President Sheikh Mohamed has set the scene for the Cop28 climate summit by urging nations to move “beyond setting goals to achieving them”.
As host nation, the UAE will focus on getting concrete commitments to turn the tide of climate change.
Sheikh Mohamed spoke as world leaders attended a virtual climate event hosted by US President Joe Biden.
“Today at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, we agreed on a joint commitment to accelerate action aimed at combating climate change,” Sheikh Mohamed said on Twitter.
“As the host of Cop28, the UAE will focus efforts on moving beyond setting goals to achieving them.”
In a statement carried by state news agency Wam, Sheikh Mohamed stressed the importance of developed countries fulfilling their pledge to provide $100 billion to developing countries.
Opening the forum, Mr Biden urged governments to come to Dubai in November with achievable targets.
“Look, as we look forward to Cop28, we all need to show up in Dubai with 2030 targets, and actions aligned with the Paris temperature goals,” he said.
“We're already seeing the signs of what's to come if we don't.
“More severe droughts, more floods, seas rising, temperatures rising, weather instability, market unpredictability.
“Together, we can't keep the goal of limiting warming to just no more than 1.5ºC, it's within our reach, if we make progress on the four key things we have to discuss today.”
Failure to keep global warming to 1.5ºC above preindustrial levels will, climate scientists say, bring the world to the point of no return.
Rising temperatures are closely linked to extreme weather events and crop failure, and scorching heat will leave some parts of the world uninhabitable.
To keep this from occurring, emissions — caused by the burning of fossil fuels, heavy industry and mass food production, among other factors — must be cut by more than 40 per cent by 2030.
President Sheikh Mohamed speaks to world leaders about climate change
Investment in new energy
A key aspect of Cop28 in Dubai will be a global “stocktake” on action agreed to in Paris in 2015, and the need to spend trillions of dollars on renewables and clean sources of energy.
“The UAE was the first Gulf country to ratify the Paris Agreement, and the first in the region to commit to reducing emissions in all economic sectors by the year 2030,” Sheikh Mohamed said.
“It has also announced its strategic initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. We have invested over $150 billion in climate action and have ambitious plans for further investments in this field in the future.”
He said the Cop28 UAE Presidency will be committed to achieving transformative climate action, moving from deliberation to action, and delivering a comprehensive action plan for the benefit of all people and the planet.
“Energy and climate change are closely intertwined,” Sheikh Mohamed said.
“And thus it is essential that the world accelerates its logical, realistic, and balanced transition in the energy sector by increasing renewable energy production capacity by at least three times and doubling hydrogen production.
“It is crucial to enhance international co-operation in technology transfer and provide the necessary financing to support the energy transition and address the losses and damages, especially in the Global South and communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”
Guterres says failure to act a 'death sentence'
Mr Biden announced $1 billion in US funding during the virtual forum and requested $500 million for the Amazon Fund to combat deforestation in Brazil.
He invited other MEF countries to join the US in raising at least $200 million by Cop28 to help developing countries mitigate their own methane emissions.
The countries that take part in the forum account for about 80 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and global gross domestic product, according to the White House.
The lowest-income countries produce one tenth of global emissions, but are the most heavily affected by climate change, the World Bank reported. Climate change effects in these countries include health problems, food and water stress, and more.
Mr Biden's remarks echo concerns voiced earlier this month in a roundtable discussion with Cop28 President-designate Dr Sultan Al Jaber, International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva, and Mark Carney, UN special envoy for climate action.
“For vulnerable communities, across the Global South, climate finance is nowhere near available, affordable or accessible enough,” said Dr Al Jaber, who is also UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology.
During his remarks to the forum, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the international community to “put a price on carbon” and shift fossil fuel subsidies to finance a “just transition” to renewables.
“The International Energy Agency estimated that these subsidies came to $1 trillion in 2022 — which is insanity,” said Mr Guterres.
“Today’s policies would make our world 2.8°C hotter by the end of the century … and this is a death sentence.”