Cop28 presidency says UN climate warning is 'important reminder'

Report saying world is off track to slow global warming will underpin 'global stocktake' in Dubai

Climate activists at a protest at The Hague in the Netherlands. World leaders at Cop28 will be under pressure to accelerate climate action. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

A key UN report warning the world is off track in tackling climate change is an “important reminder” of the action needed to protect the planet, the UAE's Cop28 presidency said on Tuesday.

Adnan Amin, the chief executive of Cop28, said the report would be a “key basis” for the UAE's preparations for the summit.

Negotiators will use the talks at Expo City Dubai to complete the first “global stocktake” of how the world is doing in trying to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The UN published a technical report on Friday underpinning the stocktake, which said progress was “still inadequate” and spoke of a “rapidly closing window” to meet the Paris Agreement goal set at Cop21 in 2015.

As the stocktake is handed over to politicians to agree a call to action at Cop28, Mr Amin said the process “enables us to collectively identify” where more action is needed.

The technical report “provides the basis for us to achieve this aim in this first ever global stocktake, and to achieve the transformational course correction that we all need as we live through this year that has been marked by so many climate-related extreme events”, Mr Amin said at a UN climate event on Tuesday.

Its findings “serve as an important reminder of the urgency required to strengthen our collective action and cooperation so that we can effectively deliver on the promise of Paris”, he said.

“The report will be a key basis for our consideration on how to chart the way forward towards an outcome.”

Leading businesses in the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce came together for a meeting on the importance of Cop28 on Tuesday that addressed some of biggest hurdles to meeting net zero targets.

Sulaiman Alamro, director at the Saudi National Centre for Waste Management, spoke about converting the country's vast system to circular economy principles. As part of Vision 2030 the country is setting up community engagement centres to highlight the importance of recycling, as well as converting waste to heat.

Other speakers highlighted the importance of biodiversity including the Great Green Wall concept across Africa that could rehabilitate parts of the Sahel. Rabih El Fadel, co-founder of Phyla Earth, said the effort to win back the land and its yields was one of the most important aspects of the battle to progress Net Zero goals in both Africa and the Middle East.

Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, said it was “no major surprise” that the report found the world “far off track from where we need to be”.

He called on negotiators to use the stocktake “as a global reset” and a “tool to course correct” in what is routinely described as a key decade.

The stocktake report said “much more action”, costing trillions of dollars, is needed to limit damage to the planet due to global warming.

Overseen by scientists Farhan Akhtar of the US and Harald Winkler of South Africa, the report is based on more than a year of discussions among countries who will participate in Cop28.

Under the Paris Agreement, most countries pledged to try to keep the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Many scientists say the likelihood of extreme weather and natural disasters will be considerably greater if the world misses its target.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President-designate and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, has described the 1.5 target as the “north star” of his plan for the summit.

Each country is responsible for setting its own policies to contribute to the Paris Agreement’s goals, so the stocktake was set up as a way to review overall progress.

While there is general consensus that more action is needed, countries often spar over issues such as targets on abandoning fossil fuels and asking rich countries to contribute more financial firepower.

Cop28 opens on November 30 at Dubai's Expo City, with the final day on December 12.

Updated: September 12, 2023, 5:49 PM