenda. These enable critical issues to be discussed in a more open way than could be undertaken in negotiations.

Ideas were shared, connections made, and partnerships for further action shared. The upshot of all of this activity is hard to measure, but probably considerable. The thematic days organized by the Egyptian Presidency also gave space to these issues and helped bring together ideas that may ultimately find their way into future UN decisions. In this respect, too, the quality of the side events and pavilions at COP 27 exceeded our expectations.


On to Dubai and COP28

Was COP27 a success or failure? When it comes to keeping up with the science, the answer can hardly be positive. The call to “keep 1.5 alive” hangs in the balance and is still on “life support”. In that sense, COP 27 had very little impact on our current trajectory, which is a likely warming of 2.4-2.8 C by the end of the century.

On the other hand, the promise of a loss and damage fund, as well as modest successes on adaptation, Article 6, agriculture, and actions outside the official negotiations, mean COP 27 delivered some bright spots of success.

Looking ahead to next year, COP 28 will be important as it marks the first “global stocktake” to judge where things now stand. We hope this will focus world leaders to increase their pledges (or “nationally determined contributions”) significantly. It will be interesting to see how the United Arab Emirates, as COP 28 host, performs. As a major oil producer, it faces some serious challenges in transitioning to a net zero world.

At COP 27, there were rumours the UAE was ramping up its team and bringing in additional external expertise ahead of next year. This is certainly a good sign if COP 28 is to deliver the kind of groundbreaking outcomes the science now demands.


Felix Dodds and Chris Spence are co-editors of the new book, Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy: Profiles in Courage (Routledge Press, 2022). It includes chapters on the climate negotiations held in Kyoto (1997), Copenhagen (2009) and Paris (2015).




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Are Climate Summits a Waste of Time?

Originally published in Inter Press Service here.

The 27th annual UN climate summit is taking place in November. Will it be worth all the time and effort? Professor Felix Dodds and Chris Spence—who have attended many of them—share what they’ve learned.

Next month, the latest annual United Nations climate extravaganza, COP27, will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Last year it was in Glasgow. Next year it will be held in (drum roll please) … Dubai!

These big climate events have been around a long time. Since 1995, there has been a climate COP (short for “Conference of the Parties”) every year except 2020, when it was postponed due to the Covid pandemic. Over the years, the COP roadshow has traveled far and wide. From Berlin to Buenos Aires, Kyoto to Cancun, and Bali to Marrakesh, the COPs have criss-crossed the globe with the aim of finessing new agreements to see off the specter of climate change.

These annual summits generate a lot of interest. The most recent in Glasgow attracted tens of thousands of participants. World leaders and celebrities often jet in  and join the throng, while the global media reports every move in the corridors of power and concerned citizens protest outside. And yet the COPs are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to UN-sponsored climate meetings. If you add the several preparatory meetings in the lead-up to the COPs, plus a host of workshops and other events by various expert technical groups, you’re easily looking at several dozen gatherings every year.

Each event is supposed to help us move the needle on climate change, keeping our warming world within the 1.5o Celsius threshold beyond which we face potentially catastrophic consequences. But what, exactly, do all of these many meetings accomplish? Are they really worth all this time and effort?

The climate bandwagon: Roll up for the never-ending world tour!

There are plenty of arguments against letting the climate circus continue its endless circuit. For a start, science tells us that in spite of all the many meetings held, we’re still on a dangerous path. Groups like Carbon Action Tracker estimate that we’re currently on track for somewhere between 1.8-2.7 oC, with the lower number representing their most optimistic—and least likely—scenario. This is clearly well above where we need to be.

Another common complaint is that UN climate COPs are mostly just talking shops; in Greta Thunberg’s words, too much “blah, blah, blah” and not enough action. For all the millions, even billions, of words uttered at these events, theyn often end in acrimony with little of substance agreed. Surely, the money used to hold these summits could be better spent on something else?

Even when agreement is reached, say the critics, there is no guarantee governments and other stakeholders will keep their pledges. History is littered with broken promises and diplomatic treaties that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

These arguments are all credible and we don’t disagree with any of them. But here’s the thing. For all their weaknesses and flaws, these summits actually matter a lot.

