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Richard Beardsworth

Job title:

Professor of International Politics and Head of School, Politics and International Studies

Area of work:

I work on climate leadership within the UNFCCC processes with particular regard to leading on the energy transition (both domestically and internationally).

What will you be doing at COP28?

I am the head of the University of Leeds COP28 delegation. I will attend most of the COP28 presidency sessions of the conference, focusing on:

  1. Pledges on energy, particularly what management is offered of the phasing up of renewables and the phasing down of fossil fuels;
  2. Finance, for the energy transition in general, for mitigation and adaptation support for developing countries, loss and damage, and international finance reform;
  3. Youth and education.

I will give broad political analysis of the struggles, momentum and outcomes of COP28 in the context of the energy transition and current geopolitics.

I will also offer a point of contact for the University of Leeds delegates and, where possible, I will aim to bring people together during their time at COP28 in order to help identify the University of Leeds delegation at COP and between COP and the University.

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

The big issue will be how countries and other stakeholders respond to the “Global Stocktake”, the first of which, since the Paris Agreement, is concluded in Dubai. The stocktake is in essence a check on climate action since the Paris Agreement. Its advanced report (published in September) makes clear that “systems transformation” across all sectors is required to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. Managing the energy transition to renewables is therefore at the heart of both mitigation and low-emissions development strategies. Hosted in the UAE, this will be a very interesting and important political struggle among and between developed and developing countries. A good outcome is very uncertain, but a lot can happen during the conference.

What’s your message for world leaders at COP28?

Always have in mind the remaining carbon budget and aim to schedule the phase-down (and eventual phase-out) of all fossil fuels.

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

The podcast Outrage and Optimism, led by former COP21 President, Christiana Figueres, is an excellent place to go for up-to-date analysis of international climate action.


You can find an in depth interview with Richard on the School of Politics and International Studies website.