World leaders descended on Dubai Friday for the second day of UN climate talks. They are under pressure to step up efforts to limit global warming even as the Israel-Hamas conflict casts a shadow over the agenda. Britain’s King Charles III told the gathered leaders that COP28 must be a “critical turning point” in the fight against climate change.
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With 80,000 attendees, COP28 is largest UN climate summit ever
COP28 is officially the largest-ever UN climate summit, with 80,000 participants registered on a list that – for the first time – shows who they work for.
Until this year, those taking part were not obliged to say who they worked for, making it tricky to detect lobbyists and identify negotiators’ potential conflicts of interest.
Some 104,000 people, including technical and security staff, have access to the “blue zone” dedicated to the actual climate negotiations and the pavilions of the states and organisations present.
That largely exceeds the previous record at last year’s UN climate summit in Egypt, COP27, which had 49,000 accredited attendees, and where oil and gas lobbyists outnumbered most national delegations, according to NGOs.
This year, there are nearly 23,500 people from official government teams.
Iran delegates quit COP28 over Israeli presence
Iranian delegates walked out of UN climate talks in the United Arab Emirates on Friday in protest over the presence of Israeli representatives, state media reported.
The Iranian side considered Israel’s presence at COP28 “as contrary to the goals and guidelines of the conference and, in protest, it left the conference venue”, Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian, who headed the Iranian delegation, was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.
UAE president announces $30 billion fund to bridge climate finance gap
United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed announced the establishment of a $30 billion (€27.5 billion) climate fund for global climate solutions that it hopes will lead to $250 billion in investment by the end of the decade.
Dubbed ALTÉRRA, the fund will allocate $25 billion towards climate strategies and $5 billion specifically to incentivise investment flows into the Global South, according to a statement by the COP28 presidency.
In collaboration with global asset managers BlackRock, Brookfield and TPG, ALTÉRRA has committed $6.5 billion to climate-dedicated funds for global investments, including the Global South, the statement said.
ALTÉRRA was established by Abu Dhabi-based alternate investment manager Lunate, and COP28 Director-General Majid Al Suwaidi will serve as ALTÉRRA’s chief executive officer.
Britain’s King Charles III praying that COP28 is ‘turning point’ for climate
“I pray with all my heart that COP28 will be another critical turning point towards genuine transformational action,” Charles told assembled leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
“The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth,” said the king, a lifelong environmentalist, who missed last year’s COP27 in Egypt reportedly due to objections by then UK prime minister Liz Truss.
UN chief says ending fossil fuel use is only way to save ‘burning planet’
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told world leaders that the burning of fossil fuels must be stopped outright and a reduction or abatement in their use would not be enough to stop global warming.
“We cannot save a burning planet with a fire hose of fossil fuels,” Guterres said in a speech to the COP28 summit in Dubai. “The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels. Not reduce. Not abate.”
He urged fossil fuel companies to invest in a transition to renewable energy sources and told governments to help by forcing that change, including through the use of windfall taxes on industry profits.
FRANCE 24’s Valérie Dekimpe from COP28 in Dubai
COP28 draft calls for fossil fuels to be reduced or eliminated
Negotiators released the first draft of a UN agreement on climate action Friday calling for fossil fuels to be reduced or eliminated, setting up a fierce fight at the COP28 talks in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.
Divisions over the future of fossil fuels have already surfaced at the COP28 talks and proposals for their “phase-down/out” contained in the draft prepared by the UK and Singapore will be highly contentious.
Calls for the inclusion of explicit curbs on coal, oil and gas in a final agreement have gained momentum, but any effort to limit fossil fuel use will encounter strong opposition.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, Reuters, AP)