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COP28 opens in Dubai with calls for speedy action against climate crisis

The 28th session of the Conference of Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change opened on Thursday in Dubai, with a call to accelerate collective climate action.

The conference is taking place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a year climate scientists said is the hottest ever in human history.

Experts also say the impacts of the climate crisis have wreaked unprecedented havoc on human life and livelihoods around the world.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the climate summit, being attended by over 160 world leaders, including President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, will run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12.

The leaders are expected to take decisive action on climate commitments to prevent further impacts.

According to the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Simon Stiell, the leaders must deliver clear message to deepen cooperation and actions to reverse climate impacts.

“COP28 cannot be just a photo-op. Leaders must deliver – the message is clear.

“And as leaders leave Dubai after the opening summit, their message to their negotiators must be equally clear: don’t come home without a deal that will make a real difference,” Stiell said.

NAN reports that the 2023 COP marks the conclusion of the “global stocktake”, which is the first assessment of the global progress made in implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The assessment however seemed stark, showing that the world is not on track to limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C by the end of the century.

However, it recognises that countries are developing plans for a net-zero future, and the shift to clean energy is gathering speed.

But the report has made it clear that the transition is nowhere near fast enough to limit global warming within the current ambitions.

A report recently published by UN Climate Change shows that national climate action plans would collectively lower greenhouse gas emissions to 2 per cent below the 2019 levels by 2030, while the sign is clear that a 43 per cent reduction is needed.

“The reality is that without much more finance flowing to developing countries, a renewables revolution will remain a mirage in the desert. COP28 must turn it into a reality,” Stiell added.

Climate financing still stands at the heart of the expected transformations.

“Replenishing the Green Climate Fund, doubling financial resources for adaptation and operationalising the loss and damage fund are key to keeping 1.5°C within reach while leaving no one behind,” the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary said.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber of the UAE, who is the COP28 president. said urgent action must be taken to reduce carbon emissions.

There is no time to waste, he said, adding that during the conference ”every country and every company will be held to account, guided by the north star of keeping 1.5°C within reach.

“All parties should be prepared to deliver a high ambition decision in response to the global stocktake that reduces emissions while protecting people, lives and livelihoods.”

Similarly, Egypt’s Foreign Minister and COP27 President, Sameh Shoukry said: “It is of crucial importance to continue building on previous achievements, but more importantly to implement what we already agreed upon.

“We cannot achieve our common goals without having everyone on board, most importantly the Global South.

“We need to start delivering on climate justice and provide the needed tools that we already agreed upon in Sharm el-Sheikh for funding loss and damage, including the establishment of a fund.

“One of the major outcomes that has to come out of COP28 is for the fund to be fully operationalised and funded.” (NAN)

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