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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Dubai: Leaders of developing nations jumped into Saturday’s second-day of a UN climate summit to press rich industrial countries to share their knowhow to fight global warming and ease the financial burdens they face — while trumpeting their own natural resources that swallow heat-trapping carbon in the air.
The annual United Nations Conference of the Parties, known as COP28, in the UAE featured about 150 presidents, prime ministers, royals and other leaders who are presenting their plans to cut heat-trapping emissions and mostly seek unity with other nations to avert climate catastrophe that seemed to draw closer than ever in 2023.
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Pope Francis pleads with COP28 to find breakthrough on climate change
DUBAI: Pope Francis on Saturday called on the UN climate summit to strive for a essential breakthrough agreement to stem global warming that includes the elimination of fossil fuels, saying climate had “run amok.”
The 86-year-old pope had planned to attend the conference but a lung inflammation forced him to remain in the Vatican. His full address was left with delegates and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin shortened it in order to remain within the 3-minute time limit for speeches.
“Sadly, I am unable to be present with you, as I had greatly desired. Even so, I am with you, because time is short,” Francis said in his message.
“I am with you because now more than ever, the future of us all depends on the present that we now choose. I am with you because the destruction of the environment is an offense against God,” he said.
“May this COP prove to be a turning point, demonstrating a clear and tangible political will that can lead to a decisive acceleration of ecological transition,” he said. – Reuters
“We are working hard to achieve a 55 percent emission reduction by 2030 as compared to 1990 levels. Malta has also achieved a lot in these past years but we want to be more ambitious and to do much more: Robert Abela, Prime Minister of Malta, said in his speech.
“Having the lowest gross emission per capital among the EU member states means that our efforts need to be sturdier. In the past ten years we have managed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector by 60 percent.”
“My country support the Paris agreement of the EU climate and energy including the goal of carbon neutral economy by 2050. We are taking steps to stop coal for electricity and heating by 2033. In part this can be achieved by renovating buildings and developing renewable energy sources,” according to Petr Fiala, Prime Minister of Czechia.
“I want to be clear that the success of our wider climate goals is fundamentally dependent on nuclear energy. This is a good thing as nuclear power is both reliable and clean so we should use its benefits.”
Jonas Gahr Store, Prime Minister of Norway: “Norway supports the call for global tripling of renewables and doubling of energy efficiency by 2030.”
Antonio Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal, meanwhile said: “Climate transition in Portugal will present an enormous opportunity. An opportunity for research, development, towards innovation. An opportunity of investment, most of them already engaged, with an amount of €85 billion in the next two decades, representing 35 percent of our GDP.”
“We need to do more to cut emissions, a lot more. We need to accelerate a green energy transition, scale up green solutions, increase nature-based solutions, and make sure those who pollute pay,” Katrin Jakobsdottir, Prime Minister of Iceland, said in her statement.
“But we also need to do less. Our economic systems focus on maximizing production and consumption rather than sustainability and wellbeing. And this needs to change.”
“Iceland supports the phasing out of fossil fuels and subsidiaries of fossil fuels need to end. We should not burn public money to cook the planet, instead we should scale up support for clean solutions.”
“We have cut our coal use by over 80 percent. We are growing our economy at a much faster pace than the Eurozone average while reducing emissions. In total, our emissions are down by 43 percent from 2005 as we turn to renewable energy, the best performance amongst European countries,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Prime Minister of Greece, said in his statement.
“To put it plainly, the world must fulfill its financial commitments. It is as simple as that. In 2022, the IMF reported that $7 trillion were spent on fossil fuel subsidiaries, yet the global commitment to $100 billion per year to the Paris Agreement continues to struggle for fulfillment,” according to Mark Brown, Prime Minister of Cook Islands.
“We need to do much more to curb climate change. However, we are doing the opposite. Half of the CO2 emissions emitted in the last two centuries have been emitted in the past three decades, and they continue to grow,” according to Andrej Plenkovic, the Prime Minister of Croatia.
“Today, digital is enabling our green reform. Estonia’s parliament has adopted a new renewable electricity target of 100 percent by 2030. More than tripling our level of renewable production,” according to Kaja Kallas, the Prime Minister of Estonia.
