Season 28 of the greatest COP show on Earth

Panel of speakers seated on stage behind desk at COP28 session, with green backdrop and live audience.

New Writing: The COP28 climate show has finally come to its gripping climax in Dubai. Writing for The Hub, the award-winning content platform curated by Mitsubishi Electric, Jim McClelland asks: Did the drama deliver, or disappoint?

Like some long-running TV drama, the COP show came back for Season 28, with a new shooting location, change in lead actor, plus fresh faces amongst both cast and crew.

The setting for the latest series was a host nation that has built its wealth on fossil fuels, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). All episodes were to be shot in that jewel in the crown of conspicuous consumption, Dubai. As a trailer, this was not well received by the fans.

Dampening expectations still further, star billing for 2023 went to Dr Sultan Al Jaber — an actor some critics considered miscast, as he is best known worldwide for his day-job role as Managing Director and Group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

For the crowd scenes, the roll-call of extras also looked decidedly different this time, with the oil lobby particularly well represented, backed by a vocal chorus of climate deniers.

Despite the doubts, however, a huge and loyal global audience tuned-in for the show.

So, what’s the verdict: Did COP28 deliver, or disappoint?

Highlights reel weeks one and two

The programme certainly started strongly, with the Loss and Damage Fund operationalised on Day One.

The highlights reel then continued to stream through weeks one and two:

• Heads of State agreed to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030, in line with calls from IRENA;

• The Global Methane Pledge (Ministerial) was made towards the goal of at least 30% cuts by 2030;

• More than 60 countries, from Antigua and Barbuda to Zimbabwe, signed up to the Global Cooling Pledge;

• The Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) Consortium was launched by GEAPP and partners;

• The built environment sector stepped into the spotlight with a trio of launches: Buildings Breakthrough; Cement & Concrete Breakthrough; and Greening Construction with Sustainable Wood initiative.

Script changes and cliffhanger suspense

Ultimately, though, after all the love scenes and stage fights, the critical success or failure of this nail-biting narrative was always going to depend on the dénouement, the finale.

It is OK to leave your audience wanting more (in first Azerbaijan, then Brazil), but, to avoid getting cancelled, the COP show still had to give them (enough of) what they want.

So, to discover Jim’s take on the outcome, you can read his critical review in full here, for free

Season 28 of the global COP show.

To view a back-catalogue of articles authored by Jim McClelland for ‘The Hub’, please see archive here.

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