UAE COP28 President-Designate Outlines Plan of Action to Tackle Climate Crisis

UAE COP28 President-Designate Outlines Plan of Action to Tackle Climate Crisis

The plan covers all the main aspects of climate action, based on the 2015 Paris Agreement, now divided into what H.E Dr Al Jaber termed the 'four pillars'

H.E Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President-Designate of COP28, on Thursday released an action plan to accelerate a responsible energy transition, fix climate finance, concentrate on people, lives, and livelihoods in adaptation efforts, and make COP fully inclusive.

He urged nations at this year's UN climate summit to be 'brutally honest' about "the gaps that need to be filled, the root causes and how we got to this place here today".

The plan covers all the main aspects of climate action, based on the 2015 Paris agreement, now divided into what Dr Al Jaber termed the four pillars: fast-tracking the transition to a low-CO2 world; fixing climate finance; focusing on people, lives and livelihoods; and full inclusivity.

Dr Al Jaber said it was time to challenge financial models created for the last century and dismantle silos in industries and governments that impede progress towards a low-carbon economy while speaking at the Ministerial on Climate Action in Brussels, which was organised by the environment ministers of the European Union, Canada, and China.

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Academics and members of civil society mostly praised the COP President's idea. An overview of the action plan:

The 1.5 degrees Celcius goal

The Paris agreement required countries to hold global temperature rises “well below 2C” above pre-industrial levels, while “pursuing efforts” to stay within 1.5C. Since 2015, science has shown that 2C would entail calamitous impacts, so at Cop26 in 2021 governments agreed to focus on the more stringent goal of 1.5C.

Last year, some governments tried to unpick that commitment to 1.5C, so Dr Al Jaber made clear from the outset that his plan was based on the tougher, and safer, goal. “This plan is guided by a single north star, and that is keeping 1.5C within reach,” he told ministers.

Nationally determined contributions

At COP28, governments will conduct for the first time a “global stocktake” that will set out the progress countries have made on the emissions reduction commitments – known as “nationally determined contributions” or NDCs – they made in Paris.

The stocktake is certain to find that the world is way off track to meet its Paris goals, but the Cop presidency has decided against naming and shaming individual countries. Instead, all countries will be required to submit updated NDCs in September, that are sufficiently tough to meet the 1.5 goal.

UAE has submitted a revision to its NDC, with emissions reductions of 40% compared with business as usual. Al Jaber emphasised that this effort would entail “the phase down of fossil fuels”, which he said was “inevitable and essential”.

Energy transition

Commitments to double energy efficiency, triple renewable energy capacity to 11,000GW globally, and double hydrogen production to 180m tonnes a year by 2030 will be put to governments at Cop28, and are expected to be agreed.

GHG emissions

Dr Al Jaber has spearheaded an attempt to bring fossil fuel executives to COP28, arguing that they must have a place at the table, despite the misgivings of many campaigners. He wants to formulate a plan with the world’s biggest oil and gas producers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with 1.5C. If this can be agreed, it would be a major step forward for climate action.

Climate finance

Developing countries are already facing devastation from the impacts of the climate crisis, and they lack the finance to shift their economies to a low-CO2 footing. But the climate finance currently available to them is too little, too hard to access, and skewed towards the richer among them.

He wants to ensure that a longstanding commitment by rich countries to provide US$100 billion a year to poor nations, which was supposed to be met in 2020 but has not yet been achieved, is finally delivered.

Inclusive goals

Dr Al Jaber reassured civil society groups that they would be welcomed at COP28, highlighting the role of Indigenous people, youth and faith-based organisations, along with mayors and local leaders.

Inclusivity for UAE also involves private sector companies, however, including oil companies, which climate campaigners and some governments are less keen on.

The COP28 President Designate stated: "We are halfway between Paris and 2030, but we are still a long way from where we want to be. We must face the truth. The incremental measures that have been implemented thus far to address the climate issue do not match the urgency of the situation."

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