COP28 Spotlights Global Warnings About the Pain of Climate Change


By Valerie Volcovici and William James

DUBAI (Reuters) – Leaders from across the world are poised to address the U.N. climate conference on Friday, with many expected to speak about the hardship of climate impacts unfolding in their countries.

In the day’s opening address, Britain’s King Charles is expected to warn that repeated signs of climate impact are being ignored, with devastating consequences.

The COP28 conference will also hear from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has made climate change a frequent rallying point, before world leaders including Kenya’s President William Ruto and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud take the podium.

Away from the main stage, delegations and technical committees set to work on Friday with the mammoth task of assessing their progress in meeting global climate targets, specifically the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures.

Scientists say that a global temperature rise beyond this threshold will unleash catastrophic and irreversible impacts worldwide.

The United Nations on Friday published its first draft for what could serve as a template for a final agreement from the COP28 summit, which ends Dec. 12.

The draft offers “building blocks” for a political outcome and includes several options for addressing one of the thorniest issues at the summit: deciding whether, and to what extent, fossil fuels should play a role in the future.

One of the options involves including commitments to phase down or phase out the use of fossil fuels, to quit coal energy and to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030.

On Thursday, the COP28 president Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber of the United Arab Emirates urged countries to work together with oil companies to reach common ground, saying that involving fossil fuel companies in the COP28 talks was essential to solving the climate crisis.

The summit also clinched an early victory by adopting a new fund to help poor nations cope with costly climate disasters.

Also on the table for discussion is whether to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, which totaled some $7 trillion last year, and whether to include provisions for carbon capture and removal technology.

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(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici, William James and Katy Daigle; editing by Miral Fahmy)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.


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