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COP28 president-designate: Climate actions unity needed

Sultan al-Jaber, the CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., talks during the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Feb 14, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)

HOUSTON — COP28 UAE President-Designate Sultan Al Jaber on Monday highlighted the need for unity and solidarity in tackling the energy trilemma and fighting the climate change.

"This is a global challenge that calls for global solutions from every stakeholder acting in unity and solidarity," he said in a keynote address at the CERAWeek, an influential global energy forum kicking off in the US city of Houston on Monday.

As mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement, COP28 UAE is expected to deliver the first ever global stocktake, a comprehensive evaluation of progress against climate goals

"Let's unite a divided world with a COP of solidarity, a COP of action and a COP for all. All of us need to be pulling in the same direction. Because there is more energy in unity than division," he told the delegates.

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The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is to be held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), later this year.

"By 2030, there will be an extra half a billion people living on the earth, demanding more energy every year. At the same time, the world needs to cut emissions by seven percent each year to keep 1.5 alive – that's 43 percent in less than seven years," said Al Jaber, also chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

"The entire financial community needs to play a bigger role. In 2022, the world invested $1.4T in the energy transition. According to the IEA, we need over three times that amount," he continued.

Meanwhile, Al Jaber noted that only 15 percent of clean tech investment reaches developing economies, where 80 percent of the global population live.

"That's why we need to think seriously about fundamental reform of IFIs and the multilateral banks to unlock concessional finance, lower risk and attract greater private investment," he said. "We must ensure that no one is left behind."

As mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement, COP28 UAE is expected to deliver the first ever global stocktake, a comprehensive evaluation of progress against climate goals.

"This year, the world will evaluate exactly where we are when it comes to climate progress through the first Global Stocktake. And we know we are way off track. We need a major course correction," said the COP28 president-designate.

When asked about what he hopes to achieve at COP28, Al Jaber outlined the key priorities across mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, climate finance, and process innovation.

The term "loss and damage" in UN climate negotiations refers to expenses already incurred as a result of climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels or extreme heat waves.

READ MORE: UAE oil power farms the desert in quest for food security

"We want real results. The world must move from treaties to implementation. Solutions are needed inside and outside formal negotiations. It will also be a COP for all: inclusive of diverse stakeholders, accountable for commitments, and actionable on solutions," he said.

"Let's aim to achieve net-zero even earlier. Let's also scale up best practices to reach net-zero methane emissions by 2030," he said, adding that making a dent in the climate crisis is not just about decarbonizing oil and gas operations since aluminum, steel, cement, and many other heavy industries make up 30 percent of global emissions.

More than 7,000 participants including policymakers, industry leaders, company executives, investors and researchers from over 80 countries and regions around the world are expected to attend the five-day CERAWeek energy forum, according to S&P Global, the organizer.