opinion | COP 28: Emirates want to close climate finance gap

Posted on February 2, 2023 at 1:13 pm

The world is at a turning point for climate action, and the United Arab Emirates, as host of COP28, has a clear mission: to respond to the historic success of the Paris conference in 2015. The science is incontrovertible: the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees over the next seven years is impossible unless our emissions are halved.

First, the already significant consequences of climate change must be addressed. The livelihoods of billions of people, especially the most vulnerable, are directly at risk. This requires immediate mobilization to build resilience and adaptation. Therefore, COP28 will focus on the adoption of a new global goal in this area and will operate a Fund for loss and damage resulting from COP27.

Then, as President Macron supported at COP 27, financial solidarity must remain a priority. Governments, international financial institutions and private finance all have a role to play. There is an urgent need to close the climate finance gap that has long delayed transformation projects.

Private sector and civil society

Climate finance will therefore be at the heart of COP28, with the introduction of a wide range of concrete measures, reforms of multilateral development banks and major financial institutions. Expected liabilities amount to several trillion dollars. Emiratis are aware of these issues and their responsibilities.

The first step has been taken by announcing the composition of the team responsible for ensuring that COP28 meets these expectations. It will be chaired by Dr Sultan Al Jabir, who has led the emirate’s transition to renewable energy sources and helped accelerate the transition to more than 70 countries around the world. He wants an inclusive process that brings all stakeholders together. In this spirit, all countries will participate, as well as the private sector and civil society. Youth will be at the center of the process.

Responsible investments

During COP 27, the Emirates signed an agreement with the United States to raise $100 billion to finance clean energy in the South. The UAE delegation also announced new initiatives promoting responsible investment that aim to provide 100 million people in sub-Saharan Africa with green energy by 2035.

During COP28, the Emirates intend to multiply exactly this type of projects. The Gulf is one of the first regions in the world to suffer from extreme temperatures and water scarcity, making global warming a critical issue. Thus, we bet on innovative economic and energy diversification. While our prosperity once depended on oil and gas, today more than 70% of GDP comes from other sectors.

Green hydrogen and sustainable fuel

The transition to renewable energy sources is an area where we can lead the way. We have spent the last two decades transforming our country into a clean energy hub, including through partnerships with France. The Al Dhafra power plant, born out of a deal with EDF Renewables, promises to be the world’s largest photovoltaic site.

TotalEnergies, along with Masdar, is involved in the production of green hydrogen and sustainable fuels to decarbonize air transport. Minister Bruno Le Maire’s visit to Abu Dhabi this week is part of this trajectory with the launch of the Franco-Emirati Business Council aimed at deepening our exchanges in various sectors of strategic interest, including energy.

During this presidency, the Emirates will advance these important discussions and announce more pragmatic and comprehensive quantitative action plans, easing the burden on the countries most affected by global warming. Our ambitions for the success of COP28 could not be higher.

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