Like a rolling stone

First, the United Nations climate process has definitely moved the needle when it comes to our response to climate change. When the UN climate treaty was first signed in 1992, it triggered a wave of national laws, policies, and regulations that have rippled out across every country on earth. This process has started to shift almost every aspect of our modern economic system away from 200 years of reliance on fossil fuels.

Take our global energy systems, for instance. From being a niche market in the 1990s that could not compete on cost with coal, oil and gas-generated electricity, in 2020 solar power became the cheapest source of electricity in history. The technology behind both solar and wind have moved on in leaps and bounds since the 1990s, thanks in large part to the flow-on effects of international lawmaking. The much-maligned Kyoto Protocol of 1997, now largely superseded by the 2015 Paris Agreement, brought the private sector firmly into the equation, launching carbon markets and spurring private sector investment that has begun to reshape our global economy away from its reliance on fossil fuels.

From electric vehicles to power generation to building design, the number of changes catalyzed by our international work on climate change are too many too list. Probably the best metric for judging the UN climate summits, however, is their impact on long-term global warming. In recent years, projections for the expected long-term warming have fallen from as much as 4-6C before the Paris Agreement was inked, to around 1.8-2.7C now, assuming we implement pledges made at UN summits. And while anything above 1.5C is still very, very bad and the need for more action remains urgent, it’s not as unimaginably catastrophic as those higher numbers would be.

The worst approach … except for all the others

That’s not to say the UN climate process can’t be improved. Some people would like to see them shrunk back to their size in the early days, when just a couple of thousand people—key negotiators and a smaller number of other stakeholders—met in person. This, they say, would render it more manageable, reduce the carbon footprint, and make it less of a “circus.”

There are arguments on both sides here. While on the one hand it is true that arguably only a few hundred diplomats could handle the haggling over the official UN documents under negotiation, it is worth noting the impact those other participants can have.

For a start, many new pledges and promises are emerging on the sidelines of the official negotiations; “coalitions of the willing” wishing to make progress in specific sectors like, say, green investment, electric vehicles, reducing methane emissions or halting deforestation. These alliances of governments, private companies and other stakeholders are able to make advances in specific sectors where the official UN negotiations—which require consensus among more than 190 governments—cannot. The groups involved in such coalitions choose to network, negotiate, and announce their plans during the COPs because of the public interest in these events.

Attend just one of these COPs and you will soon notice how many connections are made, partnerships are formed, and ideas generated, by participants not involved in the formal UN business of treatymaking. The benefits of these meetings and collaborations are hard to measure, but certainly considerable.  

UN negotiations can often feel glacial. With the scientific community—and the daily news of extreme weather events around the world—reminding us of the need for urgency, it can feel like the discussions are going far too slowly. Obviously, there is much more to be done in a short space of time given that we are still hurtling towards some pretty frightening outcomes without more progress. Still, the UN process has made a difference and started to move the needle, even if is not yet happening fast enough.

And what are the alternatives? No single country or private entity stands a chance of dealing with this threat alone. Neither Amazon nor Google can conjure up an online answer to this type of problem. The US or China can’t “go it alone” and no coalition of governments has been able to deliver what’s needed. It is clear, therefore, that a multilateral, global process involving all governments and stakeholders presents our only chance of containing such a global threat.

Winston Churchill once described democracy as the worst form of government except for all the others. The same applies to multilateralism and climate change. It is flawed, frustrating and at times agonizingly slow. But it is still without doubt our last best hope of success. 

Stepping up

So what needs to happen at COP27 in Egypt? Many are describing it as the “implementation COP” where we begin to turn pledges and well-laid plans into action. There will be pressure for countries to come with bolder measures to reduce their national emissions and for wealthier nations to bring more money to the table when it comes to supporting the developing world. In particular, more support for adaptation, as well as financial help dealing with the loss and damage already wrought by climate change, will need to be addressed promptly.

We will also need to see inspired leadership. In our new book, Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy, we argue that dedicated and committed individuals can make a significant difference at these events. Examples from the recent past, such as the dedication of a handful of scientists and diplomats who helped create the Montreal Protocol and save the ozone layer, show that we can all play our part in turning the tide. More recently Christiana Figueres, the former head of the UN climate office and one of the architects of the Paris Agreement, is an example of the type of leadership that will be required at the next COP. Figueres is an advocate of “stubborn optimism” and the need to blend urgency with action. We agree. Persistence, combined with a belief that there is still time to make a difference, should be our guiding light during this critical time. 

