COP28 is about action, not politics and point scoring, says UN climate chief

COP28/Christophe Viseux | Simon Stiell, UNFCCC Executive Secretary speaks to reporters at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, at Expo City in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

United Nations, 6 December 2023

UN climate chief Simon Stiell said on Wednesday that COP28 delegates are not in Dubai to “score points” and play at “lowest-denominator politics”; they must take ambitious action on curbing global warming and ending the climate crisis.

Mr. Stiell’s strong message to government negotiators comes as the latest UN climate conference, running in the UAE’s main city, Dubai, since last Thursday, reaches the halfway mark with agreement on financing for climate adaptation and the fate of fossil fuels still up in the air. 

“All governments must give their negotiators clear marching orders”. 

“We need highest ambition, not point scoring or lowest common denominator politics,” said Mr. Stiell, who is the Executive Secretary of the UN climate convention, which facilitates COP28.

‘Good intentions won’t halve emissions’

Referring to the early ‘win’ on loss and damage on the opening day of the summit, he acknowledged that long-awaited deal had given this COP a spring in its step.

Find out more here about the Loss and Damage Fund.

But “it is just a start,” he cautioned, and added: “We would be kidding ourselves if we think it’s a tick in the box for finance and support at this COP. More is required.”

He asked the delegates to take an honest look at the real work ahead, because “good intentions won’t halve emissions this decade or save lives right now.”    

“We need enhanced transparency, and to deliver our promise to fund climate action across the world,” he explained.

‘Serious progress needed on finance’

Laying out his vision for the next round of climate talks, the UN climate chief said “only serious progress on finance can deliver frontline results,” which is the “great enabler” for climate action.

“The negotiations must put it front and center.”

Global stocktake

According to Mr. Stiell, the Global Stocktake is the vehicle to get climate action on track.

In simple words, the stocktake process will review how much progress countries have made – and identify where there are gaps – on reaching the goals set by the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Change agreement, and its outcome will lay the roadmap for an accelerated climate action for the years ahead.

Find out more here about the Global stocktake.

“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,” he pointed out.

“If we want to save lives now and keep [the] 1.5 goal within reach, the highest ambition COP outcomes must stay front and center.”

‘A bullet train for climate action’

Mr. Stiell emphasized that by the end of next week, when the conference is set to close, COP28 must deliver a bullet train to speed up climate action.

“We currently have an old caboose chugging over rickety tracks.”

He said that the technologies and solutions exist, and the tools are all there on the table.

“It’s time for governments and negotiators to pick them up and put them to work.”

More to follow on this developing story from COP28… 

The original article appeared here.

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