“We’ve seen this year, one third of the days of the year exceed 1.5°C, this is a death sentence. And the reality is, unless we change course, we are going to see far more lives lost and far more damage done,” Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, said in her speech.
Evariste Ndayishimiye, President of Burundi, in his country statement, said “Burundi has committed via the Nationally Determined Contributions to protect the environment, to strengthen resilience towards climate change, and to boost food security. This is infused in our national policies and our vision for Burundi. An emerging country by 2040, and a developed country by 2060.”
“Though I applaud the current status of loss and damage (fund) and the inflow of funding supports, it is our hope that the challenge on the accessibility to the fund is limited or is eliminated,” said Kausea Natano, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, in his statement.
“Tackling the issue of climate change is one of the key priorities in all sustainable development programs and strategies in the Republic of Angola. It is a critical concern and one that deserves special attention,” Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco, President of Angola, said.
“We are committed to changing our national energy matrix prioritizing clean energy production sources and we’re doing this through the construction of hydroelectric plants and solar panels parks, which means that more than 65 percent of the current 6,400 MW of energy produced in the country now come from ecological sources.”
“Developing countries have prepared a broad path for developed countries who rely on our resources and yet trample all over us and do not allow us to tread the path with them,” David Choquehuanca Cespedes, Vice President of Bolivia, said in his statement.
“There can be no climate justice climatic without understanding genuine life sciences. There can be no climate justice without recognizing that human intelligence is what is important not artificial intelligence.”
Over 110 countries set to join COP28 deal to triple renewable energy
A pledge to triple the world’s installed renewable energy by 2030 is poised to win support from more than 110 countries at the COP28 climate summit on Saturday, with some pushing to make the deal global by the end of the UN conference.
The European Union, United States and COP28 host the UAE have been rallying support for the pledge as a means to the sharp drop in planet-warming emissions needed this decade to avoid unleashing more severe climate change.
Whether governments and companies will rally the huge investments needed to hit the goal is an open question. While deployment of renewables like solar and wind has been surging globally for years, rising costs, labor constraints and supply chain issues have forced project delays and cancellations in recent months.
Getting the deal into the final UN climate summit decision would also require consensus among the nearly 200 countries present. While China and India have signaled support for tripling global renewable energy by 2030, neither has confirmed it will back the overall pledge – which pairs the ramp-up in clean power with a reduction in fossil fuel use. – Reuters
“It is still possible for us to reduce emissions this decade and for us to reach a level that would allow us to achieve the 1.5°C goal, however, science tells us that we need to step up the pace,” according to Olaf Scholz, the Chancellor of Germany.
“I would like to present the following three proposals for you today. First, let us make the expansion of renewables our number one priority in energy policy globally. Let us agree on two binding targets here in Dubai, tripling the expansion of renewables and doubling energy efficiency, both by 2030.”
“As long as we still have to rely on gas, we have to ensure that we produce and transport it in as climate friendly as possible.”
“My second point concerns our international cooperation. We need forms in which to develop common solutions for the challenges of transformation.”
“My third proposal concerns solidarity and responsibility. Already in the year 2022, Germany has surpassed its objective of making available €6 billion ($6.5 billion) per annum for international climate finance.”
“I’m also confident that we will also achieve our goal of making available $100 billion per annum for international climate action together with other industrialized countries.”
“We recognize that transitioning to a low carbon sustainable economy is not only an environmental imperative but also an economic opportunity; therefore, we are still committed to promoting the use of green and clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and eco-friendly technologies,” Mohammed B. S Jallow, Vice President of Gambia, said in his speech.
“This transition will not only reduce our carbon footprint but also create jobs stimulate innovation and improve the quality of our life of our citizens.”
“The government of Botswana has made a decision to increase renewable energy penetration from two percent to 30 percent by 2030,” according to Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, President of Botswana.
“As a developing country, Botswana prioritizes adaptation as it reduces the vulnerability of communities to climate related hazards and in so doing protecting livelihoods and ecosystems as well as enabling them to be more resilient.”
