COP28 to unite divided world in climate action, says UAE minister

He stresses on keeping alive goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Tue 2 May 2023, 6:16 PM

Determined to “unite a divided world”, COP28 UAE President Designate Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber has urged developed countries to meet a $100 billion annual financing target to support vulnerable nations affected by the impact of climate change and tackle the crisis.

Speaking at the 14th Petersberg Climate Dialogue, co-hosted by Germany and the UAE in Berlin, Dr Al Jaber noted that for the past three months, he and his team have been on a “listening tour” hearing views and ideas from the Global South, major economies, indigenous people, NGOs, civil society, the business community and youth.

“Expectations are very high and trust is very low. Developing countries are still waiting for the $100 billion promised by developed nations 14 years ago. This is holding up progress. And as part of my outreach, I am requesting donor countries to provide a definitive assessment on the delivery of this commitment before COP28. It is vital to the political credibility of the UNFCCC process, that donors step up to this long overdue obligation ahead of COP28, especially as the real value of this commitment has eroded over time,” Dr Al Jaber underlined his expectations before the 28th session of the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties in the UAE (COP28 UAE).

The Emirati minister stressed on keeping alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees – a target adopted in COP21 Paris way back in 2015 but never met.

“We have just passed the seven-year mark since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, with just seven years to go to 2030. There are seven years to reduce emissions by 43 per cent and keep the ambitions and objectives of the Paris Agreement alive.”

Dr Al Jaber reminded that COP28 will for the first time see a ‘global stocktake’ – an assessment of progress made on set goals since the Paris Agreement.

“The most recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report has already made it crystal clear that we are all way off track. This is a moment of clarity that we must all face with total honesty.”

Collective effort, responsibility

The UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology made an impassioned plea for collective responsibility and action, and coming to terms with realities.

“It is our collective responsibility. And this responsibility requires our honesty and our collective effort.

We can only succeed through genuine and true partnership, through real collaboration and shared purpose.”

Dr Al Jaber noted that the world is left with no choice but to unite to meet the climate goals.

“We must accelerate cross sectoral progress on mitigation. We must ensure countries have the resources and plans in place to adapt to climate impacts. And we must supercharge climate finance, making it more available, more accessible, and more affordable finance to drive delivery across every climate pillar. While doing all of this, we need to ensure a just and equitable transition that leaves no one behind.”

Dr Al Jaber said that as COP28 President, he would ensure a “fair, inclusive and transparent” presidency providing space for all parties to reach consensus across the agenda.

“The negotiations will give space for all parties to discuss, debate and agree on the role of all sources of energy.”

The ADNOC CEO highlighted the need to phase out fossil fuel emissions while focusing on viable and affordable zero carbon alternatives.

“This is the approach we have been taking in the UAE for more than 20 years, where we have embraced in practice the energy transition, we know that the energies used today will continue to be part of the global energy mix for the foreseeable future.”

COP for all with tangible solutions

Dr Al Jaber said that COP28 will provide tangible solutions to help people adapt to climate change, and manage growing climate impacts.

“We must aim to make COP28 be remembered for uniting everyone into action. Together, let’s deliver a COP of unity, solidarity and impact. A COP of action and a COP for all. And let’s unite a divided world, for the planet, for our people and for lasting sustainable development. The world demands transformational progress. And the world needs transformational action,” he told participants including Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28 UAE.

The Berlin event is bringing ministers and climate experts from more than 40 countries to discuss future steps towards achieving climate goals.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock noted that COP28 with the global stocktake will offer an opportunity to review where the world was with regard to implementing the climate targets defined as per the Paris Agreement.

“Dear Dr Sultan Al Jaber, I am pleased that among the objectives you have set for your current presidency, you’ve also set the target to define a clear roadmap allowing us to keep 1.5 degrees within reach. We will do everything we can in order to support you in achieving this endeavour, and ensuring that COP28 becomes a success in that regard,” she said while highlighting the need for concrete partnerships to face the “biggest security challenge” of the century.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a video address noted that COP28 will deliver on loss and damage funding – the breakthrough agreement reached at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

“Remember one simple fact addressing loss and damage is about saving lives. Do not allow the historic COP27 agreement to be derailed. On climate we know the truth, please act on it now,” Guterres added.


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