The 29th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) started in Dubai with high momentum following the pre-sessional consultations, with the opening ceremonies largely including the formal adoption of agenda items to set the tone for the next 2 weeks.
Jim Skea, Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), noted that the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Gap Report states that business as usual would lead to a 3°C-warmer world. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) highlighted it is virtually certain that 2023 will be the warmest year on record and, in 2022, atmospheric concentrations of GHGs reached 50% above pre-industrial levels for the first time.
In line with these global concerns, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell stressed the urgency of accelerated climate action and called for all NDCs to align with 1.5°C by COP 30, that will likely be held in Brazil.
The IPCC cited promoting gender and regional diversity, ensuring policy relevance, and using best-available science to deliver timely and actionable information as priorities for its seventh assessment cycle.
The Transitional Committee Co-Chairs stressed the delicacy of the consensus on the operationalization of the loss and damage fund reached during intersessional work as well. It was historic to have that consensus upheld by all that made it the first time a substantive decision was adopted on the first day of COP. Several pledges were made on Thursday, including:
USD 100 million from UAE
Up to GBP 60 million from the UK
Pending Congressional approval, USA announced USD 17.5 million and an additional USD 7 million to other loss and damage financial mechanisms
USD 10 million from Japan
EUR 225 million from the EU, including USD 100 million from Germany
One of the most awaited outcomes of the COP remains the status of the first ever Global Stocktake (GST). The GST was set out by the Paris Agreement in 2015 as taking inventory of the world’s progress and actions to the 1.5o goal.
“COP 28 President Sultan Al Jaber called for adopting a “no-nonsense approach” guided by trust, partnership, and pragmatism while never losing sight of the 1.5°C target. He said the GST represents a unique chance for increased ambition and action towards 2030.”
Interestingly, the President was accused of, and vehemently denied, a conflict of interest in media reports. Additionally, as per the Climate Action Tracker, UAE’s national strategy fell to the ‘critically insufficient’ rank while it hosts the conference.
We eagerly await to watch as the negotiations, consultants, and Global Stocktake unfold in Dubai over the next 2 weeks.
References: IISD ENB