JWG via DTN 15 January 2023 JT and Rae have been reading the tar baby saga and are trying hard…
COP28 UAE Climate Change Conference
Failure of Cop28 on fossil fuel phase-out is ‘devastating’, say scientists
Climate experts say lack of unambiguous statement is ‘tragedy for the planet and our future’
The failure of Cop28 to call for a phase-out of fossil fuels is “devastating” and “dangerous” given the urgent need for action to tackle the climate crisis, scientists have said.
One called it a “tragedy for the planet and our future” while another said it was the “dream outcome” for the fossil fuel industry.
The UN climate summit ended on Wednesday with a compromise deal that called for a “transition away” from fossil fuels. The stronger term “phase-out” had been backed by 130 of the 198 countries negotiating in Dubai but was blocked by petrostates including Saudi Arabia.
The deal was hailed as historic as it was the first citing of fossil fuels, the root cause of the climate crisis, in 30 years of climate negotiations. But scientists said the agreement contained many loopholes and did not match the severity of the climate emergency.
“The lack of an agreement to phase out fossil fuels was devastating,” said Prof Michael Mann, a climatologist and geophysicist at the University of Pennsylvania in the US. “To ‘transition away from fossil fuels’ was weak tea at best. It’s like promising your doctor that you will ‘transition away from doughnuts’ after being diagnosed with diabetes.”
In a First, Nations at Climate Summit Agree to Move Away From Fossil Fuels
(NYT) Nearly 200 countries convened by the United Nations approved a milestone plan to ramp up renewable energy and transition away from coal, oil and gas.
For the first time since nations began meeting three decades ago to confront climate change, diplomats from nearly 200 countries approved a global pact that explicitly calls for “transitioning away from fossil fuels” like oil, gas and coal that are dangerously heating the planet.
The sweeping agreement, which comes during the hottest year in recorded history, was reached on Wednesday after two weeks of furious debate at the United Nations climate summit in Dubai. European leaders and many of the nations most vulnerable to climate-fueled disasters were urging language that called for a complete “phaseout” of fossil fuels. But that proposal faced intense pushback from major oil exporters like Saudi Arabia and Iraq, as well as fast-growing countries like India and Nigeria.
In the end, negotiators struck a compromise: The new deal calls on countries to accelerate a global shift away from fossil fuels this decade in a “just, orderly and equitable manner,” and to quit adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere entirely by midcentury. It also calls on nations to triple the amount of renewable energy, like wind and solar power, installed around the world by 2030 and to slash emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term.
The new deal is not legally binding and can’t, on its own, force any country to act. Yet many of the politicians, environmentalists and business leaders gathered in Dubai hoped it would send a message to investors and policymakers that the shift away from fossil fuels was unstoppable.
COP28 reaches historic fossil fuel deal — but some say too little, too late
(GZERO) The deal calls for “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade” but does not set clear timelines or enforceable caps. A similar commitment around coal produced at the conference in Paris two years ago has not led to a decline in coal consumption.
Not everyone was pleased, though, particularly leaders of small island states who say they don’t have time to spare for voluntary commitments and gradual change. Anne Rasmussen of Samoa’s delegation said “the course correction that is needed has not been secured. We have made an incremental advancement over business as usual, when what we really need is an exponential step change in our actions.”
Global climate deal calls for ending the fossil fuel era — just not yet
Island nations say COP28 agreement has a ‘litany of loopholes,’ but it marks first time nations have signaled the end of oil, gas and coal
(WaPo) The final agreement…explicitly recommends “transitioning away from fossil fuels” such as oil, gas and coal that are dangerously heating Earth. That pledge — an obvious step, given the science — is nonetheless a breakthrough for the U.N. climate talks, which require consensus on final agreement. It also comes after several major countries fought furiously to preserve their right to extract wealth from under layers of earth.
COP28’s final hours of climate negotiations
(Reuters) – The COP28 climate summit went into overtime Wednesday morning, with negotiators trying to reach a deal for this year’s U.N. meeting. Reuters reporters were on the ground delivering the latest updates, scenes and insights during the hoped-for final hours.
The plenary erupts in applause as the COP28 deal is adopted.
After taking in the proposed deal, country representatives started gathering in the COP28 plenary hall, where there is some chance the text will be formally adopted.
Reactions to the text have so far been mainly positive, with some exceptions.
The Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), which represents countries disproportionately vulnerable to climate change including sea level rise, said it was not ambitious enough, China said the proposal was not perfect, and several delegates said it failed to address finance.
Importantly, there has been no word yet from OPEC members on whether the text is acceptable.
30 Nov – 12 Dec 2023
What is COP28 and why is it important?
Explaining the key issues at the COP28 summit in Dubai
BRINGING THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TOGETHER AT THE CROSSROADS OF THE WORLD
COP28 UAE is a prime opportunity to rethink, reboot, and refocus the climate agenda.
Working with the UNFCCC Executive Secretary alongside the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion and the UAE Youth Climate Champion, I will strive to build consensus amongst parties to drive climate action. Together, we will prioritize efforts to accelerate emissions reductions through a pragmatic energy transition, reform land use, and transform food systems. We will work to mobilize solutions for vulnerable countries, operationalize loss and damage, and deliver the most inclusive Conference possible. — H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, President-Designate
COP28: Why it matters and 5 key areas for action
Climate change is ranked in the top 10 threats in the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Risks Report.
