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COP28 opens today with calls for accelerated action against the climate crisis

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President and Group CEO of ADNOC. (Image source: COP28 Livestream)

The 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) opened today in Expo City in Dubai

At the opening ceremony, the COP Presidency was officially passed to Dr. Sultan Al Jaber from his predecessor, Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry, as the UAE prepares for two weeks of intensive climate negotiations. Following the opening ceremony, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber and the COP28 Presidency, along with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, delivered remarks at the COP28 opening press conference.

"Since Paris [the Paris Accord], we have made some progress. But we also know that the road we have been on will not get us to our destination in time," said Al Jaber, adding that the new road to protecting the climate "starts with a decision on the global stocktake". 

"We must look for ways and ensure the inclusion of the role of fossil fuels. I know there are strong views about the idea of including language on fossil fuels and renewables in the negotiation texts."

"We all know that a key success factor across climate agenda is finance. And for too long, finance has not been available, accessible or affordable. This presidency is committed to unlocking finance to ensure that the global south does not have to choose between development and climate action."

The COP28 reached a consession on the Loss and Damage Fund within an hour. The UAE will give US$100mn. Collectively, governments across the world will give US$420mn towards the fund. This is after the UN's report published earlier this year, which stated that rich countries will need to deliver US$200-400bn a year to help climate victims through a loss and damage fund.

On the sidelines of the event, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Majesty King Charles III, launched the COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum. Convening more than 1,000 CEOs and philanthropists from over 80 countries, the Forum is being held alongside the World Climate Action Summit.

During the event, Al Jaber, who is also the CEO of ADNOC, met with Bhupender Yadav, India’s Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. He also met the Chinese delegation and joined them for the inauguration of the China pavilion.