Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President-designate of the Cop28 summit, has called for a "system-wide transformation" to be brought into force to allow the world to "course correct" in its mission to achieve crucial climate change goals.
"Significant challenges lie ahead" as the international community seeks to drastically reduce emission levels and limit global temperature rises, Dr Al Jaber said.
The climate change champion, who also serves as the UAE's Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, is confident that much-needed progress can be made on the road to Cop28 in Dubai in November and beyond.
"Opportunities and solutions" must be grasped to safeguard the planet, Dr Al Jaber said following the conclusion of the two-day Copenhagen Climate Ministerial, which he co-chaired.
An international call for action has been accelerated by the stark findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which said “deep, rapid and sustained greenhouse gas emissions reductions in all sectors” were needed to support efforts to cap temperature rises to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, as set out by the Paris Agreement in 2015.
The report, which was released on Monday, said wholesale changes were needed in energy, agriculture, transport, industry, building and land-use to reduce carbon emissions.
Opportunities for change must be taken
Dr Al Jaber said the report "highlighted the significant challenges ahead and the urgent need to course-correct if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement".
"But more importantly, the report identifies the opportunities and solutions that are available to reduce emissions and enhance resilience,” he said.
Dr Al Jaber stressed the need to step up efforts to hit net zero emissions by adopting renewable and zero-carbon energies, decarbonising the current energy system and investing in proven and new mitigation technologies.
“We have a short window of opportunity to deliver a system-wide transformation," he said.
"But if we make the right investments, we can create a pathway for sustainable growth, where climate and economic progress go hand-in-hand.”
Dr Al Jaber, who is also managing director and group chief executive of Adnoc, spoke of the need to invest heavily in the future of the planet.
“We need to double adaptation finance by 2025 and we need a strong outcome on loss and damage this year, with clear recommendations from the transitional committee on the fund and funding arrangement.”
Dr Al Jaber led the Copenhagen summit alongside Sameh Shoukry, Cop27 President and Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Dan Jorgensen, Denmark's Minister for Development Co-operation and Global Climate Policy.
It was the first official meeting of climate leaders and ministers since Cop27, with more than 40 nations represented.
During the event, which was hosted by the Danish government, Dr Al Jaber held a series of one-to-one meetings with climate leaders, where he drove forward his agenda to secure commitment to an "inclusive Cop of action" and urged leaders to deliver "transformational progress" to deliver on the 1.5°C pledge.
The Danish capital was the latest stop in Dr Al Jaber's global tour to hear the views of a variety of partners across government, civil society, youth, the private sector and representatives of international organisation.
Dr Al Jaber and the Cop28 leadership team have so far visited India, the UK, Germany, France and the US. More meetings are scheduled in both developed and developing countries.
Cop28 will be held at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12.