Pledges made so far at the COP28 climate talks

AFP , Saturday 2 Dec 2023

The COP28 climate talks in Dubai have kicked off with a flurry of financial commitments for action on global warming, led by its big-spending, oil-rich host the United Arab Emirates.

Participating world leaders and delegates pose for a family photo during the COP28 United Nations cl
Participating world leaders and delegates pose for a family photo during the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai, Dec. , 2023. AFP


But observers have warned that the headline-grabbing -- but voluntary -- pledges promoted by the UAE could distract from the more challenging work of negotiating a formal COP28 text at the climax of the two-week talks.

As pressure builds during what is expected to be the hottest year on record, here are some major funding pledges and declarations announced so far at COP28.

Loss and damage 

The first day of the talks saw the official launch of a "loss and damage" fund to help vulnerable countries cope with the increasingly costly and damaging impacts of climate disasters.

Thursday's agreement came with pledges of $100 million each from the UAE and Germany, $109 million from France, $50 million from Britain, $25 million from Denmark and $17.5 million from the United States, the world's biggest oil and gas producer.

The total committed so far is a little over $576 million, according to a tally by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group.

That falls vastly short of the $100 billion a year that developing nations -- which have historically been least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions -- have said are needed to cover losses from natural disasters.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told the summit that "we need to mobilize funding on a far greater scale".

Campaigners said the US offering was woefully inadequate from the world's biggest historical polluter.

Bineshi Albert of the Climate Justice Alliance called it "insulting".

"It is a paltry, shameful amount of money that shows the US is completely uninterested in prioritizing or being accountable to the climate impacts frontline communities are facing," she said.

Food and farming 

More than 130 countries have agreed to prioritize food and agriculture systems in their national climate plans, it was announced on Friday.

The non-binding declaration was welcomed by observers as putting food systems -- which are estimated to be responsible for roughly a third of human-made greenhouse gases -- in the spotlight.

But some criticized it for lacking concrete goals -- and not mentioning fossil fuels or signaling any change to more sustainable diets.

UAE Climate Investment fund 

The UAE announced on Friday it would put $30 billion into a new private climate investment fund.

The oil-rich COP28 host said that the fund, called Alterra, would partly try to focus on climate projects in the developing world, and hoped to stimulate investments totalling $250 billion by 2030.

Tripling renewables?

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday that more than 110 countries want to adopt the goal of tripling renewable energy capacity and doubling the annual rate of energy efficiency improvements worldwide by 2030.

G20 nations, which account for nearly 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, paved the way for a deal when they endorsed the renewable energy goal in September.

An announcement about the target is expected on Saturday.

While supporters are expected to push for the pledge to be included in the final outcome of the talks, there are fears that the COP28 hosts were willing to shunt the more ambitious targets into voluntary deals.

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