Cop28 President urges countries to 'think bigger, act bolder' in go-green plans

Dr Sultan Al Jaber uses speech in Berlin to call for ambitious new sustainability goals based on Dubai deal

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President and UAE special envoy for climate change, meets senior officials from Cop29 host Azerbaijan, at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin. Photo: Cop28
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The President of the Cop28 UN climate talks has urged countries to "think bigger, act bolder" in implementing sustainability pledges made in Dubai.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, who is also the UAE's Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and special envoy for climate change, on Friday called for an ambitious new round of national climate plans.

These should come with investment to seize the "biggest opportunity for socio-economic development since the first industrial revolution", he said during climate talks in Germany.

Nearly 200 countries signed up to a climate deal in Dubai known as the UAE Consensus, which called for a move away from fossil fuels and a massive expansion of clean energy.

It is now up to each individual country to make a new climate plan by the time of Cop30 in Brazil in 2025, using the Dubai text as their guide.

The Cop28 team is working with Brazil and Cop29 host Azerbaijan in a "troika" that is pushing for ambitious plans, Dr Al Jaber told the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin.

The troika is encouraging governments to set out economy-wide emission reduction plans with explicit targets for renewable energy, he said.

The aim of the clean energy drive is to cut CO2 emissions so that the global temperature rise can be kept to 1.5°C above a pre-1900 benchmark.

Scientists say that would limit the worst effects of global warming and it is hoped there would also be economic benefits.

Investment call

Dr Al Jaber said the potential economic boon "will not happen without significant investment" in infrastructure, technology, skills and the global south.

Azerbaijan has promised to make finance, invariably a sticking point in climate negotiations, a major focus of Cop29 in Baku.

"We need finance, we need solidarity and we need shared responsibility," Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev told the talks in Berlin.

He said oil and gas producers such as Azerbaijan "should be in the front row of those who address the issues of climate change".

Azerbaijan has expanded gas sales to the EU during an energy crisis caused by Russia, but plans to "largely substitute" gas for wind and solar power in domestic electricity production, Mr Aliyev said.

At least $6 trillion should be spent by 2030 to meet a Cop28 goal of trebling global renewable energy capacity by that date, Dr Al Jaber said in Berlin.

Artificial intelligence "can be a game changer" in areas such as efficiency and storage if there is investment in technology, he said.

He said every country "must also invest in its people, developing a new set of skills for a new green economy".

And the world "must invest in the global south" because more than 120 developing countries currently receive only 15 per cent of clean tech investment, he said.

"My message to governments is simple. Think bigger, act bolder," he said.

"Send a clear message early with your next [climate plan] that puts green infrastructure at the centre of your development plans. Be transparent about the costs and trade-offs involved.

"And let’s make the right investments now that deliver real results, follow the science, keep 1.5°C within reach and advance human progress."

Updated: April 26, 2024, 2:45 PM