Rebecca Handfield’s 5 key takeaways from COP28


By Rebecca Handfield

Vice President of Marketing & Public RelationsBrainBox AI


The COP28 climate conference in Dubai has ended and, while we saw progress in areas like shifting away from fossil fuels, tackling methane emissions, and addressing cooling emissions, the world still has a long way to go. I was lucky enough to have a front-row seat at the conference. Here are my five key takeaways. 


1. Climate action is urgent

The resounding sentiment throughout COP28 was that our climate’s situation is urgent – and so is the need for action. We no longer have the leisure to rely solely on conventional methods. Instead, the current state of our planet demands bold, innovative approaches. Additionally, although effective decarbonization requires taking risks and adopting strategies that may seem radical, these moves are necessary to help curb climate change.  


2. Collaboration is key – and we’re on a roll 

Cooperation across countries and sectors is vital for the rapid reduction of emissions. That’s why the commitment of the US and Canada (as well as major organizations) to the Global Methane Pledge and the Global Cooling Pledge is particularly heartening, setting a precedent for other nations to follow suit. 

The more nations and organizations (big and small) come together to lower their carbon footprints, the greater our capacity for fostering innovation and creating a synergy of expertise and resources – making the daunting task of large-scale decarbonization a more achievable and inspiring global action.  


3. Quebec and Canada are making good headway

Quebec and Canada are deeply committed to combating climate change, leveraging their resources and expertise to drive significant change, particularly through advancements in greentech and cleantech. Indeed, Quebec is renowned for its leadership in hydroelectric power and, as a whole, Canada is on track to achieving its interim climate target.

What’s more, Quebec and Canada actively support research and development in sustainable technologies - and have implemented numerous strategies to reduce carbon emissions. These include the 2022-2027 Québec Research and Innovation Investment Strategy and the National Research Council of Canada's 2023-2027 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy - commitments that reflect our understanding of the critical role of environmental innovation and sustainable technology development.  


4. We need to focus on buildings and energy efficiency

Certainly, buildings are becoming more energy-efficient, but to align with global climate goals, we still require a further 15% improvement. This challenge is compounded by the fact that building space is projected to double by 2060, increasing the demand for energy-efficient solutions - something the newly-unveiled Buildings Breakthrough aims to address.  

Moreover, although investment in the real estate sector is on the rise, there's still a substantial need for increased funding to be channelled towards energy solutions – particularly data and AI - to meet the necessary targets.  

Another area that received considerable attention was HVAC systems, especially district and passive cooling technologies. This highlights the role of heating and cooling in the broader strategy for energy efficiency and climate action. 


5.  We’ve come far, but we have a long way to go, but

 Once again, the COP summit has emphasized that, while significant strides have been made (as seen in increased commitments, action, and adoption from countries and organizations) the journey ahead is still long and complex - and the challenge of improving energy efficiency in the world’s rapidly expanding building spaces underscores the need for continued innovation and investment. 

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