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UAE unveils climate action plan for COP28

By JAN YUMUL in Hong Kong | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-07-21 11:39

The United Arab Emirates has launched a summit plan focused on fast-tracking energy transition, climate finance, livelihoods and inclusivity as it prepares to host this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP28, in Dubai in November.

COP28 President-Designate Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, who is also managing director and group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, unveiled the four-pillar action plan at a meeting of governments in Brussels on July 13.

Al-Jaber called on countries to join the UAE in "delivering a comprehensive transformation to reinvigorate the process and restore hope through collective action".

"COP28 presents an opportunity to fast-track the energy transition by building the energy system of the future, while rapidly decarbonizing the energy system of today to keep 1.5°C within reach. Phasing down demand for, and supply of, all fossil fuels is inevitable and essential. Strengthened policies to achieve this goal are required," he said.

Al-Jaber said a holistic approach that integrates both the supply and the demand side must be taken, and that the world must urgently accelerate the energy transition in developing countries.

"All countries will need to act, all elements of the energy system will need to be addressed, and we must have an honest conversation about what it will take to deliver a responsible and just transition that empowers climate-positive development everywhere, in particular across the Global South," said Al-Jaber.

COP28 will partner with governments around the world to double energy efficiency, triple renewable energy capacity to 11,000 GW, and double hydrogen production to 180 million tons per year by 2030.

It has called on international oil companies and national oil companies to cut to zero methane emissions by 2030, align around net zero by or before 2050, and commit significant capital investment to clean energies.

COP28 will also strive to make climate finance affordable and accessible for all. It plans to work with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, or GFANZ, to open more opportunities in capital markets, standardize voluntary carbon markets and incentivize private capital and finance.

It will call on donor country governments, in conjunction with Germany and Canada as coordinators of the Climate Finance Delivery Plan, to honor commitments and close out the $100 billion pledge this year.

"We know that the current international financial architecture is fragmented and offers insufficient solutions. If we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, emerging and developing countries need in excess of $2.4 trillion of annual investment in climate action by 2030," said Al-Jaber.

COP28 UAE aims to unite all parties to double adaptation finance by 2025, to ensure a strong replenishment of the Green Climate Fund, and operationalize the fund and funding arrangements for loss and damage.

"This central piece of our agenda will catalyze collaborative action on adaptation, preserve ecosystems, climate-proof food systems, and protect and empower the most vulnerable communities by investing in practical solutions to improve lives and livelihoods," said Al-Jaber.

"On the Action Agenda, in partnership with our High-Level Champion, Razan Al Mubarak, who is also President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, we will promote and platform initiatives that not only protect biodiversity and vital natural carbon sinks but crucially champion those on the frontlines of conservation and adaption efforts, including women and Indigenous Peoples," he added.

Further, they will endeavor to work on a "COP to COP narrative", protect 30 percent of land and seas by 2030, and encourage all parties to deliver and align their nature and climate action for greater impact and efficiency.

The presidency will host officials to learn from the UAE's success in pioneering sustainable cities. It will also have a pavilion for Indigenous Peoples, "who make up 5 percent of the global population, yet protect 80 percent of our biodiversity".

Building on the progress of the youth envoy at COP27, Al-Jaber said the UAE's minister of community development and vice-chairperson of the Arab Youth Centre, Shamma Al Mazrui, "has elevated meaningful youth participation" in climate related initiatives through various programs.

The inaugural International Youth Climate Delegates program will see 100 youths from small-island and developing states, least developed countries, and indigenous and climate-vulnerable communities be part of the COP28 process.

"This program and others will continue to ensure that the voices of youth are front and center at COP28," said Al-Jaber.

This year's climate conference will be held from Nov 30 to Dec 12. The COP28 presidency has taken an innovative and inclusive approach to the two-week program for the UN environmental summit.

The program highlights the sectors and topics that stakeholders repeatedly raised during consultations, including both standard fixtures of the COP agenda, and new, essential topics like health, trade and relief, recovery, and peace.

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