COP28 in UAE: World leaders appeal for urgent action to save the Earth from climate catastrophe
“The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth.” King Charles’s words rang out at the COP28 in Dubai as world leaders made impassioned pleas to save the world from a climate disaster. Only urgent concerted action will prevent the looming catastrophe, they said.
As the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan delivered the inaugural address of the World Climate Action Summit, paying rich tributes to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a hologram of the Founding Father welcomed the world leaders.
Finance, the cornerstone of the efforts to revive the planet, received plenty of attention on Friday. Funding poured in from several countries, with the UAE leading the way.
Establishing a $30 billion fund for global climate solutions, which aims to stimulate the raising and investment of $250 billion by 2030, was the first of UAE’s announcements. Sheikh Mohamed, who disclosed the funding at the opening of the summit, said: “This fund is designed to bridge climate finance gap.” The UAE has invested $100 billion in climate action and renewable and clean energy and is committed to investing an additional $130 billion over the next seven years,” the UAE President added.
More funding for climate action
More funding from the UAE followed as it pledged $200 million to help low-income and vulnerable countries, and joined hands with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation UAE to commit $200 million to respond to immediate and long-term threats to food security and nutrition caused by climate change.
As the Loss and Damage Fund received more peldges from several countries, the United Kingdom announced a $2 billion contribution towards the Green Climate Fund that assists developing countries to counter climate change.
Stressing the importance of funds, COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber announced the COP28 UAE Declaration of Leaders on a Global Climate Finance Framework, setting out a roadmap for the future of climate finance. He said: “Climate finance is a critical enabler for climate action — but the global financial system isn’t delivering the available, accessible and affordable climate finance we need.”
World Bank raises spending on climate
The World Bank also chimed in, saying it will increase annual spending on climate-related projects to 45 per cent of its financing over 2024 to 2025, up from 35 per cent now, as part of a policy overhaul to better respond to climate change. President Ajay Banga said the Washington-based bank will spend $40 billion, which is $9 billion more than was previously planned.
During the World Climate Action Summit, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, Indian Premier Narendra Modi, Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Emmanuel Macron of France, Abdel Fattah Al Sissi of Egypt and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey took turns to remind the world of the climate challenges and the need for swift action.
King Charles calls for unified effort
Appealing for unified climate action, King Charles called for a public-private sector partnership and reaffirmed the United Kingdom’s commitment to tackling global warming. “Our choice now is a starker and darker one: How dangerous are we actually prepared to make our world?” the British monarch asked.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged fossil fuel company leaders to lead the transition to renewables. “We cannot save a burning planet with a fire hose of fossil fuels…The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels. Not reduce. Not abate. Phaseout — with a clear timeframe aligned with 1.5 degrees,” Guterres said.
Offers to host future summits
Brazil’s President Lula highlighted the need for concrete steps for climate action, harping on reducing socio-economic vulnerabilities in fighting climate change. “We are a unique species called humanity. Our first aim is to make the world capable of hosting all its inhabitants with dignity, not just a privileged minority,” he added.
The Brazilian city of Belem will host COP30, but there were more offers for future climate conferences, although the UN is still struggling to find a host for COP29.
President Recep Tayeb Erdogan announced Turkey’s bid to host COP31 in 2026 and called for a more just world. “Turkey aims for net-zero emissions and 69 per cent renewables by 2035, despite acknowledged challenges,” he said, calling for global attention to the humanitarian crisis in Palestine.
Offering to host COP33 in 2028, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked every country to fulfil their climate targets and work unitedly. “Today the entire world is watching us. Mother Earth is looking towards us to protect her future. We have to succeed,” he added.
Prime Minister Rish Sunak defended UK’s climate record and said he did not face any criticism from world leaders for delaying his country’s ban on selling new petrol and diesel vehicles. “Because most of their targets are less ambitious than the UK’s,” he added.
“We can be pragmatic about our approach to helping everyone and still be a world leader, but also make sure we prioritise the needs of people at home,” Sunak said.
French President Emmanuel Macron urged G7 to set an example to other countries and commit to putting an end to coal by 2030, adding that investing in coal was “truly an absurdity”.
As more calls for climate action resonated in the Al Waha Theatre at Expo City, COP28 officially became the largest UN climate summit. Around 80,000 participants registered for the conference.