Cop28 pledges four pillars to unleash finance for climate change

UAE presidency hopes for trillions of dollars to address threat to the planet

Ambassador Majid Al-Suwaidi, Director General Cop28 UAE said: 'The expectations for Cop28 are understandably really high.' Victor Besa / The National
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Majid Al Suwaidi, the director general and special representative of the UAE for the Cop28 presidency, has outlined an agenda to trigger new finance for addressing climate change at the global gathering in November.

Speaking to the Net Zero Delivery summit hosted in the City of London's Mansion House on Wednesday, Mr Al Suwaidi outlined the priorities as finance and business leaders seek to create a fully formed green finance capital.

"The expectations for Cop28 are understandably really high," he said. "We know the task before us requires much more than tinkering around the edges. We need to fundamentally and systematically transform how we live and work on this planet.

"We need to slash emissions by nearly half by 2030. This includes a scaling up of renewables and significant investment in decarbonisation and innovation in new technologies that prepare ourselves for the continued impacts of climate change and be ready to live in a warmer world."

Mr Al Suwaidi said the four paths drawn together by the UAE presidency would address the need for trillions of dollars to respond to the threat to the planet.

"First we need to fundamentally reform the international financial institutions," he said. "Second is the need to better leverage private-sector finance.

Third we need to establish well-functioning carbon markets. Fourth we need to unlock finance for innovation."

Nicholas Lyons, lord mayor of London, hosted the meeting, which links the agendas of Cop27, hosted last year by Egypt, and the forthcoming meeting in the UAE.

"It's very good to have a team from the UAE here today – this is a great link between the Cops that reflects the priorities of the incumbent president and points to what the next president is going to do," he told The National. "There's a strong emphasis on delivery and just transition.

"There is going to be very big emphasis at Cop28 on finance and role of finances. The time for pledges is long gone. The time now is to convert pledges to plans of action.

"We've really got to mobilise finance."

Graham Stuart, the UK minister and envoy to Cop28, said the meeting would be critical to the race under way to "capture the investment, industries and jobs" needed for the transition. "We must keep momentum towards Cop28 because we are running out of time," he said.

The lord mayor talked about how vulnerable countries needed to access finance for infrastructure spending to cope with climate change. "We'll be talking at Cop28 about how we cannot do this in a way that leaves people behind," he said. "It's not just a zero-sum game.

"This is not about the West bringing everything together that everyone has to subscribe to in order to be able to access money," he added. "That's why we are talking to the Cop28 team here about what role the City of London can play to help draw together these countries with the private sector and financial services."

Chris Hayward, policy leader of the City of London, said the incoming presidency was determined to deliver access to finance for countries around the world.

"The UAE team are very much reaching out to developing countries and trying to bring a more sophisticated finance package to them," he said.

"I think it's really important. A lot of these countries need real help and the responsibility is on us to put those packages together.

"There's no one size fits all.

"We need outcomes, we agree we need commitments and we need countries to come forward with those. It will be a very productive [Cop28], I'm looking forward to it."

Updated: May 25, 2023, 3:21 AM