(WEF) As world leaders and climate experts make their final preparations for the COP28 climate summit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the latest data on the global climate serves as an urgent call to action.
COP28 has been organized around four cross-cutting themes aimed at tackling the causes of climate change and managing the impacts of a warming planet: Technology and Innovation; Inclusion; Frontline Communities and Finance. (13 November)
Cop28 live: draft text receives mixed reactions after calling for ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels
(The Guardian) Reactions from countries can take a while to come though and silence is just as important as noise. With the last version, the Pacific island states were among the first to comment, dismissing the text as a death sentence for their countries. The EU, Brazil and other states took much longer to publicly comment but still gave it the thumbs down. India and Saudi Arabia were among those that remained silent.
What are the key things to watch from countries?
First, is the language on fossil fuels and 1.5C strong enough for small island states? They have made it very clear that those countries are here to fight for their survival from rising sea levels, for which meeting the temperature target is vital.
Next is adaptation. Countries such as Uganda, who are expecting billions in revenue from fossil fuel developments, have made it very clear that they want financial support for the transition away from coal, oil and gas. Are they satisfied?
Finally, is the text too ambitious on transitioning away from fossil fuelsfor existing coal, oil and gas producers? What do countries like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, India and others make of the signal to end the fossil fuel era. Can they stomach it?
The organisers of the Dubai summit have been working on a new version of the global stocktake after the first draft met with strong criticism
At COP28, Indigenous women have a message for leaders: Look at what we’re doing. And listen
(AP) — With a sprig of leaves and rainwater carried from her island in the Philippines, Grace Talawag delivered a prayer and a blessing for her delegation and onlookers in a negotiation hall at the United Nations climate summit. The leaves included bamboo, to represent the resiliency needed to contend with climate change, and jade vine, a creeping plant that Talawag said “will climb any tree up in the jungle to see the light.”
The latter symbolizes her hope that negotiators at the COP28 talks “will listen to the voices of the Indigenous people” — especially Indigenous women who have traveled to the conference to share valuable insights into addressing some of the challenges of climate change.
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, a Chadian environmental activist and geographer, emphasized the importance of combining traditional knowledge with science to create effective solutions. “There is a need to get women from the Indigenous communities on the negotiation table because we have the solution and we are already implementing it on ground,” she said during a session focused on women’s contributions to building a climate-resilient world.
The Climate Summit Scene: 70,000 People and a Nightly Light Show
Outside the negotiating rooms, COP28 is part trade fair, part lobbyist jamboree and part debate tournament.
Australia, US and UK say they won’t sign agreement that would be ‘death certificate’ for small islands
Australian climate change minister, Chris Bowen, says umbrella group of countries is united in saying draft agreement is too weak
A group of countries including Australia, the US, the UK, Canada and Japan have said they will “not be a co-signatory” to “death certificates” for small island states, and have demanded a stronger agreement at the Cop28 summit to deal with fossil fuels and address the climate crisis.
A statement delivered by the Australian climate change minister, Chris Bowen, on behalf of what’s known as the umbrella group of countries, came as tensions flared at the United Arab Emirates over the text of a draft deal proposed by the summit presidency.
COP28 draft deal calls for ‘reducing’ – rather than ‘phasing out’ – fossil fuel production
The text prepared under COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber, the head of the UAE’s national oil company, was released on the eve of the final day of the annual climate conference in Dubai.
(France24) The document calls for reducing the consumption and production of fossil fuels in “a just, orderly and equitable manner so as to achieve net zero by, before, or around 2050 in keeping with the science”.
A previous draft on Friday included the word “phase-out” which climate campaigners, low-lying island states and the European Union have been pushing for.
Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the head of the OPEC+ oil cartel have opposed language that would target fossil fuels in any COP28 deal.
Cop28 draft climate deal criticised as ‘grossly insufficient’ and ‘incoherent’
Text now being considered by governments calls for ‘reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels’
(The Guardian) The text put forward by the summit presidency after 10 days of wrangling was received with concern and anger by many climate experts and politicians, though others welcomed elements of the draft including the first mention in a Cop text of reducing fossil fuel production.
The two words island nations are begging to see in a global climate pact
(WaPo) The COP28 agreement does not call for phasing out fossil fuels, the root cause of rising global temperatures, disappointing delegates from vulnerable countries
Saudis, Iraq stand firm as COP28 targets fossil fuels
(AFP) Oil producers Saudi Arabia and Iraq stood their ground at UN climate talks on Sunday as they faced pressure to drop their opposition to a phase-out of fossil fuels at COP28 in Dubai.
With less than 48 hours left before the conference’s official end, COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber invited ministers to give their views in a “majlis” — a traditional Gulf Arab meeting held in a circle.
While Jaber called the gathering in an effort to produce a compromise, warning that “failure is not an option”, countries held firm in their positions.
