The latest round of international climate talks are set to begin at Cop28, with observers around the world hoping that countries will advance progress on reducing emissions and stopping dangerous levels of global warming.

Hosted in Dubai, the UN’s Conference of the Parties will see world leaders and their delegations gather in the Middle Eastern city to try accelerate climate action – though many campaigners have voiced their scepticism because of its location.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the world’s chief oil exporters and there have been recent allegations that the country was planning to use the conference to make commercial oil and gas deals with other countries.

Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that climate chaos will continue wrecking lives if the talks are not successful (Jane Barlow/PA)

Cop28’s president Sultan al-Jaber, who is also CEO of UAE’s national oil company Adnoc, has denied this.

Countries have been meeting through various Cops for nearly 30 years and while there has been some progress on climate action to reduce emissions and grow clean energy networks, experts have said much more needs to be done to avert total climate disaster.

The King is attending the summit and is set to address the conference later in the week.

On Thursday he is expected to meet with dignitaries as well as students working on clean energy technology.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron is also expected to join the King in Dubai for a number of events on Thursday.

The summit was also due to be attended by Pope Francis, but his trip was cancelled on Tuesday due to ill health.

In the Paris Agreement in 2015, countries agreed to limit the average global temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels and make every effort to stop it rising above 1.5C.

Cop28 is the first time that countries will assess progress towards this goal in what is being called the Global Stocktake.

It is unlikely to be positive given the UN has the Earth on track for a catastrophic 3C increase by the end of the century under the emissions reduction policies currently in place.

The UN wants countries to rectify this policy gap and rapidly reduce fossil fuel use – the main cause of the rising emissions.

Also on the table will be rich countries’ committed obligation to provide billions of dollars in funding to developing countries to help them adapt to the climate chaos they are already experiencing due to the carbon consumption of the developed world.

The funding is also supposed to go towards helping economies develop through clean energy instead of oil and gas and there will be pressure on countries such as China and India to rein in their use of dirtier sources of power like coal to reverse their increasing emissions.

Meanwhile WH Smith, DHL, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners and Virgin Media O2 have joined more than 200 businesses to call for an international agreement to phase out all fossil fuels at Cop28.

The companies are among the most recent to sign an open letter urging world leaders to agree a timeline to ditch unabated fossil fuels at the summit.

It is thought to be the first time such a large group of companies have come together to urge governments to move away from fossil fuels.