Currently, the UK as hosts of COP26 still hold the climate presidency, which they will hand over officially to Egypt at the start of COP27 in November. Glasgow exceeded many insiders’ expectations, with Alok Sharma delivering a poised performance in spite of the UK’s recent domestic political turmoil. How will the incoming Egyptian presidency step up to the challenge? And how too will the new UN climate chief, Simon Stiell, approach this major meeting?

As we look to COP27 and beyond, we wonder who the heroes of tomorrow might be? With time running out, we need environmental champions now more than ever.

Prof. Felix Dodds and Chris Spence have participated in UN environmental negotiations since the 1990s. They co-edited Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy: Profiles in Courage (Routledge, 2022).

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What Must COP27 Deliver?

With less than two months remaining before the next climate summit—COP27—begins in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Felix Dodds and Chris Spence assess what needs to happen for it to be judged a success. Published originally on Inter Press Service here

Preparations for COP27 in November are proceeding apace and we are now well past the halfway mark between the preparatory meetings in June in Bonn and the start of the summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The agenda for Sharm El-Sheikh is complex and challenging. Furthermore, the meeting is taking place during a time of international turmoil. So, what are the factors influencing whether Sharm El-Sheikh can be a success? And what, exactly, does COP27 need to deliver?

Reasons for Optimism

Those looking for positive signs can name several. For a start, the recent passing of the Inflation Reduction Act in the US dedicated some $369 billion for climate and energy action—the largest investment in US history for tackling climate change. This will give the market more confidence to invest in green technology, whether it is solar, wind, microgrids, carbon capture and hydrogen, to name a few. It also shows commitment from the world’s largest economy and second largest polluter.

Second, the major weather events of recent months—from heatwaves across Africa, Asia and Europe to the catastrophic floods in Pakistan of the past few days—are a tragic reminder, if any were still needed, of the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for COP27 to deliver some strong, tangible outcomes.

A third, quite different factor may be the caliber of the incoming Egyptian presidency. While there has been some criticism of the host country’s human rights record and treatment of local NGOs in the lead up to COP27, some climate insiders have been impressed by the incoming presidency’s team led by Sameh Shoukry, Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs and COP27 president-designate, and Egyptian Minister for the Environment Dr. Yasmine Fouad, the COP Ministerial Coordinator and Envoy. Their quality has spurred hopes the Egyptian hosts could build on what is widely viewed as a fairly successful COP26 in Glasgow last November.

Dark Clouds Loom

Those are certainly reasons for hope. Yet the skeptics arguably have a stronger case. First, while the world’s climate crisis may have affirmed the need for urgency, the geopolitical and economic situation may be pushing in the opposite direction. The war in Ukraine has badly damaged relations between the West and Russia, while tensions over Taiwan have had a similar (if not so extreme) effect with China. These are hardly good conditions for building mutual trust and understanding—usually a prerequisite for a strong outcome in international negotiations.

One major side effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the West’s response, has been the energy crisis now engulfing Europe. There is also a predicted food crisis, not just from the war but also the impacts of climate change on harvests. Will this reinvigorate efforts at COP27 to find solutions or distract Western nations beset by inflation and a looming recession?

Closer to home, the latest round of UN climate talks, the Subsidiary Bodies meetings held in Bonn in June, were not wildly productive. A few procedural outcomes could not mask the ongoing disagreements in key areas like loss and damage compensation (including calls for a new fund), as well as slow progress in talks on adaptation and financing. More recently, a G20 gathering of energy and climate ministers held in late August in Indonesia failed to approve a draft outcome document amid reports of disagreements and a “breakdown” in negotiations. This is a worrying outcome so close to the COP.

