COP28 begins on historic note with Climate Loss and Damage Fund finalized

Dubai, Nov 30 (EFE).— The UN climate summit kicked off on Thursday in Dubai with a groundbreaking deal on how to compensate the poor countries most vulnerable to climate crisis with a Loss and Damage Fund.

The expected decision surprised many by being made just minutes after the formal commencement of the UN Climate Change Conference in the United Arab Emirates.

The resolution to operationalize the fund was promptly adopted by attending parties, and key countries, including the UAE, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan, immediately pledged financial contributions.

COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber said the decision was historic.

“We’ve delivered history today. The first time a decision has been adopted on Day 1 of any COP. And the speed in which we have done so is also historic,” al-Jaber said.

“Getting this done demonstrates the hard work of so many, particularly members of the transitional committee who worked tirelessly to get us to this point.”

The decision followed the acceptance of proposals from the committee, which had convened during the year to finalize the details of the new fund.

The significant move fulfilled al-Jaber’s call for an unbeatable start. He assumed the presidency from his predecessor, Sameh Shukri, with hopes of breaking attendance records, targeting around 70,000 participants.

In his inaugural speech, al-Jaber outlined his plan to “advance along unprecedented paths” over the next two weeks, seeking proposals and measures that demonstrate a new vision with maximum ambition and lead to tangible results.

Emphasizing that the meeting stands at a “crossroads,” he acknowledged the progress since the Paris Agreement, stressing the need for unconventional routes and flexibility to achieve the 1.5-degree Celsius goal to curb the rising global warming.

“Financing is a key point,” he said, expressing the hope that decisions from Dubai will allow the Global South not to face a trade-off between development and climate action.

The positive start of the day followed a sobering climate reality, highlighted in the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) annual climate report.

The report said that 2023 was on track to be the warmest on record, with record-breaking greenhouse gas concentrations and Antarctic ice retreat.

“Greenhouse gas levels are record high. Global temperatures are record high. Sea level rise is record high. Antarctic sea ice is record low. It’s a deafening cacophony of broken records,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

Taalas said the report was “more than just statistics.”

“We risk losing the race to save our glaciers and to rein in sea level rise. We cannot return to the climate of the 20th century, but we must act now to limit the risks of an increasingly inhospitable climate in this and the coming centuries,” he said.

The UN meteorological agency warned about extreme phenomena leading to devastation and despair.

The average temperature until October was 1.4 degrees above the pre-industrial period (1850-1900), nearing the 1.5-degree limit set in the Paris Agreement.

Despite potential data adjustments for the last two months, the WMO considers 2023 virtually certain to be the warmest in the last 174 years.

Additionally, it anticipates surpassing the greenhouse gas concentration records set in 2022.

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