(L-R) Dr Andrew Ferrone, Head of Luxembourg's IPCC delegation; Dr Claudia Hitaj, advisor to Luxembourg's Environment Ministry; Tobi Oladiran, doctorate researcher at Uni.lu; Anne-Marie McHugh, moderator; Credit: Steve Eastwood

On the evening of Wednesday 15 November 2023, the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg's (BCC) Sustainability Group held a "COP28 Warm-Up" event, in collaboration with St George's International School in Luxembourg-Hamm.

The findings of a recent report on climate change set the tone for this event, which featured guest speakers Dr Andrew Ferrone, Dr Claudia Hitaj and Tobi Oladiran.

Dr Andrew Ferrone, who leads Luxembourg's delegation on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and heads the Meteorological Department at ASTA, presented the key findings of the IPPC's Sixth Assessment Report, which concludes that "there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5C to ensure a liveable and sustainable future for all". Dr Ferrone highlighted the immediate effects of climate change, presented projected changes in decades to come and discussed the benefits of reducing global emissions. "COP28 presents a unique opportunity for a fundamental course correction at the global level in the common flight against climate change," he said. 

The event also included a panel discussion on the outcomes that are deemed necessary from the United Nations conference in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December 2023 for urgent action on climate change to be delivered. 

Joining Dr Ferrone on the panel were Dr Claudia Hitaj, advisor at Luxembourg's Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, who highlighted human rights and the engagement of civil society, and Tobi Oladiran, doctorate researcher for sustainable finance at the University of Luxembourg, who addressed planning for the Loss and Damage Fund created after COP27. 

St George's Sustainability Coordinator Anne-Marie McHugh said the well-attended event gave the audience much to think about: "2023 looks likely to be the hottest year on record. Global boiling is here, but we have the power to make a difference. The IPCC report taught us that behaviour change can dramatically reduce global emissions by 40-50%. Our students were reminded of how they can have a voice at COP28."

Sarah Battey, BCC Vice-Chair and Chair of the BCC Sustainability Working Group, said it was important for the organisation to be part of such events: "As a business chamber we have a clear responsibility to raise awareness and help our members progress in all areas of sustainability. This event was a fantastic opportunity to highlight environmental issues and show how businesses and individuals across all generations can do their part."

At the end of the evening, a collection of postcards designed by St George's students and containing their messages of hope for the future was presented to Dr Hitaj to pass on to policy-makers at COP28.