Event Detail


How bad is the Climate Change ‘problem’ What did the December 2023 COP28 achieve?

Robert Gibson and Natalie Chung
Wednesday, 17 Jan 2024
Complimentary Free-Flow Drinks from 6:45 pm; Talk at 7:30 pm
The HK Management Association, 14/F, Fairmont House, 8 Cotton Tree Drive, Central

Robert Gibson and Natalie Chung attended the COP28 Climate Conference in Dubai this
December and give a fascinating update on:

  • How climate is changing relative to expectations?
  • What actually happened at COP28, the first to be held in a petro-state?
  • How good a result was COP28’s ‘UAE Consensus’ outcome – was there any real progress, especially given that several new coal-fired power stations were announced or even went ahead shortly following the conference?
  • What needs to happen in 2024 when the Climate Conference will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan and in 2025 in Brazil?

In accordance with the Paris Agreement, COP28 reviewed the Global Stocktake, comparing action to decarbonise with what is needed to keep temperature increase below 2°C while aiming for 1.5°C.

In 2025 countries must submit revised ‘National Determined Contributions’ to eliminate the shortfall found. The shortfall is so large that it is now widely accepted that substantial investment must be made in removing Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere. McKinsey published a report estimating this is likely to cost up to US$16 trillion between now and 2050.

Other issues included financial support to help less developed countries decarbonise more rapidly and support for least developed countries suffering loss & damage due to climate change. Besides the formal negotiations, the 80,000+ attendees held innumerable ‘side-events’ to exchange ideas on problems and possible solutions.

Robert Gibson is a Fellow of the Civic Exchange think-tank, an Adjunct Professor at HKUST and Chair of the Sustainability Committee of the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs. He has a degree in Engineering Science & Economics from the University of Oxford and worked for the Swire Group from 1980 to 2010. His last position with Swire was as its Director Sustainable Development, in which capacity he attended COP15 in Copenhagen. He works on mechanisms for accelerate getting to net zero carbon emissions and adapting to climate change. He has attended 11 UN Climate COP Conferences.

Natalie Chung Sum Yue is the Sustainability Lead at Dairy Farm International Retail Group. She received her undergraduate degree from Chinese University of Hong Kong and wrote her MPhil at the University of Oxford. She is a sustainability researcher and entrepreneur recognised as one of the most impactful youth climate leaders driving change in Asia. Inspired by a polar explorer when young, Natalie co-founded “V’air” to reinvent sustainability education and has gained multinational exposure through Kadoorie Conservation China, the World Bank, WWF, and the UN COP25 & COP28 Conferences.

Members of the RGS-HK, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$200 for RGS Members and HK$250 for guests and others, including free-flow drinks.


The opinions expressed in this talk are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of the Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong.

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