March 2, 2024, Saturday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

We need to build a collective understanding halfway to COP28, says Simon Stiell

7th Ministerial on Climate Action in Brussels

The Nepal Weekly
July 18, 2023

Delivering keynote speech at UN Climate Change, Simon Stiell at opening of the 7th Ministerial on Climate Action in Brussels on 13 July 2023 said that “We are now halfway through the year to COP 28.” He is the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“When preparing for this, I was thinking about the progress of this year. I was wondering what it is that we have collectively building towards, each time we meet.”, he mentioned.

The Global public is looking at us around this table now and they will look again in a few months’ time. People are looking for the signal that we understand the urgency of the crisis and are collectively rising to the occasion.

He said adding “achieving development gains and delivery of fundamental rights or services” to the list of priorities, makes it ever hard to juggle.

Simon Stiell, executive secretary of UNFCCC

When the world landed the Paris Agreement, we didn’t have all the data and information we now do. We know now, that if we don’t save the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal, all those competing priorities will become a lot harder to achieve, he warned.

“Fresh out of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body meetings in Bonn, I was left with a resounding feeling that all Parties know what needs to be done. Everyone knows that if we all go at this together, as ambitiously as we possibly can, at the same time, not only will we be protected by our collective action, but we have a far greater chance of success.” 

Firstly, that the global stocktake is our opportunity to enhance action and the support necessary to achieve our goals. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity.Beyond the stocktake, COP28 will address a range of implementation issues.

We need an agreement to set up new funding arrangements and a fund for loss and damage, and to complete the operational arrangements for the Santiago Network.

Together, these would make the international climate change regime fully “fit for purpose” for addressing loss and damage.

We must complete the work on the global goal on adaptation, including establishing a solid methodological framework, to bolster adaptation at all levels.

We must also strengthen our mitigation work programme and make it more efficient in light of the urgent need to address the emissions gap.

We must address head on difficult issues such as fossil fuel subsidies, the phase-down of coal and addressing other fossil fuels.

The excitement the world feels about the energy transition conversation is palpable. We will leave fossil fuels in their own dust, as renewables take center stage. Parties have called for targets to be set to help us get there in Dubai.

The work programme on just transition established at COP27 is crucial because we must engage all of society in climate action so that no one is left behind.  We must still build the substance of this programme.

Negotiations started in Bonn last month, and a good outcome on the just transition in Dubai would be a key achievement.

We must demonstrate credible progress towards the long-standing goal of mobilizing 100 billion US$ of climate finance annually.

We need an ambitious replenishment of the Green Climate Fund, and progress in doubling adaptation finance.

Discussions on a new goal for climate finance and making financial flows consistent with the Paris goals will also be important.

And we must see how the international financial system responds to calls for reform.

In Dubai, we will also prepare for the start of the reporting and review process next year under the enhanced  transparency framework. Demonstrating support for implementation by developing countries will be crucial. COP 28 will also consider the empowerment and gender work programmes, which will be key to advance inclusive climate action.

We are continuing to work on ensuring greater accountability of voluntary initiatives by non-state actors, such as the private sector and cities, through our Global Climate Action portal. These voluntary actions will support the solutions-oriented outcome of the stocktake, delivering systems transformations to get Paris Agreement implementation on the correct course, Simon Stiell elaborated.

Similarly, UAE unveiled four-pillar COP28 plan in the meeting.

Calling on countries at this year’s UN climate summit to be honest about their commitments, COP28 president-designate Dr Sultan Al Jaber released a four-pillar action plan to fast-track a responsible energy transition, fix climate finance, focus on people, lives and livelihoods in adaptation efforts, and make COP fully inclusive.

Speaking at the Ministerial on Climate Action in Brussels, convened by the environment ministers of the European Union, Canada, and China, Dr Jaber said it was time to challenge financial models built for the last century and break down silos in industries and governments that slow down progress to a low-carbon economy.

“We are at the midway point between Paris and 2030, but we are nowhere near close enough to our destination. We have to face facts. The incremental steps taken so far to address the climate crisis are not meeting the urgency of the moment,” he said. “Today I am calling on all of us to disrupt business as usual, unite around decisive action and achieve game-changing results.”

“We must be brutally honest about the gaps that need to be filled, the root causes and how we got to this place here today,” Jaber said. “Then we must apply a far-reaching, forward-looking, action-oriented and comprehensive response to address these gaps practically.”

Describing the central purpose of his plan, Dr Jaber said: “This plan is guided by a single north star. And that is keeping 1.5 within reach. To do this, we aim to match the highest ambition for the negotiated outcomes with an equally strong and robust action agenda that can implement those outcomes in the real world.” The COP president-designate called on countries to update their Nationally Determined Contributions ahead of COP28, to ensure alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement.

“We need to use every emission-busting tool available, including nuclear, battery storage and carbon capture and removal technologies, especially for the hardest to abate sectors,” the President-Designate said.

He urged a “comprehensive transformation” of climate finance instead of “piecemeal reform”, with a special focus on supporting “climate-positive development” across the Global South to ensure that developing nations can have access to affordable and available climate finance to drive a just transition.

The COP28 presidency is already working with the IMF, the World Bank and GFANZ to unlock the power of the capital markets, standardise voluntary carbon markets and incentivise private capital and finance.

To help the world’s most vulnerable withstand the impact of climate change, he called on donors to double adaptation finance by 2025, emphasizing the urgency for donor countries to honour their commitments and close out the $100 billion pledge this year. (Agencies)