Claims that the United Arab Emirates is using its role as host of the COP28 talks as a forum for preparing oil and gas deals, plus the unrelated but disappointing news that US president Joe Biden will not be travelling to Dubai for the event, made for a rocky run-up to the UN climate summit's kick-off on Thursday.

The previous so-called Conference of the Parties, COP27, held one year-ago in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, ended without any commitments on phasing out fossil fuels and failed to tackle the growing gap in perspectives between developing and undeveloped or “global south” nations, effectively passing the buck to COP28.