Sheikh Mohamed opens COP28 with crisp remarks - GulfToday

Sheikh Mohamed opens COP28 with crisp remarks

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

United Arab Emirates President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan made a crisp and brief opening speech at the COP28 climate summit at Expo City in Dubai. He recalled first President of the UAE Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision of sustainable development by keeping the people at the centre and instilling respect for the environment among them. Sheikh Mohamed referred to Sheikh Zayed as “a leader who believed in love of the earth and respect for nature while establishing ways to conserve resources.”

Announcing a US$30 billion fund for global  climate solutions to stimulate raising and investing US$250 billion by 2030, he said the global fund is “designed to bridge the climate finance gap ensuring availability, accessibility and affordability of scale.” He said the UAE had spent US$100 billion so far in “financing climate action, focusing on renewable and clean energy”. He also said that the UAE is “ committed to investing US$130 billion over the next seven years”. And he said UAE is committed to a “ 40 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.”

The UAE, which is the president of COP28 in hosting it, has literally walked the talk by showing how much it has spent on transiting to clean and renewable energy, and how much more it intends to invest. And by announcing the contribution to the fund for global climate solutions, the UAE is again showing by example what many other countries with the economic muscle, especially the rich, developed countries should be doing. And Sheikh Mohamad conveyed the message in a very simple, direct speech.

COP28 is the largest UN climate summit, with 104,000 people, including technical staff, with access to the ‘blue zone’ where negotiations among government delegations take place. About 400,000 people have access through a daily pass to visit the Expo City during the convention. Observers feel that COP28 will achieve a breakthrough to some of the issues which have been intractable. And the initial success of COP28 has been achieved when the Loss and Damage Fund has been set up as part of the World Bank but which will be handled independently, and developing countries can access this fund to take the necessary climate action measures which they need to take. This is seen as a postive sign that COP28 will achieve more.

 COP28 president and UAE Minister for Technology and Advanced Industry Dr. Sultan Bin Ahmed Al jaber said, “What was promised in Sharm El Sheikh (COP27) has already been delivered in Dubai. The speed at which the world came together to get the Fund operationalised within one year since Parties agreed to it in Sharm El Sheikh is unprecedented.”  He said there is much that can be done if the world is united and expressed the hope that in the fortnight-long COP28, the ambitious Global Stocktake (GST) on the 2015 Paris climate summit agreement will achieve a breakthrough.

The UAE has announced that it will commit $100 million to the loss and damage fund. Germany has announced $100 million, the United Kingdom $40 million and $20 million to other expenses. Japan has committed $10 million, and the United States $17.5 million. Italy has committed 100 million euros ($108 million).

The climate action issues are quite complicated because much remains to be done but the needs and challenges will be many for the different regions and quite different again for each country. There is no single solution that can be applied uniformly across the globe. But response to the climate challenge cannot be deferred anymore, and differences of opinion need to be sorted out without further delay.

The number of people, including policy advisers accompanying the official delegations, is 27,000 and more. And the non-government organisations (NGOs) engaged in climate change issues is large too. To achieve consensus remains a tremendous challenge. But the energy and dedication provided by the UAE team is laudable and it should push COP28 to a successful conclusion.

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