The EU’s climate chief has praised the UAE's coming presidency of the Cop28 summit, saying the country “wants to take us forward”, following a critical update on global progress in responding to climate change.
EU energy and environment ministers were joined on Tuesday for discussions in Spain by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and President-designate of Cop28.
Dr Al Jaber told ministers that they could “make history together” at Cop28.
“We cannot achieve a global transition without the support of Europe and the EU,” he said.
He added that he was encouraged that rich countries might finally meet a 2009 commitment this year to arrange $100 billion in climate funding for developing countries.
“The need for robust, sustainable growth ─ while dramatically reducing emissions ─ is the critical challenge of our century. A system-wide transformation of entire economies is required,” he said.
“No one has all the answers, and there is no one size fits all solution, but by working together, we can make history together. Cop28 must be a Cop of action and a Cop for all if we are to deliver the game-changing transformation that the world needs.”
The meeting on expectations for Cop28 comes less than five months before a summit that the Spanish EU presidency called “the last opportunity” to reach global climate goals.
Frans Timmermans, the European Commission member in charge of climate action, said EU ministers were “ready to listen” to Dr Al Jaber as they formulate their own demands for the summit.
Mr Timmermans said he was optimistic about Dr Al Jaber’s plans for the UAE-hosted meeting.
“[This] will be an essential Cop meeting where the world will take stock of what has been done and what still needs to be done,” the Dutch commissioner said.
“I think it’s no secret when I say that what’s been done is not enough. We need to do more.
“I know that he’s ambitious. I know that he wants to take us forward.
“I know that he’s also going to be very clear on reducing unabated fossil fuels which is an important element of getting us to net zero. I know that he also has clear ideas on adaptation, on finance, on loss and damage.”
Denmark’s Climate Ministry said it fully supported Dr Al Jaber’s “efforts to secure an ambitious outcome” at Cop28.
The EU’s 27 countries typically agree on a joint position for Cop summits before sending Mr Timmermans into negotiations.
The bloc is a major player in the talks as it accounts for about seven per cent of global carbon emissions. The commission has called for Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
Mr Timmermans said the EU had been “instrumental every time” in reaching deals at previous summits.
World awaits stocktake
A unique feature of Cop28 will be the completion of a first-ever “global stocktake” in which the world assesses its progress towards limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
Summit organisers told negotiators in Germany last month that the stocktake would “frame all of our work” at Cop28.
Dr Al Jaber discussed with Spain's Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, how to “deliver an ambitious response” to the stocktake.
They also talked about “driving progress” on Cop28 priorities such as energy, finance, nature, food and the effects of climate change.
In a separate meeting on Tuesday, Dr Al Jaber discussed objectives for Cop28 with Spain's King Felipe VI.
Another focus in Dubai will be talks on a “loss and damage” fund that meets the costs of disasters linked to climate change.
The fund was agreed in principle at Cop27 in Egypt last year but questions remain as to who will pay and which countries will be eligible to draw from it.
Dr Al Jaber discussed loss and damage with Germany’s climate envoy Jennifer Morgan while in Spain according to the Cop28 presidency.
Germany has suggested a global target for renewable energy use to spur countries to move away from fossil fuels.
The proposal is being discussed as part of a possible “road map” for climate action that could emerge from the talks in Dubai.
Dr Al Jaber repeated calls in Spain to treble global renewable energy capacity and double hydrogen production.
The Cop28 talks begin at Dubai’s Expo City on November 30.