ThinkHouse Foundations - COP28: What to expect

48 minute read
13 December 2023

ThinkHouse Foundations held a webinar on 7 December 2023 during COP28, the annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which took place in Dubai between Thursday 30 November and Tuesday 12 December. Our panel featured international environmental law experts who discussed what COP28 is all about, what is expected to result from the two-week conference and what this means for your organisation.

From a business perspective, some of the key thematic issues covered in this year's conference programme included: trade, finance, gender equality, biodiversity and youth, education and skills. Our environmental, social and governance (ESG) experts explored these themes as part of a short video series ahead of COP28, sharing their views on some of the expected talking points this year and reflecting on the outcomes from COP27. In this webinar, held mid-way through this year's conference, we discussed the headline topics in more detail and some of the key considerations for businesses.

Our panel was moderated by Nick Harding, co-chair of ThinkHouse Foundations and an environmental lawyer based in Gowling WLG's London office. Nick provides clients with advice on environmental regulatory matters, such as waste management, environmental permits, greenhouse gas emissions and contaminated land issues, as well as providing environmental transactional support to the firm's corporate, real estate and projects teams. Nick is also an active participant in the firm's ESG team and regularly advises clients in relation to corporate reporting, sustainability and biodiversity issues.

Nick was joined by our three expert panellists:

Graham Reeder is an environmental lawyer based in Gowling WLG's Toronto office. Prior to law school, Graham worked with local communities to adapt to climate change in Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Maldives after graduating from the College of the Atlantic with a Bachelor in Human Ecology. Graham completed his Master of Environmental Studies at York University and was also involved in the Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Isabella Parkes is a paralegal in Gowling WLG's international Projects & Infrastructure team, based in the firm's Dubai office. Isabella prepares proposals for power, water and infrastructure sector bids in the Middle East and Africa region and assists with the drafting of project and financing agreements for large-scale renewable energy, desalination and general construction projects. As part of her Bachelor's degree in Globalisation: History, Politics and Culture, Isabella conducted an independent study into the sustainability of Dubai and the importance of renewable energy in greening the economy. Before university, Isabella worked in the environmental sector as a team project manager for Emirates Marine Environment Group, translocating millions of corals in preparation for the construction of the Barakh Nuclear Energy Plant in Abu Dhabi. Isabella is currently studying for the Standard Qualifying Exam in the UK and is due to qualify as a solicitor in 2024.

Maram T. Salaheldin is an environmental lawyer based in the Washington DC office of US law firm Clark Hill. Maram counsels clients on environmental, health, safety and sustainability risks and liabilities related to the lifecycle of their operations and products, including compliance and permitting requirements, with an emphasis on periods of change. Maram also helps clients navigate potential impacts of international laws, such as EU REACH, RoHS and CSRD). She also assists clients in assessing and managing risks under certain ESG topics, including those related to environmental and sustainability claims and environmental justice. Mara helped establish and co-leads Clark Hill's ESG & Sustainability advisory practice.

For more insight on developments around COP28, take a look at our LoupedIn blog which features posts from our ESG team from across the two-week conference:

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