In the next few days, international leaders from government, business and civil society will gather in Dubai for the 28th Conference of Parties, to negotiate and agree on national policies to curb global warming inline with 1.5 degrees. Despite big questions over the alignment of this year’s presidency with continued fossil fuel extraction, COP remains the only forum in which Heads of State meet exclusively to negotiate climate change mitigation and adaptation.
With climate negotiations starting next week, we asked leading figures in the Blue Earth community to share their hopes and expectations for COP28 outcomes.
First up, Markus Müller, Chief Investment officer ESG for Deutsche Bank AG, shares three hopes for COP28, his thoughts on the biggest challenges putting these hopes at risk, and a call to action to the global business community.
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Are you going to COP28?
Yes, will be part of the Deutsche Bank Delegation.
COP is important at many levels. As a leading European bank, we want to take part in discussions around climate change and nature degradation as well as catch up with our clients. We need to remember that COP isn’t just about formal negotiations: it’s also a great place for experts, scientists, governmental and community representatives to listen to each other. Financial institutions are part of the solution to climate issues, and I always come back from COP with new ideas and developments that I hope can be useful to the bank and its stakeholders.
What are your hopes for COP28?
First, that it will provide a clear view on progress towards environmental targets through the first “Stock-take” and that this “name and shame” will force action. Second, that it will underline the importance of finance as a key tool for implementing environmental solutions. Third, that it will fix on ways to bring prosperity and environmental security to all parts of the world – and not just the old 20th century world of rich developed nations. This will require meaningful contributions to the agreed loss and damage funds, rethinking some treaties (ocean, biodiversity and climate) and readying societies for change.
What are the biggest challenges to these hopes being realised?
We must ensure that any commitments to change are backed by the societies sending representatives to the COP. Just stressing the long-term positives from fundamental change may not be enough to get this commitment; we need to show more immediate benefits to societies too. We also need to get finance and business more involved in negotiations and discussions. We need them to help us change economic priorities and systems quickly.
What’s your single message to the global business community during COP28 and beyond?
Don’t forget that setting boundaries (environmental or otherwise) on our actions can often help force innovation and development. Remember that transformation towards a nature-compliant world shouldn’t be seen as a burden – it’s also a way to drive social inclusion and co-operation, helping to provide prosperity and social stability. When we look back at COP28 from 2025 or 2030, it’ll be clear that we should have done some things differently. But that’s the point about learning from change: development is itself always creating fresh insights about what to do better in future.
What keeps you optimistic about the global climate movement?
I’m optimistic because it’s increasingly accepted that there’s no alternative to change and we have both the will and the technology to do this. Younger generations have a better understanding of this and their voice will get more important. Economics is also telling us that the immediate challenges from change are more an opportunity than a threat.