Cop28 can bring back Paris Agreement solidarity, says President-designate

Dr Sultan Al Jaber calls for unity of purpose at global climate meeting in November

Cop 28 President-designate calls for accessible climate finance

Cop 28 President-designate calls for accessible climate finance
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Cop28 President-designate Dr Sultan Al Jaber has praised France's plan to focus on the role of finance in meeting climate change challenges, at a summit in Paris.

Dr Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, told the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact that the UN's Cop28 gathering in the UAE at the end of the year would build on progress.

The two-day Paris gathering – which ended on Friday – aimed to overhaul the global finance system to build a new contract between the countries of the world's north and south. This would help address climate change and other crises.

Speaking to more than 40 global leaders, Dr Al Jaber recalled the “common vision” to make real and true climate progress at the 2015 Paris Agreement talks.

Under that agreement, countries agreed to keep the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels – aiming to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

Dr Al Jaber lamented that the spirit of solidarity over issues that affect every country had “very unfortunately” fallen away in the years since. He pointed to the release of the stocktake on the Paris Agreement that is coming out at Cop28, which could reinvigorate commitments to the climate fight for the next seven years.

“The gap has widened between north and south, particularly when it comes to climate finance,” he said.

Mr Macron's New Global Financing Pact summit could help level the playing field and start resolving the mismatch of global resources, added Dr Al Jaber, who is also UAE special envoy for climate change.

“We need transformational rather than incremental steps forward,” he said, and added that institutions can reduce the risk of lending to hardest hit countries so that trillions of private sector funds can be unleashed, not just the billions on the table from the World Bank and other lenders.

“We must build on all the progress made in the pact,” said Dr Al Jaber.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley referred to the intervention of Dr Al Jaber, who is also managing director and group chief executive of Adnoc and chairman of Masdar, and the promise of Cop28 discussions.

“Just as we've come together in Paris as global leaders with the international organisations, we need now to sit down with the private sector leaders, across oil and gas, across renewable energy, across finance, insurance and transport if we are going to find a common problem or common solution to our problem,” Ms Mottley said.

Officials said summit participants had agreed an overall increase of $200 billion of institutions' lending capacity over the next 10 years by optimising their balance sheets and taking more risks.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday that wealthy nations have finalised a long-awaited $100 billion climate finance pledge to developing countries and created a fund for biodiversity and the protection of forests.

Janet Yellen, the US Treasury Secretary, said reforms announced by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other lending bodies could deliver $200 billion extra finance in the next 10 years.

“We have discussed during this summit, creative ways in which we can bring private capital in and at scale,” said Ms Yellen.

“I believe we have the necessary ingredients to make real progress with political leadership, creativity and innovative financing mechanisms.”

Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang underlined Beijing's efforts to open up the capital base of the World Bank to reflect the rising importance of the developing world.

“We need to improve the global financial safety net and step up international co-ordination on macroeconomic policies,” he said.

“International financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, should also follow through on the consensus reached by the G20 leaders and complete the new round of quota and voting power reforms to increase the say of emerging markets and developing countries.”

Mr Li joined calls for developed countries to deliver a promised $100 billion annually to poor countries for the climate fight, as part of fulfilling their primary responsibilities.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi told the meeting that the failure to deliver the promised $100 billion was hampering implementation of projects that would deal with climate change.

“I'm trying to show you decision makers here in the room that there is a great difference between drafting a beautiful plan and implementing it,” he said.

During the two days in Paris, Dr Al Jaber met Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and took part in a panel with World Bank President Ajay Banga, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

“Our goal today must be to stop talking and start delivering,” said Dr Al Jaber. “Private capital is the force multiplier that can really change the game when it comes to effective climate finance.”

World Trade Organisation Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said trade was the missing link in many of the discussions on financing in Paris but praised the Cop28 organisers for making time for a trade day at the UAE gathering.

Mr Macron used a closing press conference on Friday to call for a “mobilisation” to set up international taxes on financial transactions, air tickets and maritime transport to finance the fight for the climate and to tackle poverty.

“Help us get all the countries that today do not have financial transaction taxes and that today do not have tax on airline tickets,” he said.

He also called on the UN's shipping regulator to be involved.

“Help us to mobilise the International Maritime Organisation in July, so that there is international taxation,” said Mr Macron.

“International taxation in a single country does not work”.

France's President also announced that his country would reallocate 40 per cent of its special drawing rights within the IMF to help countries tackle climate change.

“We are experiencing a risk of fracture,” said Mr Macron.

“We want to get the big emerging ones out of coal and allow poor and middle-income countries to develop as well as possible.”

Cop28 is being held in Expo City Dubai from November 30 until December 12.

Updated: June 23, 2023, 1:02 PM