With an event the scale of COP28, you might imagine a slow and ponderous first few days. The truth has been rather different. World leaders, NGOs, businesses, indigenous population representatives and civil society activists have come to Dubai in their hordes. Announcements are already coming thick and fast.
During his opening address, King Charles III, warned that the world was “dreadfully far off track” in addressing climate change. This is borne out by the figures from the first Global Stock Take since the Paris Agreement in 2015. These show significant under-performance against targets required to keep global warming to 1.5C or less.
But in the first few days, some very significant progress has been made. We are highlighting here just three of the most significant announcements so far.
King Charles III makes his opening address at COP28. Photo by COP28.
Loss and Damage Fund
A key deal to support the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries to pay for the impacts of climate disaster was agreed on the first day of the COP28 UN summit.
“What was promised in Sharm El Sheikh, has already been delivered in Dubai,” Dr. Al Jaber said. “The speed at which the world came together to get this Fund operationalized within one year since Parties agreed to it in Sharm El Sheikh is unprecedented”.
The Heads of State head into the formal sessions of COP28. Photo by COP28 / Anthony Fleyhan.
The UAE will commit $100 million to the Fund, paving the way for other nations to make pledges to the critically important Fund.
The UAE has also established ALTÉRRA, the world’s largest private climate investment vehicle, and announced a $30 billion commitment, with the aim of mobilizing $250 billion of private-sector investment by 2030. ALTÉRRA will combine private and public capital to channel large-scale investment into climate solutions globally, including the Global South.
The UAE has also committed an additional $200 million of Special Drawing Rights to the IMF Resilience and Sustainability Trust to support climate resilience in developing countries. It follows a $4.5 billion commitment for clean energy projects in Africa earlier in the year.
Dr Al Jaber addressing the conference. Photo by COP28 / Kiara Worth.
Renewable energy commitment
118 governments pledged to triple the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2030 at the U.N.’s COP28 climate summit on Saturday, as a route to cut the share of fossil fuels in the world’s energy production.
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President of the COP28, has been advocating for oil and gas companies to speed up climate action within the industry. Nearly 50 oil and gas companies have signed the Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter, an initiative driven by Dr Al-Jaber to cut operational emissions by 2050.
The Nature Session at Al Waha Theatre December 2, 2023. Photo by COP28 / Stuart Wilson.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, responsible for significant warming. And there has been some positive news coming out of the conference here too.
The US administration on Saturday also unveiled final rules aimed at cracking down on U.S. oil and gas industry releases of methane, part of a global plan to rein in emissions that contribute to climate change.
Meanwhile, several governments, philanthropic organisations and the private sector said they have mobilised $1 billion in grants to support countries’ efforts to tackle the potent gas.
A message of encouragement from the COP28 organisers. Photo COP28.