Rich countries have pledged nearly $450 million to a fund to compensate the most vulnerable countries for loss and damage caused by climate change. The announcement came before Friday’s opening of COP28, the United Nations climate-change conference, in Dubai.
The United Arab Emirates committed $100 million, European Union countries just under $250 million collectively, and the United Kingdom over $75 million. The United States and Japan pledged lesser amounts.
The deal to create the “loss and damage” fund was “not a small achievement,” Sultan Al Jaber, the Emirati minister of industry and advanced technology who is president of COP28, said in a news conference on Thursday evening.
Al Jaber said it was essential to raise $100 billion in financing for the loss and damage fund. Last year’s COP27, held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, agreed on the need for the fund, after decades of pressure from developing countries.
Al Jaber, who is also head of Adnoc, the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, and chairman of Masdar, which develops renewable-energy products, is under scrutiny from some countries because of allegations that his team planned to use pre-COP28 meetings to discuss oil deals. He strongly denied any such plans during Thursday’s news conference. “These allegations are false, not true, incorrect, and not accurate,” he said.
100,000 People to Attend
COP28 will last a fortnight until December 12, and nearly 100,000 people from almost every country in the world will attend.
The deal to create the “loss and damage” fund was “not a small achievement.”Sultan Al Jaber, the Emirati official who is president of COP28
Britain’s Times newspaper reported that environmental advocacy groups, including the World Wildlife Fund, had said that countries hit by extreme weather needed billions, not millions, of dollars from wealthy nations. The bill from last year’s floods in Pakistan alone was $15 billion.
The Emirates News Agency has reported that priorities for this year’s summit are unifying global efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and accelerating the world’s transition to clean energy to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
That target, known as the Paris Agreement, was first set at COP21 in Paris eight years ago. COP28 will evaluate, for the first time how the world is doing in meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals.
The summit will also decide which countries will receive compensation from the loss and damage fund, which countries should contribute to it, and how the fund will be managed.
In its Sustainable Development Goal 13, on climate action, the United Nations has said that to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, urgent international measures must be taken to reduce emissions from fossil fuels in energy production, transportation, and industry. The transition to renewable energy sources like solar and wind must be sped up, and energy efficiency in buildings, transportation, and manufacturing must be improved to reduce emissions.
Forests, oceans and wetlands play a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide, so protecting them and restoring degraded areas are essential to maintain their ability as “carbon sinks.” There is also a need to embrace more sustainable agricultural practices, including the effective use of water and natural fertilisers, and adopting climate-smart agricultural technologies.
A space at COP28 called the Green Zone provides a platform for universities, companies, and civil-society groups to hold exhibits and events. Emirati universities are using the space to showcase their efforts on environmental sustainability and to announce initiatives they are preparing to launch.
“We are living through climate collapse in real time.”António Guterres, the U.N. secretary-general
Gassan Aouad, chancellor of Abu Dhabi University, said that the winners of the UI (Universitas Indonesia) GreenMetric World University Rankings for 2023, a ranking for commitment to sustainable development and clean environmental standards, would be announced during the conference.
Abu Dhabi University will also announce the launch of its Research Institute for a Sustainable Future.
“COP28” stands for the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP summits take place annually, with different nations holding the presidency each year.
In case this year’s delegates forget the urgency of their discussions, the United Nations announced that 2023 is set to be the hottest year on record. Antarctic sea ice is melting faster than ever and oceans rising at alarming rates, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
“We are living through climate collapse in real time,” the U.N. secretary-general, António Guterres, said in a video accompanying the release of the WMO report’s release. He urged the COP28 delegates to act before the race is lost.
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