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By John Dennehy

With a bang of the gavel, Cop history was made on Thursday.

The highly symbolic loss and damage fund came into operation and it happened in Dubai.

It was easy to forget that just a few weeks ago, the chances of such a deal looked difficult.

The agreement will involve rich nations providing financial support to developing countries affected by disasters linked to climate change.

"We have delivered history today, the first time a decision has been adopted on day one of any Cop," Cop28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber said.

"This is evidence that we can deliver."

The UAE has pledged $100 million to the fund. The UK pledged $75 million, with other countries expected to follow in the coming days.

The deal was rumoured after a year of talks ahead of the climate summit in Dubai, increasing the hope that further consensus can be found on other key issues.

US climate envoy John Kerry said the early agreement was a “great way to start this Cop”.

Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at Climate Action Network International, said the deal was a "historic decision", but that the amount of money pledged and how the fund is run would be crucial.

"The responsibility now lies with affluent nations to meet their financial obligations," he said.

Our full story is here and you can follow our live coverage at Cop28 here.


'We need to change the world': Delegates bring can-do spirit to Cop28

A delegate arrives for the first day of Cop28. Cop28. Pawan Singh / The National
A delegate arrives for the first day of Cop28. Cop28. Pawan Singh / The National

Delegates used the dozens of pavilions at the Expo City site to clarify top talking points on Thursday.

Roman Sidortsov, an academic at the True North pavilion, warned his audience not to bandy around terms without fully understanding what they mean.

“The terms climate justice, environmental justice and energy justice are used interchangeably, they are used without context and used without proper grounding,” he said. “I’ve started getting concerned about this term 'justice', as it applies to all things and is now claiming to be another gospel.”

At another stand, a group of young Emirati professionals discussed the powerful effect of climate change and the importance of exploring its impact.

Documentary maker Abdullah Abudaik talked about his work raising awareness about the issue. “This topic is one that people want to avoid. Some people are really not sure it could be happening,” he said.

Follow Damien McElroy as he speaks to those attending day one of the event here.


Developed countries urged to take the lead at Cop28

Cracks developed after flooding in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Reuters
Cracks developed after flooding in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Reuters

Non-government organisations are calling for developed countries to take responsibility for their historical contributions to climate change.

Ahead of the event opened in Dubai on Thursday, environmental and poverty campaign groups said the gathering should press for the faster phasing out of fossil fuels and ensure that wealthier nations offer more assistance to poorer countries to help make this energy transition.

Sara Shaw, climate justice and energy programme co-ordinator at Friends of the Earth International, said wealthy nations should "take the lead in genuine climate action".

While some analysts have said Cop28 could help to reform regulations around carbon markets – which allow the buying and selling of carbon credits to compensate for the release of greenhouse gases – Ms Shaw described them as a "dangerous distraction" from efforts to curb pollution.

Daniel Bardsley's full report is here.


The big fact

July was probably the hottest month on land in the past 120,000 years, the World Meteorological Organisation has said.

The UN weather agency said it is now "virtually certain" that 2023 will be the hottest year on record.


Jargon buster

Some jargon on the fly:

UNFCCC The name of the 1992 climate treaty with 198 parties, and also of the UN body that oversees it. It’s the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – pronounce it “U-N-F-triple-C” to sound extra clued-up.

IPCC The experts who write definitive reports on what the science is telling us. They’re the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

NDCs Nationally Determined Contributions, in which each country reveals how it intends to chip in towards the 1.5°C goal. These blueprints are supposed to be updated every five years.

Our full guide to understanding climate jargon is here.


What to expect on Day 2

Friday includes the opening of the World Climate Action Summit, when heads of state and government take the podium in Dubai.

Speakers on the schedule on Friday include UAE President Sheikh Mohamed, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Britain’s King Charles III, a longtime environmental campaigner, is expected to deliver opening remarks at the summit.

On the sidelines, a 33-nation, German-founded “climate club” of countries including Egypt and Morocco will set out plans to lead the way on decarbonisation.

Nuclear power will also be a focus as the International Atomic Energy Agency makes a plea for fission to be included in the clean energy mix.



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Updated: November 30, 2023, 2:01 PM
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