COP28 President, Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, has said the transition to a new era of sustainable and renewable energy cannot be allowed to leave anyone behind.
Al Jaber, who is also the UAE’s minister of Industry and Advanced Technology was speaking at the 2023 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, at which he highlighted the dangerous impact of climate change on fragile, Arctic ecosystems and called on nations to support the COP28 Action Agenda to keep the Paris Agreement goals within reach.
“For the last 10 years, the Arctic Circle has been leading the conversation around the impact of the climate on fragile Arctic ecosystems,” Al Jaber told delegates. “This group has alerted the world to the fact that the Arctic is warming around four times faster than the rest of the planet.”
The Arctic Circle Assembly is the largest annual international gathering on the Arctic with over 2,000 attendees from more than 60 countries, and the COP28 president used the opportunity to spell out the task in front of the planet and global governments.
“The world must cut 22 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions in the next seven years to keep 1.5°C in reach,” Al Jaber said. “This is a massive task that will require nothing short of global unity.”
He added the COP28 Action Agenda provides “a practical plan of action to transform the goals of Paris into a realistic roadmap that the whole world can follow. This roadmap is centred on our key pillars: fast-tracking the energy transition, fixing climate finance, focusing on people, lives, and livelihoods, and underpinning everything with full inclusivity. “
On fast-tracking the energy transition, Al Jaber said it must be fair, well managed and responsible and one that leaves no one behind, with COP28 having set a global goal of tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030.
“We are making progress,” Al Jaber said, “85 percent of the world’s economies have endorsed our goal of tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency by 2030.”
He explained he continued to engage with oil and gas companies to eliminate methane emissions by 2030 and align around Net Zero by 2050. He was also in discussions with heavy emitting sectors “to accelerate their transition timelines and decarbonise the energies they use today.”
Al Jaber used his address to call for a “massive scale-up in climate finance,” including delivering on the US$100 billion pledge to developing nations, recharging the Green Climate Fund, doubling adaptation finance and operationalising loss and damage funds. He also stressed the importance of multilateral development bank reform to make climate finance more available, accessible, and affordable and for market mechanisms to incentivise more private-sector finance.
“At the heart of all our efforts on climate action is our collective goal of protecting people, lives, and livelihoods,” He continued “That’s why we have put health, food and nature at the forefront of the COP28 agenda.”
“We are also urging all countries to sign the COP28 Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action and the first ever Climate and Health Declaration, focused on how we can feed a growing population without overheating our planet.”