Picture of  Deborah M. Osborne

Deborah M. Osborne

Athena Agreements’ founder Deborah M. Osborne is a certified negotiation and conflict resolution expert with 20+ years of experience and over 500 cases under her belt.

COP 28 Negotiations and Climate Change Are Heating Up: Six Tips to Curb A Disaster

Climate change will wait for nobody. In my earlier post, “Monday Morning Quarterbacking COP27 Negotiations,” I stated the importance of adhering to a 4-stage negotiation structure to move negotiations forward effectively at COP28 and future summits.
COP28 is here. The stakes are high for global negotiators to get the dealmaking right at COP28 because their effectiveness will determine the fate of our livability on planet Earth. I offer six negotiation tips to steer COP28 negotiations in the right direction.

The call to action is urgent. “…scientists say Earth will cross the 1.5°C threshold in the coming decade, unleashing far more severe climate change effects on people, wildlife and ecosystems, and striking a deal among 200 countries at COP28 will not be easy…: U.A.E. Industry Minister Sultan Al Jaber, the head of the COP28 climate summit in December, along with two renewable energy organizations, said that governments need to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 to stop global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius. They say a renewable energy deal at COP28 must be paired with a commitment to phase out CO2-emitting fossil fuels. This pledge has faced resistance from Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other fossil fuel-reliant economies. “You cannot just have the renewables goal and then call the C.O.P. a success,” European Union climate policy chief Wopke Hoekstra told an event in Brussels on Friday.” [link]

From what I understand from this year’s Paris Climate Summit on Finance and the Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB58), trust remains low among nations largely due to a lack of following through with pledges and funding. For example, the Bonn conference reported that only 45 of 154 developing nations have submitted their adaptation plans since the establishment of the process in 2010. The negotiation process also remains cumbersome. The terms of the agreement are ambiguous, with many nations vying for their agendas, digging their heels based on their positions, and wasting time with extensive word-smithing, for example, over a hyperlink, while tuning out the larger responsibility of negotiating solutions cooperatively and urgently for people they represent so the planet returns a healthy condition. You can view related videos of the past events here: [link, link]

As of June, the agenda for COP28 remained undecided. Even the host of COP28 in Dubai, Special Representative Badr Jafar, sees negotiations dragging slow progress from summits and warned world business leaders that it is time for developed nations to pay up instead of making promises or pledges. “Business will be central to the success of the COP28 climate talks, but companies need to back up their environmental and social pledges with firm action and money, Special Representative Badr Jafar told Reuters.” [link]

Scientists assert above that we are not in a good place. That should be enough to wake up all nations to a call to action to get things done and do it smartly. Set a firm direction with each nation’s cooperation at COP28 to take action seriously and quickly to curb global warming. After all, stats revealed that over 70,000 people will attend COP28. That’s a lot of carbon emissions released from jet fuel burning up the planet without outstanding progress to show for it.

6 Negotiation Tips for Effective Dealmaking at COP28:

  1. Clear Commitments and Follow Through From All Nations

Nations can no longer pledge financial assistance payments. They must commit to payments in the upcoming negotiations if assistance recipients commit to holding to their bargain.

  1. Insert Neutral Expertise

Root out ambiguity in negotiations. Designate lead negotiators to assign splinter teams led by competent facilitators or mediators to ensure that commitments are clear on “who needs to do what when” and clear obstacles. Leave no room for confusion over the terms of agreement for actions.

  1. Centralize All Compliance and Payment Data in Real Time

Centralize and report in real-time data promised at past and ongoing summits to add legitimacy to the negotiations. Publicly display where each nation stands with doing their part. In my last post on COP27 negotiations, I addressed the need for a communal dashboard to capture data each nation enters in real-time. This is a good use of government-tech titan business partnerships for a global system to manage and display results. Efficiency is required at this stage of the global warming crisis. Reluctant nations need to accept that they cannot “drag their heels” — not possible at this stage of the climate crisis.

  1. Polarization and the Blame Game Needs to End

Stop blaming individual nations for the problem. Create a Golden Ground Rule at C.O.P. 28 so negotiations move quickly and consistently focus on stopping global warming. Attack the problem, not the people. Reverse global warming with alliance-building and partnerships, not dissension and conflict. At this juncture, global warming is every nation’s problem. If displeased nations publicly shame energy companies and other polluters for carbon emissions, those entities that can turn on the tide on global warming will be less willing to cooperate.

  1. Negotiate from a Human Place – “Leave Egos at the Door”

Restore Trust, Good Will, and Cooperation. Honor commitments and set hard dates to fulfill them. Trust is at an all-time low with unfulfilled promises, such as compliance plans and payment. We are the most intelligent and powerful species on the planet. No matter our politics, cultural background, and position in life, we are all human beings with an inherent capacity to solve problems of any magnitude when we put our hearts and minds together. That’s the key to preventing disaster and our planet from burning up.

  1. Maximize Returns by Adopting the Advice of Experts

Listen to the Scientists and Cultural Leaders. Do your part as the best world leaders privileged to negotiate for the people you represent. The world is watching. The planet is waiting for relief from human-made causes of global warming, intentional or not. The time is now.

Together, we can also do our part, large or small, to ameliorate the effects of global warming. As The Nature Conservancy reports, “When it comes to the climate crisis, every action matters.” To find out more about the four areas COP28 is focusing on this year visit: [link]

To find out more about the work we do to build consensus at Athena Agreements, visit us at https://www.AthenaAgreements.com


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