Another uncertainty, which may yet prove either negative or positive, is the change in leadership at the UN’s climate secretariat. With Patricia Espinosa stepping down in July, Simon Stiell was named as her successor in August. Mr. Stiell boasts an impressive CV, having held ministerial appointments in his home country of Grenada, as well as executive corporate jobs overseas. An engineer by training, he has been involved in the climate negotiations and knows the characters and issues well. His experience in government at a high level should help him engage with dignitaries and senior officials at COP27 and he will undoubtedly bring energy and vigor to the job at a critical time. Furthermore, coming from a small island developing state should give him greater legitimacy given their vulnerability to sea-level rise, thus ensuring his voice is heard loud and clear.

On the other hand, there is little time for him to get to grips with his new job if he is to have an impact on a COP that starts in early November. The runway for him to achieve liftoff at Sharm El-Sheikh is alarmingly short.

Key Topics for COP27 to Tackle

So what does COP27 need to deliver?  The main criterion should be whether it produces concrete climate action. COP27 has been pitched as the “implementation” COP, where the goals of the Paris Agreement, helped by the rulebook adopted in Glasgow, begin to be delivered. What should this implementation look like?

Nationally Determined Contributions: Keeping 1.5 Alive: Revisiting countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs)—essentially their pledges and plans—at COP27 is important. Many feel it is imperative to maintain the pressure to improve the many NDCs delivered in time for COP26. However, only a dozen or so countries have submitted new or revised NDCs since Glasgow. Of these, the new targets by Australia (43% by 2030 from 2005 levels) and India (45% by 2030 on 2005 levels) are noteworthy. But the pre-Glasgow “flood” of ambitious, headline-grabbing NDCs has now reduced to a trickle.

Depending on whether you just take the commitments by governments into account or include those of other stakeholders, we are currently still looking at a temperature rise of 1.8-2.7oC. Of course, this is much lower than estimates prior to Paris (2015), when some predicted a rise of 4-6oC by the end of the century. Nevertheless, those lower numbers still rely on all stakeholders delivering their promises. And they still take us well beyond 1.5oC.

For these reasons, more ambitious NDCs in the lead-up to, or during, COP27, would help deliver a major boost.

Climate Finance: The commitment made in Copenhagen in 2009 for US$100 billion a year for climate finance by 2020 was not achieved. This is particularly disappointing since the $100 billion was intended as a floor not a ceiling. Furthermore, most of the funding that was delivered came in the form of loans, not grants, which recipients would usually prefer. It is evident, therefore, that we are locked in the basement when it comes to climate funding, and that major progress is needed for us to climb out of the hole. 

The reality is that we need trillions, not billions, to address climate change and that government aid will not be enough. Still, progress by government negotiators on a new collective quantified goal on climate finance is needed. While this goal is not supposed to be agreed until 2024, COP27 will need to show significant progress and demonstrate we are heading firmly in the right direction.

Outside the government negotiations, observers will also be looking for progress by other stakeholders. For instance, the launch in 2021 of the Glasgow Finance Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) as a coalition of the willing will need to play a critical role. GFANZ represents two-fifths of the world's financial assets, $130 trillion, under the management of banks, insurers and pension funds that have signed up to 2050 net-zero goals including limiting global warming to 1.5oC. This includes targets for asset managers (halve emissions by 2030), asset owners (by 2030 net zero aligned portfolios covering emissions reductions), banks (net zero emissions from all activities and portfolios by 2050) and insurers (by 2030 net zero aligned investment, insurance and reinsurance underwriting portfolios). The realignment of the market is critical to achieving our 1.5oC goal. The state of play with GFANZ and what transparency systems have been set up should be critically reviewed by NGOs and other stakeholders at COP27, with clear signs that these goals are real and not just empty promises.

Article 6--the Carbon Market: Another outcome from Glasgow was adoption of the rulebook covering Voluntary Carbon Markets under the Paris Agreement. This should open the door to billions of dollars of investments (in 2021 it was $2 billion). Furthermore, the rules agreed in Glasgow were generally seen as fairly stringent. This is important because demand is set to grow for carbon offsets (removing/reducing emissions in one place to compensate for emissions elsewhere). Yet if these offsets are of poor quality—as some currently are—then we will not have a chance of staying within our 1.5oC goal.  To be successful, this market will need to improve its approach. For instance, certification should ensure that tree planting and other similar efforts address both climate change and biodiversity as an integrated set of challenges. More broadly, COP27 will provide an opportunity to assess early progress as we move towards implementing Article 6.