George Monbiot: Cop28 is a farce rigged to fail, but there are other ways we can try to save the planet
Inaction and self-interest are built into climate summits. Instead, we need a voting system that can’t be subverted by fossil fuel producers
… The only global negotiations that are organised like the climate summits are other environmental summits, such as the UN biodiversity conferences. When states want something to happen – trade agreements, for example – they use different methods. The failure of the Cop meetings is baked in. In 1994, Saudi Arabia, backed by other members of the oil cartel Opec, insisted that all general decisions must be made by consensus. Because this question was never resolved, the UN’s rules on decision-making remain in draft form. …
Since this horrible farce began 31 years ago, plenty of people have proposed reforms. The proposals fall into three categories. One is to improve the way consensus decisions are made. Well-meaning as these are, they’re futile: you can tweak the process, but it will remain dysfunctional.
Another approach is to replace consensus decision-making with voting, an option that remains, in draft form, in the UN rules. The obvious objection is that a majority would impose decisions on other nations. But this reflects a narrow conception of what voting could do. There are plenty of ways of ensuring everyone can be heard, without relying on crude binary choices. One of the most promising is the Borda count, a decision-making method first proposed in 1435.
China ‘would like to see agreement to substitute renewables for fossil fuels ’
But country’s climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, would not say whether it would support phase-out wording in climate deal
Xie Zhenhua, China’s climate envoy, would not be explicit on whether China supported or opposed a phase-out of fossil fuels, which more than 100 governments are pushing for at crucial climate talks, the Cop28 UN summit.
But he did indicate that he and his delegation were engaging positively to try to find a compromise on the contentious issue, which has become the focal point of the fortnight-long negotiations, now reaching their final stages in Dubai and scheduled to end on Tuesday.
OPEC Leader Tells Members to Block Any Climate Summit Deal to Curb Fossil Fuels
Haitham Al-Ghais, the secretary general of OPEC, warned member countries of “undue and disproportionate pressure against fossil fuels” at the summit.
(NYT) The head of the OPEC oil cartel, alarmed that nations gathered at [COP28]…are considering an agreement to phase out fossil fuels, has directed the group’s members to scuttle any deal that would affect the continued production and sales of oil, gas and coal.
In a letter dated Dec. 6, Haitham Al-Ghais, secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, warned all members that there was rising pressure at the summit to target fossil fuels. He called those plans “politically motivated campaigns” against oil-rich nations that put “our people’s prosperity and future at risk.”
The letter, which was first reported by Reuters, is significant because, under U.N. rules, any agreement forged at the climate summit must be unanimously endorsed. Any of the 198 participating nations can thwart a deal.
During the first week of negotiations, Saudi Arabia moved to block several proposals regarding a phaseout of fossil fuels, according to three diplomats who have been involved in the talks. The negotiators…said Saudi Arabia’s negotiators have simply refused to engage in any discussions about the future of fossil fuels.
Former Vice President Al Gore is pushing for changes to the U.N. rules so that agreements would require approval from a so-called supermajority of 75 percent of countries, rather than unanimous consent.
The Associated Press estimated that at least 1,300 fossil fuel lobbyists, a record, are in attendance, while a coalition of environmental groups examined registration records and put the number at more than 2,400.
Negotiations at COP28 climate talks ramp up as summit enters second and final week
(AP via CTV) The United Nations climate conference on Friday began its final week with negotiators expected to zoom in on the future of fossil fuels on a dangerously warming planet.
Discussions after a first week of pageantry and official visits now become more difficult, particularly when it comes to language calling for the potential phase-out of the use of emission-spewing fossil fuels.
Carbon removal is needed to achieve net zero but has its own climate risks
Kirsten Zickfeld, Distinguished Professor of Climate Science, Simon Fraser University and Pep Canadell, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Environment; Executive Director, Global Carbon Project, CSIRO
(The Conversation) Net-zero carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions refers to a balance between CO₂ emissions into the atmosphere and CO₂ removals from the atmosphere, such that the net effect on CO₂ levels in the atmosphere is zero. It is often assumed that if such a balance is achieved, the net effect on climate would also be zero.
However, in a recent paper in Nature Climate Change, we show that unless we consider a number of other factors — such as permanence of carbon stored in vegetation and soils, changes in the reflectivity of landscapes and the full suite of greenhouse gases emitted — balancing CO₂ emissions with removals will not achieve the intended climate goal.
UN climate talks near end of first week with progress on some fronts, but fossil fuels lurk
(AP) — Negotiators at a critical United Nations climate conference prepared Wednesday to wrap up their first week of work with moderate progress on some issues, with little time to make a bit more headway before government ministers return for a final week that will shape the planet’s path forward in the face of crisis.
Wednesday’s sessions were to focus on transport, the second-leading sector for the carbon dioxide emissions warming the planet, with panels like building out EV charging infrastructure and decarbonizing urban freight transportation.
Despite rapid growth of electric vehicles in some countries, oil still accounts for nearly 91% of the energy used in the transport sector, according to the International Energy Agency. And it’s a sector that includes hard-to-decarbonize industries like aviation and shipping, where cutting emissions will require big ramp-ups in production of sustainable aviation fuel, for airplanes, and alternative fuels like hydrogen for ships.
… Climate negotiators are zeroing in on exactly how to deal with the fossil fuels that are overheating the planet.
