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Surge of new climate partnerships, finance to tackle emissions at Dubai summit

Vishal Gulati

Dubai, Dec 7 :The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) has mobilised over $83 billion in the first five days, setting the pace for a new era in climate action, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Presidency said on Thursday.

However, civil society groups express deep concern at the pace of climate negotiations and demand ratcheting up of finance by developed countries as delaying delivery will cost lives and livelihoods in global south.

The declaration include the first-ever on food systems transformation and health, plus declarations on renewable energy and efficiency, as well as initiatives to decarbonize heavy emitting industries.

The Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter is a key initiative launched by the Presidency to accelerate climate action.

To date, 52 companies have signed up to the charter committing to net-zero operations by 2050 at the latest, ending routine flaring by 2030, and to zero out upstream methane emissions by 2030, a spokesperson for COP28 told IANS.

Speaking at the COP28 Presidency’s Flagship Transport Event on Wednesday, Nawal Al-Hosany, the UAE’s Permanent Representative to IRENA, emphasised the importance of delivering pro-environment, pro-people and pro-growth transport policy.

“Our strategic approach to the transport energy nexus is a testament to our commitment to decarbonise hard to abate sectors.”

According to climate action tracker by the host UAE, 11 pledges and declarations have been launched and received historic support at COP28 till date.

On day one of COP28, the Presidency facilitated a historic agreement to operationalise and capitalise funding for Loss and Damage, supporting those on the frontlines of the climate crisis with $726 million already pledged to date.

A total of $3.5 billion in new money announced to replenish the Green Climate Fund (GCF); $133.6 million announced toward the Adaptation Fund; $129.3 million announced toward the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDC); $31 million to the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF); and the host launched a $30 billion catalytic fund, ALTERRA, to drive positive climate action. The fund seeks to mobilise an additional $250 billion globally.

The UAE committed $200 million to help vulnerable countries through Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and $150 million to fund water security solutions.

The World Bank announced an increase of $9 billion annually for 2024 and 2025 to finance climate-related projects. Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) announced a cumulative increase of over $22.6 billion toward climate action.

The pledges and declarations so far include the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge endorsed by 124 countries; the COP28 UAE Declaration on Agriculture, Food, and Climate has received endorsements from 142 countries; the COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health endorsed by 133 countries; the COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate Relief, Recovery and Peace endorsed by 75 countries and 40 organisations; the COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate Finance endorsed by 13 countries; and the COP28 UAE Declaration on Hydrogen and Derivates has been endorsed by 37 countries.

Responding to climate coalitions and funds, Climate Action Network International (CAN), a global network of 1,900 plus civil society groups in over 100 countries, expressed their deep concern at the pace of climate negotiations and called for the COP28 presidency to step up leadership.

Liane Schalatek, Associate Director, Heinrich Boll Foundation Washington, said: “Without a significant increase in climate finance commitments here in Dubai there will be no trust, no ambition, no implementation going forward and certainly no climate justice delivered.

“What we need to see here is a ratcheting up of finance provision by developed countries but what we are seeing and hearing across the finance negotiation rooms is that developed countries are continuing to downplay, if not deny, their historical responsibilities and obligations.

“What we have seen here is a lack of ambition in finance pledges. Where we need trillions and billions what we have got so far is millions which is inadequate, unjust and it is an insult to the communities in the global south who need support now and not eventually. Delaying delivery will cost lives and livelihoods.”

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