Loss and Damage: Given the number of extreme climate events recently, a long-term issue for negotiators—compensation for loss and damage caused by climate change—has developed into a major, pressing challenge for COP27. While developing countries in particular are looking for rapid progress, the Glasgow Loss and Damage Dialogues in Bonn in June did not set a well-defined narrative. Clear disagreement could be discerned around the use of existing funding arrangements to address the issue versus the creation of a new loss and damage financial facility, which many developing countries favor. Progress on this issue will be important at COP27.

Global Goal on Adaptation: The development of the objectives and modalities for this goal to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement was discussed in Bonn in June. While it is still early days in this discussion, COP27 should recognize the different levels of development countries are in and the challenges they face and how this might inform the Global Stocktaking process in future.  There was also a commitment in Glasgow to double adaptation funding by 2025. This should raise the amount to US$40 billion annually. Again, COP27 provides an opportunity to give some early signals this goal will be achieved.

A Voice for Africa: With Egypt hosting this meeting, COP27 provides an opportunity to amplify regional voices from Africa in the conversation and to highlight issues of global justice and equity. A successful COP would, in our view, show a growing solidarity between the Global North and South on issues such as financing and loss and damage. 

Navigating Complexity

Clearly, COP27 faces some significant headwinds given the current geopolitical situation. Nevertheless, we believe the Egyptian presidency has an opportunity to build on a solid COP26 and that its efforts to focus on implementation and secure some tangible outcomes is the right choice. With the United Arab Emirates set to hold the Presidency for COP28, it will be fascinating to see whether this triad of presidencies—the UK, Egypt, and UAE—can help guide this complex and critical period in the negotiations to some positive conclusions.

Felix Dodds and Chris Spence are co-editors of the new book, Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy: Profiles in Courage (Routledge Press, 2022). It includes chapters on the climate negotiations held in Kyoto (1997), Copenhagen (2009) and Paris (2015).




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Book launch of Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy - a book that can help you explain to your family what you do :-)

On Wednesday the 13th of July. Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy - Profiles in Courage was launched. It can be viewed on facebook here. It can be bought on amazon here.

The event was opened by Mayer Nasser the Director of the Outreach Division in the United Nations Department of Global Communications. It was moderated by Chantal Line Carpentier who currently serves as Chief, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) New York office of the Secretary-General. 

The speakers at the launch were Felix Dodds (co-editor and who wrote on the hero Maurice Strong), Irena Zubcevic (who wrote on the hero Paula Caballero)and Patrick Ramage (who wrote on the hero Sidney Holt

Here is Felix's comments at the book launch:

I am only one part of the team that put this book together the other part is Chris Spence unfortunately in New Zealand and so couldn’t join us.

This book is his inspiration and he hassled me to come along for the ride which to begin with I told him I didn’t have time as I was finishing another book ‘Tomorrow’s People and New Technology’ but the idea of Heroes and Profile in Courage was just too delicious an idea not to do.

So what makes a hero?

On our screens and in books it is often their appearance—their clothes and gear—that give them away. Some slip on shiny, skin-hugging lycra as they take to the skies, on their way to defeat the supervillain and save the day.

Others carry wands or swords, or sonic screwdrivers.

Real life is different and—in our view—more interesting. Real life heroes can’t call on unearthly powers.

Real-life heroes are just like you and me. They rely on ordinary, everyday skills—intelligence, persistence, persuasion, even humour—to achieve the extraordinary results.

And yet, their task is no less important than their fictional peers. Even without superpowers, many real-life heroes are doing their utmost to save the planet.

This book is about environmental heroes. It tells the stories—some for the first time—of people who have played a global role in taking on an environmental challenge that is larger than their organization or their country. In so doing, they have helped improve our world.

Our work draws inspiration from President John F. Kennedy’s book, Profiles in Courage.

Updating this for the modern era, our book goes beyond national borders and takes a global perspective.

Each chapter tells the story of an individual who has played a significant role in securing global agreement or landmark treaty on a major environmental threat.

We scratch beneath the surface to figure out what kind of person each hero was. What were they like?

What motivated them?

How did they beat the odds and achieve some sort of success?

And what is their legacy today?

