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CLIMATE CHANGE

UAE shocks COP28 with big opening day agreement

The annual UN Climate Summits usually start off with a bang of the gavel to get things under way. This year, COP28 gave a real bang, a good one, to start.

Update:
The annual UN Climate Summits usually start off with a bang of the gavel to get things under way. This year, COP28 gave a real bang, a good one, to start.
AMR ALFIKYREUTERS

Delegates from nearly 200 countries have gathered in United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital of Dubai for the UN Climate Summit COP28. The get-together focuses on keeping global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial average, achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and helping vulnerable communities adapt to the effects of climate change.

Normally, it’s the national leaders who show up for the first few days that build momentum for those in attendance to hammer out pledges for action and create impetus for laying out new goals and projects. This year though, the opening ceremony got off to a running start, delivering a breakthrough on helping countries that are impacted by the effects of climate change.

UAE shocks COP28 with big opening day agreement

On the first day of COP28, delegates adopted a new fund to help poor nations cope with costly climate disasters like deadly floods, droughts and heat. Known as the “Loss and Damage Fund” was established at the UN Climate Summit last year, but this year, nearly all the world’s nations agreed to make it operational.

I welcome the decision taken at the opening of #COP28 to operationalize the new Loss & Damage Fund – an essential tool for delivering climate justice.

I call on leaders to make generous contributions and get the Fund and the Climate Conference started on a strong footing.

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

There are still details that need to be worked out such as its size and who will administer it among others. But pledges for donations to the climate change compensation fund were already forthcoming.

Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, the president of the COP28 climate conference in Dubai said his country, the UAE, would contribute $100 million to the fund. He declared that the decision sent a “positive signal of momentum to the world and to our work here.”

Germany also pledged to pitch in $100 million - which was then followed by what appeared to be an ad hoc collaborative approach from the Spanish presidency to unite the EU with an aggregate pledge from the block of $225 million - while Britain offered $51 million, the United States $17.5 million and Japan $10 million.

While as generous as the pledges may be, the United Nations’ Adaptation Gap Report 2023 estimates that as much as $387 billion will be needed per year to finance the implementation of priorities in developing countries for adapting to climate-driven changes.

This is the first time that a UN Climate Summit has kicked off with a decision being adopted on day one. And it is hoped that the breakthrough so early on the Loss and Damage Fund, which poorer nations have been demanding for years, could pave the way for other compromises to be achieved during the two-week summit.

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