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COP28 summit: Parties adopt agenda on opening day

ByJayashree Nandi
Nov 30, 2023 06:48 PM IST

COP28 officially runs from 30 November to 12 December. Jaber said that the UAE, despite being heavily dependent on fossil fuels, has engaged with oil and gas companies to reduce their emission footprint

New Delhi: Parties to the 2023 United Nations climate change conference on Thursday adopted the COP28 Presidency’s negotiations agenda on the opening day.

UAE is hosting the COP28 Summit in Dubai (AP Photo)
UAE is hosting the COP28 Summit in Dubai (AP Photo)

The UN climate conference began in Dubai on Thursday with nations urging to increase the pace of action on global warming and phase out fossil fuels, amid intense scrutiny of oil-rich hosts UAE.

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“The approval demonstrates a first step in aligning parties and forming a unified front in the face of climate change. The milestone followed the Presidency’s listening tour and is a testament to the Presidency’s efficiency and efficacy in promoting collaboration, cooperation, and unity in climate action,” the COP28 Presidency, UAE said in a statement on Thursday.

There were several requests by developing countries to include trade and protectionism, mountains, and equity, among others. However, the UAE convinced parties to have separate consultations on those issues.

Also Read: Virtually certain that 2023 will be warmest year: WMO

Conclusion of the global stocktake, operationalising the loss and damage fund, and climate finance in particular delivery of the long-promised 100 billion dollars, are among agenda items at the summit.

UAE’s COP28 President Designate and group chief executive officer of state oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation (ADNOC), Sultan Al Jaber, officially assumed the role of COP28 President in a ceremony to mark the official transfer of the role from his predecessor, Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry.

In his opening remarks, Jaber said countries have strong views on the language associated with fossil fuels and renewable energy but called for a consensus on future energy systems.

“I know there are strong views about the idea of including language on fossil fuels and renewables in the negotiated text. We have the power to do something unprecedented. I ask you to work together,” he urged delegates.

COP28 officially runs from 30 November to 12 December. Jaber said that the UAE, despite being heavily dependent on fossil fuels, has engaged with oil and gas companies to reduce their emission footprint.

“Let history reflect the fact that this is the Presidency that made a bold choice to proactively engage with oil and gas companies. We had many discussions. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. But now, many of these companies are committing to zeroing out methane emissions by 2030 for the first time. And many national oil companies have adopted net zero 2050 targets for the first time,” he said.

“The science has spoken. It has confirmed the moment is now to find a new road, a road wide enough for all of us, free of the obstacles and detours of the past. That new road starts with a decision on the Global Stocktake, a decision that is ambitious, corrects course and accelerates action to 2030,” Jaber added.

Also Read: US supports phasing out ‘unabated’ fossil fuels: US Climate envoy

“I pledge that I will run an inclusive and transparent process, one that encourages free and open discussion between all parties...we may be a young nation – but we have big ambitions, and hold fast to principles like collaboration, optimism, true partnership, determination and commitment. These are the ingredients that make up the DNA of the UAE. And it’s these core values of trust, purpose, partnership and pragmatism that I believe must define COP28,” Jaber said.

“We decide at what point we will have made everyone on the planet safe and resilient. We decide to fund this transition properly including the response to loss and damage. And We decide to commit to a new energy system,” underscored Simon Steill, UNFCCC executive secretary.

“If we do not signal the terminal decline of the fossil fuel era as we know it, we welcome our own terminal decline. And we choose to pay with people’s lives. If this transition isn’t just, we won’t transition at all. That means justice within and between countries sharing benefits across society,” he added.

The UN and the hosts – the United Arab Emirates, say the COP28 summit will be the most important since Paris in 2015, when nations agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius since the preindustrial era, and preferably to a safer limit of 1.5C.

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