‘We are not powerless’ to overcome climate crisis, COP28 President-Designate tells UN summit - GulfToday

‘We are not powerless’ to overcome climate crisis, COP28 President-Designate tells UN summit


Sultan Al Jaber (centre) speaks during the UN Climate Ambition Summit in New York on Wednesday. WAM

Dr Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President-Designate, addressed the UN Climate Ambition Summit in New York, where he reminded the international community that “we are not powerless” to overcome the climate crisis and urged the world to “get after gigatons.”

The summit, which is the landmark climate engagement during the United Nations General Assembly and was convened by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, was attended by world leaders, the private sector and civil society.

During his speech, the President-Designate called on the world to be “brave” and “bold” and get “back on track” to meet its climate ambitions, reaffirming the founding principles of the UN and to think “beyond borders, beyond politics, and beyond our own lifetimes.”

He emphasised that “climate change is our common enemy, and we must unite to fight it.”

Al Jaber pointed to recent data from the first Global Stocktake, which confirmed that “the world is falling short, and we are running out of time” but was emphatic in stating that it is not too late to change course.

Indeed, he challenged the world to respond to the Global Stocktake with the highest levels of ambition, noting that “We know the size of the problem. The numbers are straightforward: 22 gigatons. That’s the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we need to cut in the next seven years to keep 1.5 within reach.”

Al Jaber went on to speak of the need for the international community to “remember that we are not powerless. As we have seen throughout history, when we act with optimism, urgency and solidarity, we can overcome even the most daunting challenges.”

He continued to share his belief that “in the face of the climate crisis, we can – and we will – rediscover humanity’s greatest strength: our capacity to collaborate, to overcome differences, and to harness the power of collective action.”

Al Jaber’s speech at the UN Climate Ambition Summit comes just 71 days before COP28, the global climate summit in the UAE.

Al Jaber noted, “We are working tirelessly to advance an ambitious climate agreement between all 198 Parties. However, climate change won’t be solved through agreement alone. It can only truly be addressed through Action. That’s precisely what we aim to achieve through the COP28 Action Agenda.”

Al Jaber went on to detail the COP28 Presidency’s ‘Action Agenda’ to get the world “back on track” to meet the ambitions set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

He called on those present and listening across the world to make actionable commitments across its key pillars: to fast-tracking a just and orderly energy transition, fix climate finance, focus on lives and livelihoods, and underpin everything with full inclusivity.

Speaking of the COP28 Presidency’s plan to fast-track a just, orderly, and well-managed energy transition, Al Jaber told the audience that the “phase-down of fossil fuels is essential. It is in fact inevitable. And it must go hand-in-hand with a rapid phase up of zero-carbon alternatives.”

Al Jaber called on Parties to do their part towards a “massive expansion of renewable energy” and triple global capacity by 2030. He also emphasised the power of energy efficiency improvements as “the simplest cheapest and fastest way to dial down emissions.”

He then called for all to be “brutally honest about what it will take to transition heavy emitting sectors” which cannot run on renewables alone, while noting the need to develop the entire hydrogen value chain.

Al Jaber also stressed the need to “rapidly and comprehensively decarbonise the energies we use today,” before reiterating his previous calls on the oil and gas industry to eliminate methane emissions by 2030 and align with net zero by or before 2050.

Addressing the COP28 plan to fix climate finance, Al Jaber spoke of the need to restore trust between Parties and for contributing countries to deliver the $100 billion pledge this year.

He then stressed the need to go “much further” and noted that “if we are to unlock trillions, we need to unleash the full potential of private capital.”



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