Interestingly, we uncover a range of characteristics and attributes. No two were the same.

Some of our heroes were humble, while others were larger-than-life figures.

Some were excellent listeners, while others were consummate talkers.

Some were ferocious in their single-minded will to succeed, taking no prisoners along the way, while others forged friendships and alliances.

All were persistent, refusing to give up even when their situation seemed hopeless.

Every one of them recognized that international diplomacy—and persuading the world’s governments to take an issue seriously—was the only way to address an environmental challenge that is global in nature.

From saving the whales to protecting our ozone layer, from championing a more sustainable way of life to combating climate change, these heroes were determined to make a difference.

Each has a unique, fascinating and, at times, even shocking life story.

Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy: Profiles in Courage tackles a different topic—and a different hero—in each chapter.

In each story, we review the political and environmental situation the world was facing at the time.

We provide insights on each hero’s character and motivations, explain how they helped bring the issue to an international audience, and reveal how the situation was resolved.

Why did we write this book?

First, we want to show the impact individuals with courage can play in bringing about global change.

Each person featured in the book has advanced an international response to a pressing environmental challenge—in the shape of a global treaty or agreement—that has changed the world for the better.

Often, they achieved this in spite of daunting hurdles and obstacles.

Secondly, we hope these stories will serve as an inspiration for the next generation of leaders as our global community seeks to face down the latest—and largest—wave of environmental crises in the 2020s and beyond.

Finally, we want to show that international engagement—diplomacy and negotiations—actually works.

Yes, the world is beset with difficulties. But the only way we can deal with global threats is by coming together as a community at a planetary level. Many problems we face today, from climate change to biodiversity loss, are too big for one single country to deal with alone.

We can only do this by working together.

We three here today only represent three of the authors and three of the heroes.

My hero was Maurice Strong the father of sustainable development secretary general of both the 1972 Stockholm Conference and the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and the first Executive Director of UNEP.

A man who grew up in the Great Depression, dropped out of school at 14.

His father never got another full time job after the depression hit.

Maurice modified the date on his birth certificate from 1929 to 1924 to fight in the Second World War, he hitched rides on freight trains to Vancouver – then was a stowaway on a merchant ship that was under contract to the US Army to transport troops to Alaska – ended up working as a dishwasher on the ship.

Two years later working for the Hudson Bay Company which brought him in contact with the Inuit and his lifetime support for the causes of indigenous peoples.

He interned in the UN Pass Office and realized with his lack of education he would need to come back to the UN in a different way than just progressing through the ranks.

He would be an Under Secretary General of the UN seven times in his life the first time as the Secretary General of the 1972 Stockholm environment conference.

He was disappointed in the implementation of the conference outcomes and this chapter focuses on what he did about that when he became the secretary general of the Rio 1992 Earth Summit twenty years later.

He had recognized that governments alone would not deliver global agreements that he would need the support of other key stakeholders and identify over the process of the preparatory meetings for the Earth Summit nine stakeholder groups.

He knew that industry, trade unions and local government would be added as major implementers,

That there was a need for women to ensure a gender perspective and that the next generation would also need their space, 

That all the key environmental processes need to be built on science, that food with a growing population would need the involvement of farmers.

That Indigenous Peoples so often forgotten by politicians needed a space for their voices and their knowledge to be heard and finally that NGOs who would monitor and help put pressure on governments to deliver what they promised needed to be at the table and as important many NGOs were implementation agents for governments decisions.

Underlying this approach was his theory of change

“that involving stakeholders in the decision making process will make better informed decisions and that those stakeholders then will be more likely to individually or in partnership help implement those decisions”.

The development and implementation of the SDGs is the best example of that theory of change. When researching this chapter nearly everyone I spoke with didn’t appreciate at the time what and why Maurice was doing this.

Secretary general Kofi Annan said of Maurice

“If the world succeeds in making the transition to truly sustainable development, all of us will owe no small debt of gratitude to Maurice Strong.”

The book is in four sections:

  1. Protecting Nature: Geoffrey Matthews, Luc Hoffmann, Eskandar Firouz and Sidney Holt
  2. 2.Chemical Threats: Mostafa Tolba and Franz Perrez,
  3. 3.Climate Change: Raúl Estrada-Oyuela, Barack Obama and Christiana Figueres and,
  4. 4.Sustainable Development: Maurice Strong, Maria Luiza Viotti and Paula Caballero 

Finally, we end the book by reflecting on our heroes’ profiles.