On Tuesday, negotiators produced a new draft of what’s expected to be the core document of the U.N. talks, something called the Global Stocktake, but it had so many possibilities in its 24 pages that it didn’t give too much of a hint of what will be agreed upon when the session ends next week. Whatever is adopted has to be agreed on by consensus so it has to be near unanimous.
Record number of fossil fuel lobbyists get access to Cop28 climate talks
UAE-hosted summit admitted at least 2,456 people affiliated with oil and gas industries, analysis finds
COP28: The climate crisis is also a health crisis
(UN news) Health has made it onto the agenda of a UN climate conference, and health advocates at COP28 in Dubai on Sunday said the topic was long overdue for discussion as climate inaction is costing lives and impacting health every single day.
Our planet has logged higher mean temperatures each year, with 2023 set to be the hottest on record. Ice sheets are melting at an unprecedented rate. Wildfires have made the air hazardous in some regions, while in others, floods regularly threaten to contaminate drinking water.
Against this backdrop, more and more people are being affected by disasters, climate-sensitive diseases and other health conditions.
WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told delegates at COP28 that it was long overdue for talks around environmental health, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers to include the direct impacts of such climate shocks on human health.
This first-ever dedicated ‘Health Day’ at a COP is highlighting several key events, including on public-private partnerships for healthcare climate action and on unlocking relevant financial and political commitments.
The Economist opines:
“It’s rare to have some good news to refer to, but this year’s COP climate summit, in Dubai, may yet produce some. Recent days brought the most serious pledges yet from rich countries for a “loss and damage” fund, to help poor ones that will be battered by climate change. (That was the project of Saleemul Huq, who died recently.) And over the weekend there was progress on tackling global emissions of methane, an especially nasty gas for the planet. Big oil and gas companies have agreed to almost end their emissions by 2030, and America will require those producers to stamp down on leaks. We have looked at why a combination of politics and technology are pushing oil firms to cut methane.”
On the other hand:
Cop28 president says there is ‘no science’ behind demands for phase-out of fossil fuels
Exclusive: UAE’s Sultan Al Jaber says phase-out of coal, oil and gas would take world ‘back into caves’
The president of Cop28, Sultan Al Jaber, has claimed there is “no science” indicating that a phase-out of fossil fuels is needed to restrict global heating to 1.5C, the Guardian and the Centre for Climate Reporting can reveal.
The comments were “incredibly concerning” and “verging on climate denial”, scientists said, and they were at odds with the position of the UN secretary general, António Guterres.
Al Jaber made the comments in ill-tempered responses to questions from Mary Robinson, the chair of the Elders group and a former UN special envoy for climate change, during a live online event on 21 November.
More than 100 countries already support a phase-out of fossil fuels and whether the final Cop28 agreement calls for this or uses weaker language such as “phase-down” is one of the most fiercely fought issues at the summit and may be the key determinant of its success. Deep and rapid cuts are needed to bring fossil fuel emissions to zero and limit fast-worsening climate impacts.
Al Jaber spoke with Robinson at a She Changes Climate event. Robinson said: “We’re in an absolute crisis that is hurting women and children more than anyone … and it’s because we have not yet committed to phasing out fossil fuel. That is the one decision that Cop28 can take and in many ways, because you’re head of Adnoc, you could actually take it with more credibility.”
At COP28, Cities Will Show Us the Way
Michael R. Bloomberg and Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr
(Project Syndicate) For the first time, the United Nations Climate Change Conference will allow mayors and governors to engage directly with national and international leaders, and to demonstrate how “subnational” governments are already delivering the solutions we need. The timing could not be better.
Nation-states, presidents, and prime ministers – those are the players who garner the biggest headlines and the most media attention at each year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference. Yet for the past decade, and with far less fanfare, cities, states, and regional governments (known as “subnationals”) have been implementing the Paris climate agreement’s guidance, even when their national governments have not. This has meant investing in clean-energy systems and other urban innovations to reduce emissions locally, and sharing what works through networks like C40 and the Global Covenant of Mayors to accelerate progress on a larger scale.
Something Big Just Happened at COP
Wealthy countries might finally pay for the climate change they caused.
By Zoë Schlanger
(The Atlantic) Today, on the opening day of COP28, the United Nations climate summit in Dubai, the host country pushed through a decision that wasn’t expected to happen until the last possible minute of the two-week gathering: the creation and structure of the “loss and damage” fund, which will source money from developed countries to help pay for climate damages in developing ones. For the first time, the world has a system in place for climate reparations.
The fund has been a goal of developing nations for years; its aim is to get financial support for the countries that suffer the brunt of climate-change disasters despite having had little part in causing them. Nearly every country on Earth has now adopted the fund, though the text is not technically final until the end of the conference, officially slated for December 12.
COP28 kicks off with climate disaster fund victory
COP28 adopts new fund to help poor nations with disasters
U.S., Japan, UAE among first to announce new contributions
Countries and oil companies urged to work together
(Reuters) – The U.N. climate summit clinched an early victory Thursday, with delegates adopting a new fund to help poor nations cope with costly climate disasters.
COP28 President Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber said the decision sent a “positive signal of momentum to the world and to our work here in Dubai.”
In establishing the fund on the first day of the two-week COP28 conference, delegates opened the door for governments to announce contributions.
