The United Nations COP28 climate summit commences in Dubai, UAE on Thursday (30 Nov-12 Dec). This year’s conference comes against the backdrop of the hottest year on record, devastating extreme weather events, and an ongoing failure globally to align emissions targets with a 1.5 degree pathway. Minister Bowen will join the conference from the second week.

COP15 Global Day of Action in Quezon City. © Greenpeace / Buck Pago
A student displays a placard saying “Time is Running Out, Climate Action Now” in front of the Quezon City hall. © Greenpeace / Buck Pago

Greenpeace has two questions we believe Minister Bowen should answer before he departs for the conference next week.

QUESTION 1: 2023 has been the hottest year on record and the science is clear that to keep warming within 1.5 degrees – a commitment Minister Bowen says we “should not forget for this coming COP” – we must keep fossil fuels in the ground. How does the Albanese Government see fossil fuel expansion in Australia being compatible with a 1.5 degree world, as well as being the ‘partner of choice’ for Pacific nations?

Minister Bowen is likely to bring evidence to Dubai that Australia is all but on track to reach its 43% emissions reduction target by 2030. But while the positive steps forward on climate made since the election are to be applauded, the emissions generated by the Albanese Government’s continued approval of new coal and gas projects dwarfs any emissions avoided by these measures. 

1.5 degrees is not just an ambition — it’s a lifeline for Pacific communities bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. Stopping new fossil fuel projects in Australia is something the Pacific has been crying out for in very clear terms, especially if Australia is serious about co-hosting COP31 with Pacific nations.

QUESTION 2: One of the most urgent demands of Pacific nations is for major emitting countries, including Australia, to provide compensation for the climate damage they have caused. What are the Albanese Government’s plans for addressing Loss and Damage finance at COP28?

Australia is the third largest fossil fuel exporter in the world and makes an outsized contribution to global emissions. It’s only fair that major polluters pay for the damage they’ve caused. At COP28, the Australian government must support the launch and financing of an operationalised Loss and Damage Fund, one that is transparent, accessible, and genuinely addresses the needs of communities to respond to the climate crisis.

Instead of propping up the fossil fuel industry with subsidies, the billions of dollars saved every year could be channelled towards Australian and Pacific communities being directly impacted by the climate crisis. Making fair contributions towards a Loss and Damage fund is a vital step towards repairing our relationship with the Pacific. This is set to be a highly debated topic at COP28.

Greenpeace will be on the ground in Dubai and can provide a range of COP delegates, experts and Pacific climate leaders for interview on issues including:

  • What delegates and Pacific leaders are calling for at COP28
  • How the climate crisis disproportionately affects Pacific nations with case-studies and lived experiences
  • Australia’s refusal to end new fossil fuel approvals and subsidies, including Woodside’s Burrup Hub — Australia’s biggest fossil fuel threat
  • The Australia-pacific relationship, COP31 bid and Australia’s responsibility to the Pacific region 
  • Climate finance and Loss & Damage