What can we learn from them? What characteristics did they all share? What, collectively, did they achieve? And could they have done it all on their own, or were they all really part of a wider circle of friends and allies?  -

Maybe one or two of you here today and online will be a heros of tomorrow – as we try and secure a more sustainable, just and equitable future for all. 

Final thoughts

There are many other treaties and processes we could have included but did not, for a variety of reasons.

In many cases, we did not feel the story was ready to tell, either because we believe more progress is needed or the timing just isn’t quite right.

They may form the basis of a second book sometime in the future.

As for the people we featured, we want to emphasize that success is never down to one person.

Every story featured in this book required many people to bring it about. It is always a collective, team effort, even if individual roles are highlighted here.

Then there are many politicians from all stripes who have made a difference, not to mention scientists, diplomats and stakeholder activists.

For those who fully deserve to be featured in the pages of such a book as this, we apologize that we could feature only a small number of the many heroes of environmental diplomacy.

Perhaps a future book might tell more of these stories?

And what might a future edition look like?

We know this book is a product of its time.

With stories ranging from the 1960s through to the 2020s, it may not be a surprise that most of the chapters—seven of the ten—are about men.

We believe—and firmly hope—that were this book to be updated in 5 or 10 or even 20 years, more of the heroes would be women.

Indeed, it is interesting to note that, of the four stories set after 2010, three of our four heroes are women.

We hope you will buy a copy today and many more copies fin the future for your families and friends who don’t understand what you do at these meetings.  This book we hope will go a little way to help you explain it.

Id like to thank the UN bookshop staff who have made this possible Mayer and Chantal line for introducing and moderating our session and Chris Spence for the vision of this book and the authors who have contributed to telling the amazing stories of how environmental diplomacy works and how to recognize some of our heroes. And for all of you who came out during a busy HLPF.


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Global Connections TV - interview of Felix Dodds on his new book Tomorrow's People and New Technology and a review of UNEA

The interview can be found here where i discuss the UN Environment Assembly outcomes and then discuss the new book Tomorrow's People and New Technology which can be bought here.

As we witness a series of social, political, cultural, and economic changes/disruptions this book examines the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the way emerging technologies are impacting our lives and changing society. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by the emergence of new technologies that are blurring the boundaries between the physical, the digital, and the biological worlds. This book allows readers to explore how these technologies will impact peoples’ lives by 2030. It helps readers to not only better understand the use and implications of emerging technologies, but also to imagine how their individual life will be shaped by them. The book provides an opportunity to see the great potential but also the threats and challenges presented by the emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, posing questions for the reader to think about what future they want. Emerging technologies, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, cloud computing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, the Internet of Things, fifth-generation wireless technologies (5G), and fully autonomous vehicles, among others, will have a significant impact on every aspect of our lives, as such this book looks at their potential impact in the entire spectrum of daily life, including home life, travel, education and work, health, entertainment and social life.

Providing an indication of what the world might look like in 2030, this book is essential reading for students, scholars, professionals, and policymakers interested in the nexus between emerging technologies and sustainable development, politics and society, and global governance.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by the emergence of new technologies that are blurring the boundaries between the physical, the digital, and the biological worlds. This book allows readers to explore how these technologies will impact peoples’ lives by 2030. It helps readers to not only better understand the use and implications of emerging technologies, but also to imagine how their individual life will be shaped by them. The book provides an opportunity to see the great potential but also the threats and challenges presented by the emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, posing questions for the reader to think about what future they want. Emerging technologies, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, cloud computing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, the Internet of Things, fifth-generation wireless technologies (5G), and fully autonomous vehicles, among others, will have a significant impact on every aspect of our lives, as such this book looks at their potential impact in the entire spectrum of daily life, including home life, travel, education and work, health, entertainment and social life.

Providing an indication of what the world might look like in 2030, this book is essential reading for students, scholars, professionals, and policymakers interested in the nexus between emerging technologies and sustainable development, politics and society, and global governance.

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