UN climate talks open in Dubai with call to restore faith in multilateralism

Dubai, Nov 30 (IANS): The two-week-long UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), which is expected to see a gathering of over 160 world leaders, commenced on Thursday in Dubai with Sultan Al Jaber officially assuming the role its President in a ceremony to mark the official transfer of the role from his predecessor, Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry.

“The science has spoken,” Al Jaber told delegates. “It has confirmed the moment is now to find a new road, a road wide enough for all of us, free of the obstacles and detours of the past. That new road starts with a decision on the Global Stocktake, a decision that is ambitious, corrects course and accelerates action to 2030,” he said.

Kicking off two weeks of intense climate negotiations, Al Jaber used his first official speech as COP President to issue a rallying call to delegates to unite around the agenda and restore faith in multilateralism.

“I pledge that I will run an inclusive and transparent process, one that encourages free and open discussion between all parties,” Al Jaber said.

He told delegates that the UAE reflects the spirit needed at this COP.

“We may be a young nation -- but we have big ambitions, and hold fast to principles like collaboration, optimism, true partnership, determination and commitment. These are the ingredients that make up the DNA of the UAE. And it’s these core values of trust, purpose, partnership and pragmatism that I believe must define COP28,” he said.

In his address, Al Jaber reiterated calls to bridge the global adaptation finance gap, and urged parties to deliver on the promise of a fully operational Loss and Damage fund.

“Let’s put nature, lives, and livelihoods at the core of our national plans. Let’s finally face the issues that are critical to adaptation, like water, food, agriculture, and health,” he said, adding that COP28 will be the first to host a climate health ministerial.

“This Presidency is committed to unlocking finance to ensure that the Global South does not have to choose between development and climate action,” he said.

Al Jaber also noted the importance of decarbonising the existing energy system. “Let history reflect the fact that this is the Presidency that made a bold choice to proactively engage with oil and gas companies. We had many discussions. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. But now, many of these companies are committing to zeroing out methane emissions by 2030 for the first time. And many national oil companies have adopted net zero 2050 targets for the first time,” he said.

Al Jaber also called for consensus around a framework for the future energy system. “I know there are strong views about the idea of including language on fossil fuels and renewables in the negotiated text. We have the power to do something unprecedented. I ask you to work together,” he urged delegates.

“Be flexible, find common ground, come forward with solutions, and achieve consensus. And never lose sight of our North Star of 1.5,” he said.

COP28 officially runs from November 30 to December 12 and the COP28 Presidency is determined to do all it can to enable world leaders to deliver a successful decision in response to the Global Stocktake, meeting the challenge of keeping 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach with the highest levels of ambition.

This year’s COP marks the conclusion of the Global Stocktake, the first assessment of global progress in implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement. The findings are stark: The world is not on track to limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. It does recognise that countries are developing plans for a net-zero future, and the shift to clean energy is gathering speed, but it makes clear that the transition is nowhere near fast enough yet to limit warming within the current ambitions.

A report recently published by UN Climate Change shows that national climate action plans (known as nationally determined contributions, or ‘NDCs’) would collectively lower greenhouse gas emissions to two per cent below 2019 levels by 2030, while the science is clear that a 43 per cent reduction is needed.

The Global Stocktake must be a catalyst for greater ambition in meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals as nations prepare to submit revised national climate action plans by 2025. It lays out actions on how to accelerate emissions cuts, strengthen resilience to climate impacts, and provide the support and finance needed for the transformation.




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Title: UN climate talks open in Dubai with call to restore faith in multilateralism

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