This week, world leaders, diplomats, climate activists, journalists, and fossil fuel executives will meet in Dubai for the United Nations’ annual Climate Change Conference. While many discussions will build on last year’s COP, where nations agreed to fund loss and damage from climate change, another focus will be on who is sidelined from the discussions.

The United Arab Emirates has reportedly hired an army of public relations experts to help manage its reputation during the two-week event and to keep international attention away from its crackdown on civic space. Meanwhile, some of the world’s largest democracies, including governments that have traditionally championed human rights, lack a clear vision for protecting civic space in the climate talks, even though Indigenous communities, social justice movements, and human rights defenders are at the forefront of fighting climate change.

Joining the show to discuss the role of civil society at COP 28 is Kirk Herbertson. Kirk is a Senior Policy Advisor at EarthRights International, a nonprofit organization that “combines the power of law with the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment.”

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