Cop28 President urges countries to sharpen climate plans

Dr Sultan Al Jaber in drive to maintain momentum from historic UAE summit and keep the 1.5ºC goal within reach

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President, on Thursday at the Copenhagen Climate Ministerial. 'Climate finance must be made more available, accessible and affordable at every level,' he says. Photo: Cop28 UAE
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Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President, has urged countries to sharpen their national climate action plans to keep the crucial 1.5ºC goal within reach.

Speaking in Copenhagen on Thursday, the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology said parties needed to grasp the urgency of the moment and raise their ambition, with the historic UAE climate summit last year showing that it can be done.

Dr Al Jaber, who is also managing director and group chief executive of Adnoc, made the comments at the Copenhagen Climate Ministerial – the first major meeting of climate ministers since Cop28 – where he also unveiled the vision of the “Cop presidencies troika” that aims to drive momentum between Cop28 and the next two summits in Azerbaijan and Brazil.

It follows another stark report about the state of the climate with the World Meteorological Organisation warning in a report on Tuesday that records were broken, and in some cases smashed, last year for greenhouse gas levels, surface temperatures, ocean heat and acidification, sea-level rise, Antarctic sea ice cover and glacier retreat.

“This troika will help to ensure that the next crucial round of nationally determined contributions are in line with keeping our collective North Star of 1.5ºC within reach,” said Dr Al Jaber.

“Parties must do the work now to ensure that their NDCs meet the urgency of the moment – and are submitted at least nine months before Cop30.”

Dr Al Jaber said these plans needed to encompass all aspects of the economy and cover all greenhouse gases with countries aiming to deliver emission reductions of 60 per cent compared with 2019 levels before 2035 so the world can avoid the worst excesses of global warming.

The troika has also issued a letter to the parties calling for early submission of NDCs and committing the three host countries to submit 1.5ºC-aligned contributions by early 2025.

Another letter was sent to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to “ensure there is a unified, coherent and effective technical support framework to member states, particularly developing countries, to prepare and implement the next generation of their NDCs”.

Dr Al Jaber also called for equally strong global efforts on climate adaptation, which is parlance for dealing with the effects of climate change that are already happening, across food systems, water security, nature and health.

“Critically, they must be well funded,” said Dr Al Jaber. “Finance is the key enabler to all climate progress and essential to rebuilding trust, especially with the global south.” The “global south” is a term typically used to refer to developing countries.

Billions in finance were mobilised at Cop28, which also delivered the formal establishment of the “loss and damage” fund, something long sought after by poorer countries often dealing with the harshest consequences of climate change.

“Climate finance must be made more available, accessible and affordable at every level,” he said.

Dr Al Jaber also invited parties to attend the UAE Climate Finance Forum in Abu Dhabi in June, which will work towards realising “a climate finance architecture that unlocks the trillions needed for transformational green growth”.

The Cop28 deal was formally referred to as the global stocktake, under which countries were called on to “transition away” from fossil fuels.

It seeks to keep the global temperature limit of 1.5ºC within reach and avoid the worst effects of climate change.

If global temperatures rise by more than that, the lives and health of billions of people could be endangered, scientists believe.

“An agreement is only as good as its implementation,” Dr Al Jaber has said.

Cop29 in Azerbaijan later this year is expected to strongly focus on technology, water and peace, while Cop30 will see countries submit the climate plans that will aim to help the world tackle climate change.

Meanwhile, talks in Germany earlier this week saw climate chiefs urged to build on the “tornado of good news” from Cop28.

Talks in Berlin are focusing on the UAE's calls for a clean energy revolution, while separate meetings in Bonn are looking at how to make the world more resilient.

Climate advocates at Cop28 – in pictures

Updated: March 21, 2024, 11:12 AM