EPIC is proud to partner with UChicago Career Advancement to sponsor a delegation of College, Booth, Harris and Law students to attend the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28).  These exceptional rising leaders traveled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates from December 1-6 where they had the opportunity to learn from and network with leaders in government, industry and NGOs.

Below are their on-the-ground daily diaries from COP28.

Day 1 – December 2, 2023

By: Mohit Jindal

At COP 28, I see a real sense of urgency to cut methane emissions. While major oil majors, representing 50% of the world’s oil production, are committing to eliminating flaring from their operations, the agriculture sector, another major emitter, has been relatively silent. At the Start-Up Village, I had the fortune to engage with leading Breakthrough Energy-funded startups that have figured out how to reduce methane emissions from cows by reducing their burps. For example, Rumin8, a start-up based in Australia, has developed a specific cow feed formula that can cut methane by 80%! Currently, they are applying for approval across multiple countries and hope to build enough proof cases across multiple cow breeds to show the efficacy of their solution.

By: Annie Yang

By: Ellen Ma

Day 2 – December 3, 2023

By: Rohan Mathur

Today’s most intriguing lesson was the role of financial institutions in transitioning to greener technologies be it through creative financial solutions like JET-Ps or driving investment and innovation to scale up nascent energy sources. Witnessing the massive opportunity set that the climate transition presents only reinforced my aspiration to help influence the climate finance ecosystem from within. What I’m enjoying most in Dubai is introducing the vibrant, multicultural aspects of the UAE to my fellow Maroons, sharing diverse perspectives and enriching our collective experience at the summit.

 

By: Alejandro Garcia Cabrera

By: Hannah Rogers

Day 3 – December 4, 2023

By: Satvika Mahajan

Day 4 of the pivotal Conference of Parties brought together decision makers, world leaders, activists, and experts underscoring our collective responsibility towards bridging the $600 billion adaptation financing gap by 2050, a magnitude 10–18 times larger than existing funding levels. The current commitment pool for climate finance stands at $57 billion, with private and blended climate-related funds and vehicles, and high-integrity, voluntary, carbon markets as some of the key mechanisms announced to address the residual gap. At the High-Level Panel on Unlocking High-Integrity Carbon Markets, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry mentioned two of the US’ key carbon initiatives – LEAF (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance) and ETA (Energy Transition Accelerator), and stressed that “perfect should not be the enemy of good, traceable, and accountable” as we implement such crucial initiatives. 

By: Julia Ferreira

By: Ethan Jiang

Day 4 – December 5, 2023

By: Ava Hedeker

One unexpected but positive aspect of attending COP28 was becoming inspired by the sustainability of the host: Expo City. As an aspiring urban planner, it is quite exciting seeing the implementation of a 15-minute city in car-centric Dubai, and seeing firsthand ways that the infrastructure increases the site’s albedo effect (although making it even more sunny). Additionally, through attending an event about the urban planning strategies of Expo City, I was offered the opportunity to be one of the first five tours into the basement of Terra, the Sustainability Pavilion, learning about strategies the Sustainability team takes to help the building reduce water, energy, and waste. 

 

By: Ashton Oh

By: Ramya Polavarapu

Areas of Focus: COP28: Insights & Reflections
Definition
COP28: Insights & Reflections