COP28 President-Designate urges shift from incremental steps to transformational progress at COP28 UAEFeb 14, 2023 by Energy Connects
The COP28 UAE Presidency on Tuesday stressed the need to move from incremental to transformational inclusive progress through partnership, political will and unified climate action.
Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai, H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate, affirmed that the UAE’s approach as host of COP28 would be to apply a positive mindset and the principle of partnership to ensure tangible results at COP28 taking place in Dubai later this year. Dr. Al Jaber began his address by recalling the words of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan spoken at the World Government Summit in 2015:
“Eight years ago on this same stage, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, made a bold prediction about the future when he said that if we make the right investments today, there will come a time when the UAE would celebrate the last barrel of oil. That was the word His Highness chose: ‘Celebrate.’
“It was a bold call to action that resonated deeply around the world and it absolutely resonated with me. The UAE has always made progress by getting ahead of the future. And the advances we have made in only 50 years, have been anchored by the principle and practice of true genuine partnership.”
Highlighting that “the UAE approaches this task with humility, a clear sense of responsibility and a great sense of urgency,” Dr. Al Jaber reiterated that the world is way off track when it comes to the goal of keeping global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees and needed a new approach to move from goals to getting it done across mitigation, adaptation, climate finance and loss and damage.
“The hard reality is that global emissions must fall 43 percent by 2030. That’s just seven years away. We need a major course correction. The current approaches we have been using come from a different era. Some are no longer fit for purpose. And we need to accelerate action at a time of continued economic uncertainty, geopolitical tensions and pressure on energy security. We have to transform entire industrial systems that still run on the energies of the first Industrial Revolution. In short, we need to shift from incremental steps to transformational progress across mitigation, adaptation, finance and loss and damage.”
Dr. Al Jaber emphasised that affordable, accessible capital was key to ensure inclusive climate progress. He also argued that clean investments are already driving sustainable growth and stressed the need for reform of international finance institutions and multilateral development banks:
“One of the most critical enablers to bridge from goals to getting it done is capital. Lots of capital. And we must make sure that this capital is accessible and affordable. We need to ramp up investment across every area of decarbonization and we should view these investments as an opportunity, not a burden. In fact, economists estimate that decarbonizing industry, the energy sector, power generation, transportation, and food systems could create an additional 12 trillion dollars in economic value by 2030.
“Capital is also key to adaptation, where we need to double annual funds to protect the most vulnerable communities, invest in nature-based solutions, preserve our rainforests and protect biodiversity. And capital is critical to make the loss and damage fund real and operational and it is the key to a fair deal on climate finance for the Global South. The international community must follow through on pledges made over a decade ago. We need real reform of international financial institutions and multilateral banks to unleash more concessional dollars, lower risk and attract more private finance for vulnerable communities.”
Dr. Al Jaber noted that he would lay out a roadmap for COP28 that is “inclusive, results-oriented and far from business as usual.” He added that the full COP28 team would be leveraged, including H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui, the Youth Climate Champion, H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, the UN High-Level Champion and the COP28 team, to mobilise every segment of society and bring all stakeholders together around a solutions-oriented agenda.
“We will capitalise on our experience and our network of partners to engage with governments, civil society, youth, the financial community, industry and technology companies. Never before have we been able to use technology to help us scale and level up our innovations to achieve impact…We have an unprecedented opportunity to engage the energy industry in a technological revolution that gets us to a climate-positive future. And yes, it is in our common interest to have the energy industry working hand in hand and alongside everyone on the solutions that the world needs.”
Dr. Al Jaber emphasized that policies and strategies should encourage inclusive progress particularly across the Global South.
“The strategies we pursue must leave no one behind. The policies we adopt must be pro-growth and pro- climate at the same time. We must enable an energy transition that includes the 800 million people who are excluded from access to energy today. And we must urgently address the needs of the 2.6 billion people who have no access to clean water. We must eliminate energy and water poverty, while keeping 1.5 alive. And we must cater for a world that will be home to an additional two billion people by 2050. In short, we need to hold back emissions, not progress.”
Dr. Al Jaber reiterated that the COP28 Presidency would listen to and engage with all stakeholders, noting that only through open, constructive, and positive engagement will we achieve the breakthroughs we collectively need. And he ended with a call to action to the world’s governments to combine political will with concrete actions for game-changing results:
“We all remember COP21 in Paris for uniting governments in agreement. And we want COP28 UAE to be remembered for uniting everyone in action. Action made more powerful through true and meaningful partnership. Action that will make real transformational progress and deliver tangible results. Let’s cooperate, collaborate and share ideas.
“Let’s unite in solidarity for the sake of humanity. Let’s live up to the responsibility that we have been entrusted with…Let’s put our differences aside. Fight climate change, not each other. Let’s stop deliberating and start delivering. And let’s make COP28 a COP of Unity, a COP of Action, a COP for All. A COP that will shape a better future,” Dr. Al Jaber said.