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News Jan 26, 2024

Our COP28 Insights and What It Means for the 2024 Climate Agenda

Learn insights from some of #OurJacobs teammates who attended COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Sam Ebner - Associate Director, Intelligent Transformation

Samantha Ebner

Being at COP28 gave me the opportunity to understand how laws and policy are written. It really widened my knowledge of the food, water, climate nexus and introduced me to the number of public entities working together to drive real change on a country or multilateral level. I was also inspired by the wonderful, dynamic group of startups and entrepreneurs represented from the United Arab Emirates.

The outcomes of COP28 were huge. The pledges and their corresponding funds are nothing like we’ve seen before. Many have seen the changes to fossil fuels as a softening, and it was disappointing that the strength of conviction was not stronger.

Regenerative farming was an eye-opening topic for me, and I found the nexus of food, water and climate fascinating. This topic is so integral from an environmental aspect, with benefits including soil health, biodiversity gain, reduced deforestation, reduced heat island affects, animal welfare and more. It also has so many health and social impacts, including multi-crop farms for resilience, avoiding synthetic chemicals impacts on the health of workers, consumers, water bodies and wider ecosystems, community building and resilience, flood and drought resilience and local economy support, among others. 

Overall, I found COP28 an incredible event with real changes coming in the form of intergovernmental pledges, and through the launch of many new frameworks, partnerships and services. Now we need to continue the momentum and inspire everyone we know to continue the journey through their personal lives and work.

What will 2024 hold?

This year a big shift is needed across the Middle East region, where sustainability is more on the agenda that ever. But the focus is still on a narrow portfolio of elements. It’s not possible to design everything at the beginning of a project, but we need to embed and encourage longer-term implementation into the operational phases of the built environment. Biodiversity and water should also appear more heavily on the agenda! 

We need to make climate change and sustainability core to our mindset so it impacts every decision and the right thing is done.  

Dr. Nino Kharaishvili – Global Health Director, Health Systems Governance

Nino Kharaishvili headshot

COP28 was a milestone for the health and climate dialogue.

This was the first COP where a dedicated day was given to global health. Its relationship with climate was elevated and finally got its deserved spotlight. It was momentous to be there and part of the dialogue at the various forums Jacobs’ health market participated in.

I liked the continued emphasis on how we can all integrate our voices and opinions into the dialogue. In future COPs I would love to see health integration become even more prominent.

What will 2024 hold?

From a health market perspective, we have big plans for 2024. We’ll be participating in several upcoming climate and health events, showcasing our work and solutions and more importantly, sharing lessons learned with the wider industry. Increasingly we need to lean into adaptation solutions, as well as mitigation options

Chris Allen - Global Principal for Regenerative and Nature-based Solutions

Chris Allen

I don't know exactly what I expected, but for something on this scale, COP28 was so well organized. It was heartening just to be part of the milieu of people passionate about solving major world problems. It was amazing to see school children and young people getting exposed to sustainability - I would have loved to see something like this when I was eight years old!

One of the biggest outcomes was the elevation of nature, biodiversity and solving land degradation problems. To date most of the conversation has been focused on emissions reduction so this was a real breakthrough for those of us working in the nature positive field. For years we’ve been arguing that we can't ignore biodiversity and natural systems in climate action.

What will 2024 hold?

I don't think 2024 is going to be a breakthrough year, but I think it'll continue building on recent momentum.

The discussions at COP28 on biodiversity and land degradation have the opportunity to really open the floodgates for investment in 2024. I expect there’ll be a lot of action around green infrastructure and how that can impact climate action.  

There’s also a huge market in nature tech opening up, focused on nature-based climate action. A lot is going to happen in this space, focused particularly on high quality data, data science, data management, measurement, reporting and verification. I think that's going to eventually lead to a biodiversity credits market, much like the carbon credits market. That will create some new synergies and types of investments in the space, which will be heartening to see