9th December - Day of Action during COP28
The annual summit of all the countries which are part of the UN’s climate change treaty is known as the COP (Conference of Parties). The '28' in 'COP28' means that this will be the 28th such event. Many climate campaigners were not even born when this process started.
Yet after almost three decades global emissions are still increasing, even as temperatures rise and the impacts of climate breakdown multiply across all continents, hitting worst those who have done least to cause the problem.
From 30 Nov to 12 Dec, this year's summit will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates, a country planning a massive expansion of oil and gas production, and with no record of respecting human rights. It will be presided over by Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, head of their national oil company.
The global day of action will be on Saturday 9 December.
Why is it important?
Important decisions will be taken at COP28:
About money: So far, climate finance from rich countries to the most vulnerable has not just been delayed, it has mostly been delivered as loans, adding to countries' debt burden. At COP27, after decades of blocking by rich nations, a loss-and-damage fund to support victims of climate disasters was agreed. But where will the money come from and who will control the fund? The US and their allies are arguing for it to be set up under the World Bank - undemocratic and dominated by the US, rather than under UN governance.
About rules: As well as legitimate emissions reductions, there are negotiations about the role of carbon markets, trading 'carbon credits' with the potential for huge profits to be made off the back of a system riddled with loopholes, evading real emissions cuts.
About ambition: The language agreed at UN summits is symbolic but significant - can a phase-out of all fossil fuels be named as the solution to the climate crisis? This means not just 'unabated fossil fuels', which leaves a loophole for carbon capture and storage greenwashing of fossil fuel developments. It means including oil and gas, not just coal.
With the negotiations so thoroughly taken over by fossil fuel interests, and lack of trust between no one is expecting the breakthrough and urgency that we need. But climate activists and trade unionists around the world must stand with those demanding climate justice.
What can we do?
Climate action is not delivered in negotiating rooms, by speeches or by setting distant targets, but by practical action. In the two years since the UK hosted COP26, the government has veered away from meeting its own climate targets. Rishi Sunak declared the UK should drain 'every last drop of oil' from the North Sea, rolled back climate policies and even allowed planning permission for a new coal mine.
This hypocrisy is a double blow to climate action - not just the direct harm from UK emissions, but also the signal it gives to the rest of the world reinforcing the message that rich nations cannot be trusted, and undermining collective climate action.
With climate disasters and record temperatures in the headlines, the general public are increasingly aware of the threat of climate breakdown, and also that our current energy system is broken, with ordinary people paying the price while oil giants net billions in profits.
But those lobbying against climate action are still powerful, telling those who are concerned about day-to-day struggles that cutting emissions is too expensive, that climate breakdown is a niche middle-class concern. We even hear trade union leaders echoing these talking points.
So now more than ever, we need to come together with a clear message. We have to move away from fossil fuels urgently, and this can benefit us all, building infrastructure like public transport, clean energy and warm homes rather than funnelling profits to corporations. We need to broaden and strengthen our movement. The Campaign against Climate Change is working with the Climate Justice Coalition to organise for the Global Day of Action on Saturday 9 December.
More updates, information and resources in the coming days and weeks to help local groups organise activities appropriate to capacity and the time of year. This will include a leaflet aimed at the general public which could be used on a protest and in outreach activities.