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Dubai: UN climate chief Simon Stiell has urged negotiators at the COP28 conference to reach an ambitious deal by next week to ensure the world meets its targets on global warming.

“On the Global Stocktake, we have a starting text on the table … But it’s a grab bag of wish lists and heavy on posturing.

“The key now is to sort the wheat from the chaff. If we want to save lives now and keep [the] 1.5 goals within reach, the highest ambition COP outcomes must stay front and centre,” said the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change during a press briefing on Wednesday.

Stiell called a press conference as countries were sharply divided over the fate of fossil fuels in a new draft agreement, with a week left for negotiators to reach a deal.

The second draft, published by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Tuesday, could be the final agreement from the climate summit. It shows negotiators are considering calling for an ‘orderly and just’ phase-out of fossil fuels.

The negotiations are part of the ‘global stocktake process, in which nearly 200 nations are trying to agree on plans to curb rising global temperatures.

Commenting on the draft text, Stiell said, “There are many options on the table right now which speak to the phasing out of fossil fuels. It is for Parties to unpick that and come up with a very clear statement that signals the terminal decline of the fossil fuel era as we know it.”

‘COP has to deliver bullet train to speed by next week’

Bullet train

“At the end of next week, we need COP to deliver a bullet train to speed up climate action. We currently have an old caboose chugging over rickety tracks. But the tools are on the table, and the technologies and solutions exist.

“It is time for governments and negotiators to pick them up and put them to work,” said Stiell.

“The win on Loss and Damage here in Dubai gave this COP a spring in its step,” he added.

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On day one of COP28, the Presidency facilitated an agreement to operationalise and capitalise funding for Loss and Damage, supporting those on the front lines of the climate crisis with $726 million already pledged to date. Stiell said that while finance is the great enabler for climate action, the negotiations must put it front and centre.

“Now all governments must give their negotiators clear marching orders: we need the highest ambition, not point-scoring or lowest common denominator politics. The Global Stocktake is the vehicle to get climate action on track,” he added.

Loss and Damage Fund

“Loss and damage was a win, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think it’s a tick in the box for finance and support at this COP; more is required. We need enhanced transparency and to deliver our promise to fund climate action worldwide,” he stated.

Stiell also urged negotiators not to lose focus on the Global Goal for Adaptation — a collective commitment under Article 7.1 of the Paris Agreement aimed at ‘enhancing [the world’s] adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.

“Eight billion people are on the frontlines. Right now, only 50 countries have National Adaptation Plans,” he said.