Dr Sultan Al Jaber is calling for more financial support to help Caribbean nations in their fight against the impact of climate change.
The Cop28 President-designate and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology was in Barbados on Thursday meeting with leaders from a 15-member trade bloc known as Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom).
In the meeting, he underlined his commitment to support countries at risk and to mobilise the international community at Cop28 to close the climate finance gap.
"We all know that the cost of capital has slowed the adoption of renewable energy in this region, alongside many other climate-vulnerable regions of the world," Dr Al Jaber said.
"That is why addressing the climate finance gap is so important and why I have made it a key priority for Cop28."
Dr Al Jaber spoke the same day that the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration increased its prediction for the Atlantic hurricane season from near-normal to above-normal given record sea surface temperatures, AP reported.
Some 14 to 21 named storms are now expected, with two to five major hurricanes. Five tropical storms already have formed this year, marking an unusually busy start to the season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
“This region knows only too well the human and economic costs of too little finance for climate adaptation and resilience,” he said.
Dr Al Jaber said high costs have prevented island nations from quickly adopting renewable energy as they face what he said was some of the world’s harshest climate impacts.
“The peoples of the Caribbean have been on the front lines of climate change for longer than most,” he said.
“Your experience represents an early warning system for the rest of the world.”
Closing the climate finance gap is one of four pillars of the UAE's Cop28 plan.
Announced last month, Dr Al Jaber said fast-tracking the energy transition, fixing climate finance, focusing on people and making inclusivity will be hallmarks of the summit in Dubai.
He set out what he called a “science-based, action-oriented” plan at a 26-nation climate meeting in Brussels.
The focus on finance comes amid calls to reform a global system that is “not making finance anywhere near available, accessible or affordable enough”, he said.
Dr Al Jaber, who recently attended a summit in Paris on overhauling the financial system, said it was in need of a “comprehensive transformation” and not just “piecemeal reform”
Cop28, which will be hosted at Expo City Dubai in November, will be the first “global stocktake” of progress in limiting climate change.