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Climate negotiators get down to business at COP28 summit

Will Kennedy and John Ainger, Bloomberg News on

Published in Science & Technology News

COP28 is approaching the end of the first week and the kings, presidents and prime ministers have flown off. Now, hundreds of seasoned climate diplomats must get down to the tough job of negotiating a text that everyone can agree on.Adnan Amin, who as chief executive officer of COP28 is one of Sultan Al-Jaber’s most senior lieutenants, said in an interview there are several areas that are likely to test negotiators over the rest of the summit.

The tussle over whether the final agreement should commit to a “phase down” or “phase out” fossil fuels is prominent as always and different formulations are currently being shopped. But Amin highlighted two other areas, both key concerns of the world’s poorest and most climate-vulnerable countries, where consensus will be challenging: finance and adaptation.

Rich nations were supposed to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance for emerging economies starting in 2020, a milestone they appear to have finally reached two years late. The debate this year will lay the groundwork for a key decision due at COP29 on a new target for financing.

“To a lot of developing countries, the finance outcome has become about the restoration of trust in the process,” Amin said. “So the developing world will want to see some commitments in the agreement on finance.” It’s not just about getting to a number, according to Amin, who said developing nations want “clarity” on solutions to raise the trillions required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Developing countries will also need financial support to become more resilient to the extreme weather caused by climate change. Amin said there’s a lot of work to be done on the issue, known as “adaptation” in climate diplomacy parlance. Read More: A Flawed Green City of the Future Holds a Secret to Taming Heat

“We need to give some level of seriousness because of the impacts that countries are facing right now,” he said. “It's money, it's technology, it's different forms of international cooperation.”

But some western countries aren’t keen to offer more without commitments from developing nations to move away from dirty fuels. More than 120 countries are on board with a pledge to triple renewables deployment globally by 2030, though some of the biggest polluters, including China and India, haven’t agreed because they want softer language on fossil fuels.

 

“The Presidency understands that the language on fossil fuels is one of the elements they’re going to be judged on,” said Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s climate minister, in an interview. “If we were to achieve that it would be historic.”

COP28 Director-General Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi said in an interview that the final language needs to “meet this test of the 1.5C” global warming goal set out on in the Paris Agreement. “We know that [addressing] fossil fuels is part of that,” he said. “The pressure is on negotiators to show us what they can deliver.”

Amin said he has “a very high degree of confidence” that the pledge to triple renewable deployment will be in the final text. There are a few assurances some countries still need related to trade and protectionism, he said.

A draft negotiating text released early Tuesday would call upon parties to take further action "tripling renewable energy capacity globally" and "doubling the global average annual rate of energy-efficiency improvements" by the end of the decade — both compared to a 2022 baseline.

The COP can be a process for harnessing and accelerating the takeoff in renewables that’s already happening, Amin said. “The COP needs to capture that momentum,” he said. “It needs to help organize it and needs to give political momentum behind it.”

—With assistance from Jennifer A Dlouhy and Ewa Krukowska.


©2023 Bloomberg News. Visit at bloomberg.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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