“As part of the eight Amazonian countries united in the Amazon corporation treaty organization, we are also committed to fight deforestation of the Amazon region. My country and people are forced to adapt to extreme dry and wet weather events which cause losses and damages,” Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of Suriname, said in his national statement.
“At the same time, we must respond to the legitimate demands of our population for economic development and diversification as we do through a balanced approach consisting of developing the natural resources through environment-friendly strategy by sustainable forest management and active protection of biodiversity and also by continued transition to green energy and other green innovations and technologies.”
“Africa which bears least responsibility in terms of emissions, responsible for just four percent of global emissions, but unfortunately, Africa is a primary victim of the direct impacts of climate change,” according to Faustin-Archange Touadera, President of the Central African Republic.
“Central African Republic has been classed among the five countries which are most threatened by the effects of climate change.”
“When it comes to determining who should pay for the climate bill, the answer is, bearing in mind the gap between developed countries which are the primary polluters and poor countries, it would be logical for the former to finance the mitigation process.”
“For four years now, the country is suffering from floods, droughts, excessive heat high temperatures, and irregular rain patterns. These climate change related factors have negatively affected the livelihood of our people the people are internally displaced,” Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan said in his national statement speech.
“That is causing subnational conflicts between the displaced and host communities. So, peace and security are clearly affected as a result of climate change.”
“We have come to this COP28 with the hope that we, the world leaders, will commit ourselves to the implementation of the provisions of the Paris Agreement.”
“Climate change financing to the less developed countries is very important so that these countries can implement their climate adaptation and mitigation projects,” he added.
“We are all now aware that climate change has an enormous impact on the fundamentals required for our survival on earth. It imposes developmental constraints and burdens on are already stretched resources and we, in Ghana are witnessing this phenomenon for ourselves at first hand,” said Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana.
“A few weeks ago parts of my country Ghana were confronted with the severe humanitarian crisis triggered by the spillage of water from our country’s largest hydroelectric dam due to unusually high rainfall patterns.”
“We encourage our international partners to support the V20 loss and damage fund, the global shield against climate risk, and ultimately the UNFCCC loss and damage fund to ensure the availability of robust social safety nets for the developing world during such climate crisis.”
“Africa is one of the regions with the highest rates of carbon capture and oxygen release in the world; yet, paradoxically we are the region which draws the least benefits,” according to Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea.
“In light of that it’s not enough, in our view, for developed countries to simply wring their hands and make empty promises. Rather, they need to fulfill their commitments and obligations under the Paris agreement that we achieved at COP21 and ensure the rollout and implementation of tangible concrete action to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change.”
“We issue an urgent call for renewed commitment at COP28 to provide Africa with adequate transparent and just financing going forward as well as ensuring the requisite transfer of technology.”
Mbasogo faulted developed nations for failing to deliver on their pledges to meet their commitments on financing for climate action and meet their own targets to curb their industries’ emissions.
“Africa is one of the regions in the world that sequesters the most carbon and emits oxygen,” he said.
“I urge the WHO to declare a public health emergency of international concern, the highest level of emergency that can be declared by WHO,” Jose Ramos Horta, President of Timor-Leste, said in his speech.
The Israel-Hamas conflict also loomed large in the proceedings with several leaders voicing sympathy for the Palestinians in Gaza as the week-long ceasefire ended, and vigorous efforts to extend the truce collapsed.
Israel bombarded eastern areas of Khan Younis in southern Gaza right after the truce ended.
“This year’s conference of the parties must recognize even more than ever that we cannot talk about climate change in isolation from the humanitarian tragedies unfolding around us,” King Abdullah II of Jordan said in his speech.
“As we speak, the Palestinian people are facing an immediate threat to their lives and wellbeing. In Gaza over 1.7 million Palestinians have been displaced from their homes. Tens of thousands have been injured or killed in a region already on the front line of the climate change.”
The high-level session was also a day of financial commitments, with host country UAE announcing the establishment of ALTÉRRA, the largest private climate vehicle, and a $30 billion commitment to the vehicle with the aim of mobilizing $250 billion of private-sector investment by 2030.
– with agencies
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