Notes from COP28

January 2, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Dubai, UAE—

If you have followed the coverage of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, commonly known as COP28, you probably have figured out that it’s a bit of a three-ring circus: part diplomatic summit, part industry meeting, and part Comic-Con.

The pedestrian avenues of Expo City Dubai unfurl in a flower-like shape and require sustained situational awareness. Look down at your phone for a moment, and you are just as likely to run into the security detail for a head of state as you are a group of indigenous tribe members sporting full face paint and ceremonial regalia. However, once you get over the surreality of the place, it begins to make sense.

Traditionally, COPs are divided into two areas. The inner Blue Zone, managed by the UN, is where country delegations meet to finalize and present their “gift baskets” of voluntary carbon emission reductions, while so-called observer organizations (including the American Nuclear Society) hover at the edges, hoping to get a glimpse of the progress.