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Catriona Flesher

Job title:

PhD researcher

Area of work:

My PhD research focuses on loss and damage. I will be analysing the political and legal developments at COP28.

What are the big issues that COP28 needs to address? What are your hopes for the negotiations?

Following the first Global Stocktake (GST), there is an urgent need to highlight the countries’ ongoing failure to design policies fit for 1.5C, and commit to new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and wider policy changes, which will facilitate meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals. The GST, and failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which it reveals, needs to be a prompt for action. The UN Climate Change Executive Secretary called for ‘dramatic course correction’ at COP28.
On Loss and Damage (L&D), paths to operationalising the commitments of COP27 need to be identified; this will include agreements regarding liability and responsibility for funding the L&D mechanism, and eligibility to claim from it. L&D is a politically contentious issue, on which developed nations remain concerned regarding their liability.
I hope the COP28 negotiations give visibility to the issues emphasised by climate-vulnerable countries in the Global South. Rather than just a talking shop, COP28 should also be a global moment in which delivery plans to address these issues are established.

What’s your message for world leaders at COP28?

Listen to the demands of civil society, and listen to the demands of those most impacted by climate change.

Do you have any tips about climate action that you can share?

Even for people working in climate policy, the detail surrounding climate conferences can be dense. Look for summaries from organisations like Carbon Brief and ClimaTalk, as well as from within University of Leeds institutions like the Priestley Centre.