'Clear momentum' in key Abu Dhabi climate talks, says Cop28 director general

More than 70 ministers are in the UAE capital for the two-day pre-Cop meetings

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There was “clear momentum” in crucial climate talks that took place in Abu Dhabi on Monday, a senior Cop28 official has said.

Majid Al Suwaidi, Cop28 director general, said he was “heartened” to “see and feel the enthusiasm and positivity” across the negotiating rooms on the first day of pre-Cop.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Al Suwaidi said talks encompassed mitigation and adaptation, with ministers for the first time discussing “equity in the context of climate action”, which is vital to ensuring a just climate transition.

“Today’s discussions clearly underscored that ambitious climate action must run hand in hand with the achievement of broader sustainable development objectives,” said Mr Al Suwaidi.

There is clear momentum focused towards positive outcomes
Majid Al Suwaidi, Cop28 director general

“A wide variety of views are represented. And there is clear momentum focused towards positive outcomes.”

More than 70 ministers are in the capital for the two-day pre-Cop meetings, which organisers said was the largest such gathering to date.

It aims to iron out differences ahead of the crucial summit that begins in Dubai on November 30.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Cop28 President-designate, opened the event by calling for unity in an often divided world and spoke of “strong views about the idea of including language on fossil fuels and renewables” in the negotiated text that is typically published at the end of the summit.

Referring to the fossil fuel issues, Mr Al Suwaidi said it was an area that had been “debated for a long time and of course there are many differing views”.

“We hope that through the conversations here in pre-Cop that parties can come together,” said Mr Al Suwaidi.

“Let’s not forget our role as the presidency is to bring the parties together and we are giving you the space to have the conversations and discuss the landing zones. We know we need to deliver on the energy outcome.”

The first day of the preparatory talks also saw youth climate champion Shamma Al Mazrui convene young people attending the event to discuss their ambitions.

The discussions aim to raise awareness about the “global youth statement” which has gathered nearly 750,000 submissions from 150 countries and aims to be the “central document” for youth advocacy at Cop28, feeding directly into climate negotiations.

Those in attendance also discussed climate and health.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber calls for world to unite as pre-Cop28 talks begin

Dr Sultan Al Jaber calls for world to unite as pre-Cop28 talks begin

Cop28 will be the first to discuss health issues in depth and Mr Al Suwaidi said the presidency would push for a political declaration to reflect countries' priorities on the issue.

Tuesday's discussions are expected to feature the global stocktake, which assesses how countries are measuring up to the 2015 Paris deal, and the hot-button issue of loss and damage.

A key meeting to help resolve differences over loss and damage will take place in the UAE at the end of the week.

The fund aims to help countries deal with the damage from climate change and was agreed to at Cop27, but key questions, such as who should fund it, who should receive financing and who would administer it, have yet to be agreed on. Since Cop27, several rounds of meetings have aimed to chart a path forward.

“It is 100 per cent deliverable,” Mr Al Suwaidi told reporters. “It was mandated to deliver it. We are laser-focused on delivering that as part of the overall package of outcomes.”

The International Renewable Energy Agency and the Cop28 presidency also on Monday called for the tripling of renewable power capacity and the doubling of energy efficiency by 2030 to reach the goals of the Paris deal.

Global renewable power capacity will need to reach more than 11,000 gigawatts, with solar and wind accounting for about 90 per cent of the growth, they said in a report.

“The world has already made great strides by expanding global renewable energy capacity and becoming more energy efficient but progress, so far, has been too slow,” said Dr Al Jaber.

Updated: October 31, 2023, 5:03 AM