In preparation for COP28, the European Union climate commissioner and COP28 president have released a joint statement claiming ambitious plans for the upcoming climate summit, from completion of a global stocktake to financial contributions for a loss and damage fund.
COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber and EU Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra agreed that the upcoming convention should see the successful completion of the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement in order to gauge where countries and major stakeholders have met climate goals and find where they fall short. Tracking progress on Paris Agreement goals, according to the EU, should lead to a more comprehensive climate plan going forward.
Earlier this month, the UN Transitional Committee in Abu Dhabi recommended the implementation of a loss and damage fund that would support countries particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The two leaders reaffirmed support for this decision and noted plans to operationalize loss and damage funding arrangements at COP28. Hoekstra also reportedly will announce substantial financial contributions from the EU to the fund at COP28, along with financial contributions to the COP28 renewable energy and energy efficiency pledge.
Finally, the statement emphasized the need to enhance climate adaptation and build worldwide resilience against extreme weather events and other potential climate-related crises. The COP28 will establish a global goal on adaptation toward this effort, according to the statement.
COP28 Controversy Expected Over Loss and Damage Fund, Fossil Fuel Phase-Out
Based on additional statements from various world leadership groups, major points of contention at COP28 will surround the loss and damage fund and the potential phase-out of fossil fuels.
According to a report from The National, low-income countries have argued for a loss and damage fund for years. Wealthier nations are disproportionately responsible for emissions and negative effects of climate change, and poorer nations remain financially unequipped to face the brunt of the damage, such as extreme weather and pollution.
The report also notes that such countries are skeptical of the proposed plan for the World Bank to temporarily host the fund as it’s dominated by wealthier, western nations. The United States has also reportedly claimed that contributions should be on a voluntary basis and wealthy emerging countries such as the UAE should have to pay along with Western ones.
Phasing Out Fossil Fuels Likely to See Significant Discussions
Countries will also bring widely varying proposals for the phase-out of fossil fuels, which have been found to be largely responsible for causing climate change. Many countries’ economies lie heavily on fossil fuels, including the UAE–Sultan Al Jaber himself is an oil executive for Adnoc, a major oil company in the country. Countries with emerging economies may also face economic barriers in phasing out fossil fuels.