COP28 President-Designate urges G20 nations to lead the way and demonstrate solidarity on climate action
There is still time for the G20 to show leadership, and I am calling on all of you to work with your leaders to drive global climate action in this critical decade.
Right now, many of the indicators are going in the wrong direction. Temperature records continue to be broken, with this month officially recorded as the hottest in history.
We are losing biodiversity. Agricultural land is being degraded. And food insecurity is increasing.
If we are going to make progress on adaptation, we first have to define what success looks like in terms of stopping biodiversity loss, restoring agricultural land, preserving forests, protecting coastlines, ensuring no-one goes hungry and safeguarding lives and livelihoods everywhere.
G20 nations should make transformation of food systems a top priority.
Your national adaptation plans and strategies should promote sustainable land use, leverage technologies to increase crop resilience, enhance nutrition and reduce the climate impacts of farming.
Doubling adaptation finance by 2025 is a critical first step but we need to look at directing a solid proportion of all climate finance toward adaptation responses.
Yet we must acknowledge that many vulnerable countries – in particular small island developing states and least developed countries – are already experiencing consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to.
COP28: How 7 policies could help save a billion lives by 2100
Joshua M. Pearce, John M. Thompson Chair in Information Technology and Innovation and Professor, Western University
As world leaders gather for the COP28 climate conference in Dubai from Nov. 30-Dec. 12, we would do well to remember that their decisions will be directly responsible for killing, or saving, real human lives.
(The Conversation) In a recent review of more than 180 peer-reviewed articles — which I conducted with fellow researcher Richard Parncutt — we found that a scientific consensus has formed around the so-called 1,000-ton rule.
The 1,000-ton rule states that a person is killed every time humanity burns 1,000 tons of fossil carbon. Shockingly, we found that a 2 C temperature rise equates to a billion prematurely dead people over the next century, killed as a result of a wide range of global warming related climate breakdowns.
These findings were derived from a review of the climate literature that attempted to quantify future human deaths from a long list of mechanisms.
Intermediate causes of death involve crop failures, droughts, flooding, extreme weather, wildfires and rising seas. Crop failures, in particular, can make global hunger and starvation worse.
More frequent and severe droughts can lead to more wildfires that also cause human deaths, as we saw in Hawaii. Droughts can also lead to contaminated water, more frequent disease and deaths from dehydration.
The 2022 IPCC Report predicted that drought would displace 700 million people in Africa by 2030.
On the other hand, climate change can also cause flooding (and crop failures from too much water), which also drives hunger and disease. Climate change drives sea level rise and the resultant submersion of low-lying coastal areas and storm surges exacerbate flood risks, which are life-threatening for billions of people in coastal cities who face the prospect of forced migration.
Ian Bremmer: Who should pay to fix our warming planet?
Just like every COP that came before it, COP28 will fail to resolve the central debate on “solving” climate change. At the heart of this failure lies a trillion-dollar roadblock: disagreement between developed and developing countries over who’s to blame for the problem – and who should foot the bill to fix it.
Controversies at COP28 and the future of climate change
For answers, we looked to Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerald Butts
(GZERO media) Global climate talks are kicking off at COP28 on Thursday amid revelations that its host, the United Arab Emirates, is using the event to lobby for fossil fuel production. On the one hand, no one is surprised. Climate activists were already outraged and suspicious that one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers was hosting a meeting meant to move the world away from their production. On the other, as scientists uncover that climate change is progressing faster than expected, are the few global institutions meant to be speeding up our transition to carbon neutrality actually working against it?
“I think that from a big-picture dynamic, the really hard issues still haven’t been settled. Like, what is the role of oil and gas in a net zero world and in a decarbonized energy system? Like, who is going to pay for all of the negative consequences? Or, who is going to pay for poorer countries to be able to absorb the most negative consequences of climate change?”
Former world leaders seek $25bn levy on oil states’ revenues to pay for climate damage
Gordon Brown leads those signing letter to Cop28 and G20 presidents calling for levy to help fill ‘loss and damage’ fund
The bumper revenues of oil-producing states should be subject to a $25bn levy to help pay for the impact of climate disasters on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, a group of former world leaders and leading economists has said.
Seventy international figures led by the former UK prime minister Gordon Brown signed a letter calling for the measure…. The signatories include 25 former prime ministers or presidents.
The letter is being sent to the Cop28 president-designate, Sultan Al Jaber, who is also chief executive of Adnoc, the national oil company of the United Arab Emirates, and to the current G20 president, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil.
Signatories include the former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon; the former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark; the former president of Malawi Joyce Banda, and the former president of Chile Michelle Bachelet, as well as scores of leading economists.
Petrostate windfall tax would help poor countries in climate crisis, says Brown
Former British PM calls for 3% levy on oil and gas export revenues of biggest producers to generate $25bn a year for global south
UAE planned to use climate talks to make oil deals
The United Arab Emirates planned to use its role as the host of UN climate talks as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals, the BBC has learned.
(BBC) Leaked briefing documents reveal plans to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 nations.
The documents – obtained by independent journalists at the Centre for Climate Reporting working alongside the BBC – were prepared by the UAE’s COP28 team for meetings with at least 27 foreign governments ahead of the COP28 summit, which starts on 30 November.
