King Charles Urges COP28 Must be Climate ‘Turning Point’

Fri Dec 01 2023
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DUBAI: King Charles III addressed world leaders at the UN’s COP28 climate talks in Dubai, urging a “critical turning point” marked by genuine transformational action against climate change.

The monarch emphasized the collective responsibility to protect the Earth, emphasizing the need for meaningful progress during the conference.

The opening speeches included leaders such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. King Charles III expressed hope that COP28 would contribute to transformative actions against climate change.

While the conference secured an early victory with the agreement to launch a “loss and damage” fund for countries affected by natural disasters, the focus is now on addressing challenges related to fossil fuels. The initial draft of the agreement introduces terms like “phasedown/out” of fossil fuels, acknowledging their significant role in greenhouse gas emissions.

The urgency of addressing climate change was underscored by a UN warning that 2023 is on track to become the hottest year on record. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized the necessity of ceasing all fossil fuel burning to achieve the 1.5-degree Celsius warming limit.

Concerns have been raised about the influence of the energy industry lobby at COP28, given that the conference is chaired by Sultan Al Jaber, head of the UAE’s national oil company. Jaber, also chairman of a renewable energy firm, asserted the importance of including the “role of fossil fuels” in the final COP28 deal.

The draft text introduces a debate between those advocating for a “phaseout” and those supporting a less drastic “phasedown” of fossil fuels. Observers note that the inclusion of such language is a significant step, representing a more ambitious proposal than anything tabled at COP27.

Over 140 leaders, including presidents and prime ministers, will address COP28, where climate concerns share the agenda with discussions on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Israeli President Isaac Herzog met his UAE counterpart Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, addressing the conference on Friday. Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, initially scheduled to speak, withdrew, with the foreign minister representing Palestine.

The conference began with a moment of silence for civilians affected by the Israel-Hamas conflict. Herzog is leveraging his COP28 visit for diplomatic efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas. US Vice President Kamala Harris, representing the United States at COP28, will engage in discussions on the Israel-Hamas conflict with regional officials.

COP28 faces a critical challenge in navigating complex negotiations over the future of fossil fuels and achieving meaningful global commitments to combat climate change. The conference is a pivotal opportunity for leaders to demonstrate genuine transformational action in addressing the pressing climate crisis.



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