Reflections on COP28

This event was the first in the Grantham Centre sustainability series in 2024.

Reflections on COP28: Talking the talk or walking the walk?

You can watch the recording of the event here.

On Tuesday 6th February 2024 we held the first event in our sustainability talks series: ‘Reflections on COP28’. We had a great turnout with around 100 people attending in person and around 40 people joining us online!

Our main speaker was Professor Kevin Anderson from the University of Manchester. He was joined by three University of Sheffield COP28 delegatesDr Rob Marchand from Management School, Tom Wood from Department of Civil & Structural Engineering and Lowenna Jones from Department of Politics (who is also a Grantham Scholar).

Kevin Anderson’s talk titled ‘Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will: from Paris to the UK without the denial’

The event explored the gap between the rhetoric and the reality of our Paris Commitments. The talks and subsequent panel discussion gave us a chance to talk about what has been agreed, how realistic these goals are to achieve and what actions the world leaders are (not) taking. From Kevin Anderson’s ‘red pill’ presentation to the University of Sheffield COP28 delegates sharing their experience attending the conference last year, it was a thought provoking and eye opening afternoon with many voices condemning COP for not being effective or even fit for purpose.

According to our COP delegates, there is a massive gap between what was actually negotiated at COP and what the media was showing to the rest of the world. Many of the real deals were being made behind closed doors without admitting the observers to the room to do what they were supposed to do – ‘observing’ and making sure that the negotiations are transparent and inclusive.

One conclusion is clear: We are not doing enough, and we need our leaders to step up and be able to make uncomfortable decisions. Before it’s too late.

The audience responses to the question: ‘What did COP28 achieve?’

Grantham Centre at COP

At the Grantham Centre we send Grantham Scholars to COP every year as official observers for the University of Sheffield. Doing so gives our people an opportunity to see how global climate change policy is made and to meet other sustainability experts.

Find out more about the Grantham Centre at previous COPs.

Further reading

‘Post-COP28 Debrief: Does the agreement go far enough?’ – recording of Oxford Martin School event on 16 January 2024

Kevin Anderson: ‘The current state of the climate crisis’ – interview by CEMUS at Uppsala University:

Climate Uncensored website – provides robust, unflinching commentary and assessment of the scale of the climate challenge and our responses to it.

Recorded discussions of Kevin Anderson with Johan Rockstrom and Greta Thunberg – by Climate Uncensored

A written piece on hydrogen published in the Guardian just before Christmas 2023. ‘Warning: the UK government’s hydrogen plan isn’t green at all, it’s another oil industry swindle’. By Kevin Anderson and Simon Oldridge

A piece on the key role of fairness. ‘A Habitable Earth Can No Longer Afford The Rich – And That Could Mean Me And You’ by Kevin Anderson.

Very short summary of COP28‘Quick Response To The Draft Final Text Of COP28’ by Climate Uncensored