They included proposed “talking points”, such as one for China which says Adnoc, the UAE’s state oil company, is “willing to jointly evaluate international LNG [liquefied natural gas] opportunities” in Mozambique, Canada and Australia.
Revealed: Saudi Arabia’s grand plan to ‘hook’ poor countries on oil
Climate scientists say fossil fuel use needs to fall rapidly – but oil-rich kingdom is working to drive up demand
World stands on frontline of disaster at Cop28, says UN climate chief
Exclusive: Simon Stiell says leaders must ‘stop dawdling’ and act before crucial summit in Dubai
(The Guardian) World leaders must “stop dawdling and start doing” on carbon emission cuts, as rapidly rising temperatures this year have put everyone on the frontline of disaster, the UN’s top climate official has warned.
No country could think itself immune from catastrophe, said [UNFCC Executive Secretary] Simon Stiell, who will oversee the crucial Cop28 climate summit that begins next week. Scores of world leaders will arrive in Dubai for tense talks on how to tackle the crisis.
“We’re used to talking about protecting people on the far-flung frontlines. We’re now at the point where we’re all on the frontline,” said Stiell, speaking exclusively to the Guardian before the summit. “Yet most governments are still strolling when they need to be sprinting.”
Progress on climate change has not been fast enough, but it has been real
And the world needs to learn from it
(The Economist) The agreement at the conference of the parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which took place in Paris in 2015, was somewhat impotent. As many pointed out at the time, it could not tell countries what to do; it could not end the fossil-fuel age by fiat; it could not draw back the seas, placate the winds or dim the noonday sun. But it could at least lay down the law for subsequent COPs, decreeing that this year’s should see the first “global stocktake” of what had and had not been done to bring the agreement’s overarching goals closer.
[Why the Global Stocktake is Important for Climate Action this Decade]
As the world gathers in Dubai for the 28th COP, the assessment of the first part of that stocktake is in some ways surprisingly positive. At the time of the Paris COP, the global warming expected by 2100 if policies did not change was more than 3°C above pre-industrial levels. If policies in place today are followed, central estimates put it around 2.5-2.9°C, though the uncertainties are large. That is still so high as to be disastrous for billions. But it is also a marked improvement.
Highlights from the latest issue
(newsletter) At the forthcoming UN climate-change conference in Dubai, governments will assess how much progress they have made since the Paris agreement of 2015. This week, as well as assessing that progress ourselves in a leader, we also look at one climate solution which is not discussed as much as it should be: carbon-dioxide removal. All net-zero plans rely, at some point, on being able to take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere when further reductions in emissions are too hard. But despite lots of interesting startups and increasing investment, the technology to do so is still at a very early stage. Our special report looks both at how it might develop and what the ability to trade off emissions cuts against removals might mean for the economy.
Country Plans Insufficient to Reach Paris Goals: UNFCCC Reports
National climate action plans “remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement”.
Countries’ LT-LEDS account for 87% of the world’s GDP, 68% of global population in 2019, and around 77% of global GHG emissions in 2019.
However, “many net-zero targets remain uncertain and postpone into the future critical action that needs to take place now”.
(IISD) Titled, ‘Nationally Determined Contributions Under the Paris Agreement,’ the first report (FCCC/PA/CMA/2023/12) synthesizes information from the 168 latest available NDCs communicated by 195 parties to the Paris Agreement and recorded in the NDC Registry as of 25 September 2023.
According to a UNFCCC press release, national climate action plans described in the report “remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
The second report, on ‘Long-term Low-emission Development Strategies’ (FCCC/PA/CMA/2023/10), synthesizes information from the 68 LT-LEDS on how countries plan to transition to net-zero emissions by or around mid-century. The report is based on the submissions received from 75 parties to the Paris Agreement up until 25 September 2023.
How to Salvage COP28
(Project Syndicate) As the president of COP28, the UAE’s Sultan Al Jaber faces the crucial task of delivering on his promise to devise a plan to bridge the Global South’s annual $1 trillion shortfall in financing for mitigation and adaptation initiatives. He should start by endorsing a levy on petrostates’ windfall oil revenues.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai is just weeks away. But it has become increasingly clear that only a bold financing initiative spearheaded by the United Arab Emirates could provide essential funding and support to the Global South.
Despite being preceded by a summer of devastating droughts, floods, and wildfires that underscored the need for urgent action, the pre-summit talks on a Loss and Damage Fund to help the world’s most impoverished countries mitigate the effects of climate change have made little progress. The fund, it was decided, will be housed for four years at the World Bank – but there has been no agreement on the obligations of the historic emitters and, as yet, no substantial flows of cash.
The stark contrast between the oil-producing countries’ record-breaking export earnings and the millions of people across the Global South pushed into poverty by soaring electricity costs underscores this imperative. In 2022, the export earnings of OPEC countries alone totaled $888 billion, a $266 billion increase from the previous year. The six wealthiest oil exporters alone raked in roughly $800 billion. The UAE’s own oil-export earnings soared from $76 billion in 2021 to $119 billion. …
The Global Stocktake at COP28: Ensuring a Successful Outcome
(International Peace Institute) COP28 marks a pivotal point in the global response to the climate crisis, where countries will have the first opportunity to review and take stock of the Paris Agreement through the Global Stocktake (GST). This presents an opportunity to accelerate climate action and close the gaps needed to keep global warming below 1.5°C.
