Trinity students and staff attend COP28

Posted on: 29 November 2023

The 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is taking place for the next two weeks in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). This year, Trinity has gained observer status which means representatives access seminars, panels and networking opportunities, but not the negotiations.

Trinity Sustainability applied for the observer status and as a result, received two in-person tickets and seven virtual tickets which were allocated to interested staff and students through an application process. It is an opportunity to share what we are doing in Trinity, learn from others and build collaboration and partnership between universities to demonstrate leadership and focus attention on meaningful climate action. 

Attendees Johnny Dabrowski, David Byrne, Jenny Salmon and Assoc Prof Quentin Crowley

The aim of the meeting is to build on the work undertaken over two decades and to take stock of the progress, or lack thereof, on the Paris Agreement which was adopted by 196 “parties”, or countries, in 2015. The Paris Agreement sets a globally agreed goal to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century. This means that all greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 and decline by 43% by 2029.

The window to take meaningful action to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions is rapidly closing, therefore COP28 is an important global event which should refocus attention on the key areas of work that are still required. COP28 comes at a time of great global uncertainty with greenhouse gas emissions reaching a record high in 2022 with “no end in sight to the rising trend”, the World Meteorological Organization said in a report published this month. 

There is controversy surrounding the event, primarily due to the UAE hosting the meeting. The UAE is one of the top ten oil producing countries in the world and it has appointed the chief executive of the state-owned oil company, Sultan al-Jaber as president of the talks.  There are some deep divisions surrounding this meeting, however the UAE claims that they have made extensive commitments to reaching Net Zero by 2050.

Progress to align commitments with action will be examined as part of this meeting through the first Global Stocktake (GST). The GST will provide a comprehensive assessment of progress since adopting the Paris Agreement. This will help align the efforts on climate action, including measures that need to be put in place to bridge the gaps in progress. Hopefully this will be a transparent assessment and will pressurise governments to act by investing in climate mitigation, adaptation and a just transition.

Attending from Trinity:

In person

Quentin Crowley, Associate Professor in Geology, School of Natural Sciences

David Byrne, Director of Accreditation and Quality Assurance, Trinity Business School

Johnny Dabrowski, first year Geography & Political Science student. Jan is representing

Jenny Salmon, fourth year Law student, Climate Youth Delegate representing Ireland.  Jenny is speaking about Trinity’s biodiversity actions on a panel titled ‘Nature Positive Universities’


Elizabeth Rymut, Postgraduate student, Natural Sciences

Ms Tooba Nadeem Akhtar, PhD student, School of Psychology

Xandru Cassar, Postgraduate student, Department of Geography

Aaron Coyle, PhD student, Environmental Engineering

Zara-Grace Hussey, Postgraduate student, Natural Sciences

Mikhail Vaganov,  Postgraduate student, Mechanical Engineering

Anne Kearns (staff), Researcher, School of Education

Those in attendance will share what they have learned with the college community upon their return. To find out more information about COP28 visit the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website here.

Media Contact:

Katie Byrne | Public Affairs and Communications | | +353 1 896 4168