COP28 – a global conference that tackles the climate crisis – launches today in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

A 12-strong delegation of climate scientists and experts from Edinburgh – including student representatives and academics – are attending the summit to observe the proceedings, influence negotiations, draft text for agreements, recommendations and declarations, and participate in panels and discussions.

Read their joint statement below.

COP28 graphic

This year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP28, has assumed a position of pivotal significance in ongoing efforts to address the global climate crisis. From November 30 to December 12, 2023, within the futuristic setting of Expo City in Dubai, the event will mark the 28th gathering of signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Against the backdrop of rising greenhouse gas emissions and increased global temperatures, this year’s meeting is billed as a crucial moment to confront the urgent challenges facing populations around the world.

Each year the university takes a proactive role in COP by sending a team of experts with a range of backgrounds and experiences to influence negotiations, draft text for agreements, recommendations, or declarations, participate in panel discussions, and observe the proceedings. This year’s diverse and cross-disciplinary team of researchers, staff and students embodies the university’s commitment to making a substantial impact on the international stage. Together, we will be building collaborations with governments, UN agencies, international organisations, and higher education partners to support urgent, knowledge-based action on climate change at all scales, across all sectors.

This year’s team will participate in discussions around health, oceans, food, and education. The team is composed of eight academic staff and four students from the Colleges of Science and Engineering, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, including an elected representative of the University of Edinburgh Students Association. In addition, this year we have increased access to COP across the campus, with students on over 20 taught graduate programmes invited to join live broadcasts direct from Dubai. This year, as in previous years, the University of Edinburgh has also provided delegate passes to one of our key institutional partners from the Global South, the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. Our team will also be contributing to the online course, “Learning for a Sustainable Future: Live from COP28”, that is delivered by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the British Council and Learning for Sustainability Scotland. We will help share ‘live’ insights into the issues being discussed at COP28, as well as responses to the conference, through a free, open access course for educators, community groups and individuals across the world.

Each year’s climate COP raises critical questions about the efficacy of the UN process and the logic of generating carbon emissions through international travel to participate in talks about the climate emergency. Our team is travelling to Dubai with these questions at the forefront of the agenda, with the aim of using our in-person access as proactively and constructively as possible. Our team acknowledges the privilege of being able to participate in COP28. We travel to Dubai on the basis that this event offers an unparalleled opportunity to raise the profile of key issues in a major international forum and to strengthen our alliances for knowledge-based action on climate change with global partners. We recognise that any response to the climate emergency will involve the parties to UN backed agreements and we approach COP28 as a critical moment to listen, learn, advocate, and collaborate for a better world.

Professor Jamie Cross – Director, Edinburgh Earth Initiative/Lead Delegate

Professor Liz Grant – Assistant Principal Global Health

Professor Alan Duncan – Visiting Professor of Livestock and Development, Global Academic of Agriculture and Food Systems

Dr Sian Henley – Reader in Marine Science/Deputy Head of Global Change Research Institute, School of GeoSciences

Alma Kalina Riessler – Vice President Community, Edinburgh University Students’ Association

Joud Almanie – Undergraduate Student, School of Social and Political Science

Dr Ian Cochran – Programme Director MSc Climate Finance and Investment and Lecturer in Climate Finance and Investment, Business School

Dr Meriwether Wilson – Reader in Marine Science and Policy/Director of Edinburgh Ocean Leaders Programme, School of Geosciences

Gail Sant – Programme Officer, Nippon Foundation-University of Edinburgh Ocean Voices Programme

Professor Soledad Garcia Ferrari – Personal Chair of Global Urbanism and Resilience/Dean International of Latin America, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Jana Alramahi – Undergraduate Student, School of Social and Political Science

Respect Musiyiwa – Postgraduate Taught Student (online), Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems

COP28 and the University of Edinburgh

Keep up with the latest news and find out more about how the delegation is participating in COP28, the “Live from COP” free online course and the University’s role in previous climate COPs:

COP28 and the University of Edinburgh