The Fault Lines at Climate Week
There are big differences of opinion on how to get the job done.
(NYT) Resolving the climate crisis is the hardest joint project humanity has ever taken on. On that much, the policymakers, activists and business leaders seemed to agree. But there are still big differences of opinion on how to get the job done. And in the meantime, the cognitive dissonance between hope and despair is enough to make everyone’s head spin.
“The future is very bright and every day is a freaking crisis,” Jason Grumet, C.E.O. of the American Clean Power Association, told my colleague Astead Herndon.
Divisions were most clear over the questions countries are set to consider in the global climate negotiations in Dubai this November: Is it time to start phasing out fossil fuels now? And how much should oil companies be involved in that process?
Al Gore warned that fossil fuel interests are trying to co-opt climate action, especially with a top oil executive, Sultan al-Jaber of the United Arab Emirates, leading this year’s global climate talks in Dubai. …
3 key outcomes from previous COPs – and the progress the world has made
(WEF) As we head closer to COP28 in the United Arab Emirates, the data is stark.
GHG emissions have increased by 60% since 1990, and all minds are focused on that hopeful and all-important word – progress. And, of course, on what more needs to be done to achieve it, given the number of deadly extreme-weather events since COP27 and record global-average temperatures setting us up for what is “virtually certain” to be the hottest year on Earth ever recorded, EU scientists warn.
At this year’s COP meeting, the parties will conduct the first-ever Global Stocktake to assess the future climate action required.
Here, we look at three key outcomes from the history of the COP summit so far and their contribution to global forward movement along the road to net zero.
1. The Kyoto Protocol
COP’s first significant milestone in the global fight to address the climate crisis was the Kyoto Protocol. This international treaty committed industrialized countries to reduce their emissions by at least 5% against 1990 levels in 2008-12.
2. The Paris Agreement
The most important global climate accord to date, the Paris Agreement, recognizes the need to involve all countries, not just developed nations, in responding to the global climate crisis.
3. The Loss and Damage Fund
Described by the UN as the highlight of COP27 and a “historic decision”, the Loss and Damage Fund recognizes the need to assist poorer nations that contribute least to the climate crisis yet are struggling with its impacts and access to climate financing.
POLITICO’S Special Report: ROAD TO COP
The COP28 climate change conference arrives at a critical moment – during a year that shattered temperature records and saw a wave of climate disasters, all while economic leaders grappled with the challenges of energy security. In this Special Report, POLITICO’s global newsroom will chronicle the key forces shaping the climate conversation in power centers around the world.
Who’s who at COP28
Biden and Xi will probably skip it, but the summit will have Lula, the pope and King Charles. And yeah, Rishi Sunak.
(Politico) The annual U.N. climate summit that starts November 30 has become one of the biggest diplomatic setpieces in the global political calendar.
Organizers are expecting more than 70,000 people to descend upon Dubai’s Expo City: activists, billionaires, presidents, Indigenous leaders, business executives, monarchs and diplomats from every corner of the world. A few will hold sway over the outcome of the talks. Some will make noise on behalf of vulnerable ecosystems and island nations. Some are looking to make side deals or burnish their images back home.
Sultan al-Jaber, the oil man in charge
Is he the least ideal person to lead an international climate conference at such a critical time? Or could he be just what the world needs?
For al-Jaber’s detractors, including more than 130 lawmakers in the U.S. and Europe, the United Arab Emirates’ decision to put the chief executive of its national oil company at the helm of the summit was a bad joke. … Others hold out hope that al-Jaber might be the ultimate “poacher turned gamekeeper” —able to command unique influence over his peers at the top of the world’s most polluting oil and gas producers.
The state of the planet in 10 numbers
A snapshot of the warming world, from sea level rise to fossil fuel subsidies
(Politico Eu) A summer that toppled heat records left a trail of disasters around the globe. The world may be just six years away from breaching the Paris Agreement’s temperature target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, setting the stage for much worse calamities to come. And governments are cutting their greenhouse gas pollution far too slowly to head off the problem — and haven’t coughed up the billions of dollars they promised to help poorer countries cope with the damage.
This year’s summit…will conclude the first assessment of what countries have achieved since signing the Paris accord in 2015.
Who wants what out of COP28
Our scorecard of what the most powerful factions of countries will be fighting over at the climate summit — and the obstacles they face.
New Analysis of National Climate Plans: Insufficient Progress Made, COP28 Must Set Stage for Immediate Action
(UNFCC) A new report from UN Climate Change finds national climate action plans remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Even with increased efforts by some countries, the report shows much more action is needed now to bend the world’s emissions trajectory further downward and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
“Today’s report shows that governments combined are taking baby steps to avert the climate crisis. And it shows why governments must make bold strides forward at COP28 in Dubai, to get on track,” said the Executive-Secretary of UN Climate Change, Simon Stiell. “This means COP28 must be a clear turning point. Governments must not only agree what stronger climate actions will be taken but also start showing exactly how to deliver them.”
A second UN Climate Change report on long-term low-emission development strategies, also released today, looked at countries’ plans to transition to net-zero emissions by or around mid-century. The report indicated that these countries’ greenhouse gas emissions could be roughly 63% per cent lower in 2050 than in 2019, if all the long-term strategies are fully implemented on time.
Current long-term strategies (representing 75 Parties to the Paris Agreement) account for 87% of the world’s GDP, 68% of global population in 2019, and around 77% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. This is a strong signal that the world is starting to aim for net-zero emissions.
Environmental Justice a Key Theme Throughout Biden’s National Climate Assessment
(Inside Climate news) The report finds that societal factors, including historic racism, have shaped the climate reality for many communities of color. It also details the impacts of climate change on Indigenous people, public health and agriculture.
Whether it’s the likelihood of living in a flood zone, lacking access to parks or having fewer resources to recover from a destructive storm, the consequences of climate change are not experienced equally in the United States. That’s a key message from some of the nation’s leading climate scientists, public health experts and economists in a landmark federal report released Tuesday.
COP28: a year on from climate change funding breakthrough, poor countries eye disappointment at Dubai summit
Lisa Vanhala, Professor of Political Science, UCL
(The Conversation) At the COP27 summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, an agreement to establish a loss and damage fund was hailed as a major breakthrough on one of the trickiest topics in the UN climate change negotiations. In an otherwise frustrating conference, this decision in November 2022 acknowledged the help that poorer and low-emitting countries in particular need to deal with the consequences of climate change – and, tentatively, who ought to pay.
This following year has seen more extreme weather records broken. Torrential rains created flooding which swept away an entire city in Libya, while wildfires razed swathes of Canada, Greece and the Hawaiian island of Maui.
As these events become routine worldwide, the case grows for an effective fund that can be set up quickly and help those most vulnerable to climate change. But after a year of talks, the fund has, so far, failed to materialise in the way that developing countries had hoped.
What is COP28? Everything you need to know about the UN climate summit in Dubai
(Euronews) After a record-shattering year, the world is looking to the United Nations conference in the UAE next month to put us on a safer path.
World leaders are gathering in the Middle East in a month’s time on a mission to curb climate change.
And as another year of devastating extreme weather has made deadly clear – from record Greek wildfires to Libyan floods made 50 times worse by global warming – we’ve not tackled it yet.
Scientists say 2023 is virtually certain to be the hottest year on record, as time runs out to keep global warming below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – as per the Paris Agreement decided at COP21.
So can our governments honour their previous promises, and seize the opportunity to put the world on a safer path? Here’s everything you need to know in the run-up.
The Global North Must Follow the Global South’s Lead
(Project Syndicate) A new generation of developing-country leaders is seeking to build a global consensus around reforms that put climate action and sustainable development front and center. High-income countries must now provide the necessary funding for these initiatives, including through a voluntary tax on record-high oil-export revenues.
With her ambitious Bridgetown Agenda to reform the international financial architecture, Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has become a powerful advocate for climate justice. But she is not the only world leader rising to meet the profound challenges we face today. A new generation of leaders from the Global South are making their voices heard.
Kenyan President William Ruto, for example, is forging a new path toward climate-positive growth in Africa: by taking advantage of its abundant natural resources and realizing its green-manufacturing potential, the continent could supply the developed world with goods and services to accelerate the clean-energy transition. In Latin America, Colombian President Gustavo Petro has called for a new Marshall Plan to finance global climate action. And Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, now in his third non-consecutive term as Brazil’s president, aims to tackle hunger, poverty, and inequality, promote sustainable development, and reform outdated global governance arrangements during his country’s G20 presidency in 2024. After a decade of protectionism and fragmentation, these initiatives seek to build a global consensus around enacting sorely needed reforms.
UN’s Global Stocktake Report Offers a Damning Report Card for Global Climate Effort
(WRI) Today, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) released the Global Stocktake synthesis report, which offers the most comprehensive overview of climate action since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, as well as a roadmap for governments moving forward. The first of its kind, the UNFCCC report is the culmination of two years of data collection and insights from scientists and technocrats but also businesspeople, Indigenous leaders, farmers, youth, civil society and so many others to evaluate the world’s efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions, build resilience and secure finance to combat the climate crisis.
The COP28 summit in Dubai, UAE, will center around how countries leverage the findings of the Global Stocktake report to keep the global goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C alive and address the impacts of climate change.
The path to COP 28: the Bonn Climate Change Conference
Delegates representing more than 100 Parties to the Paris Agreement met in Bonn, Germany, paving the way to some key decisions for the UN Climate Conference (COP 28) in Dubai, and for the years to come
(European Commission) Over the past two weeks, representatives from countries around the world descended on the former West German capital for their first full in-person meeting since COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. Despite significant frustrations in Bonn, regarding Parties failure to agree on an agenda for much for the two-week session, some important headway was made.
Parties and representatives of civil society used the meeting to focus on the challenge of post-2030 ambition, by advancing their work on the Global Stocktake that will conclude at COP28 in December this year. The Global Stocktake is designed to drive the Paris Agreement’s ambition cycle and will provide the basis for the next round of Parties’ emissions reduction targets for 2035 and 2040, as well as new efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to raise financial and technical resources to support developing countries.