DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Activists had a series of events and actions lined up Tuesday at the United Nations climate summit seeking to amp up pressure on conference participants to agree to phase out coal, oil and gas, responsible for most of the world’s emissions, and move to clean energy in a fair way.
The question of how to handle fossil fuels is central to the talks, which come after a year of record heat and devastating weather extremes around the world. And even as the use of clean energy is growing, most energy companies have plans to continue aggressive pursuit of fossil fuel production well into the future.
A team of scientists reported Tuesday that the world pumped 1.1% more heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the air than last year, largely due to increased pollution from China and India.
Protests — which are limited to “action zones” around the U.N. site — centered on phasing out fossil fuels and calling for finance to ramp up the move to clean energy.
Meanwhile, negotiations are well underway on the so-called global stocktake — a framework for new national plans so countries can adhere to capping warming to levels set in the Paris Agreement in 2015. A draft released Tuesday will be pored over by negotiators looking at how to stick to the goal.
Over 100 countries have pledged to triple their renewable capacity and double energy efficiency by the end of the decade.
COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber, who also leads the host United Arab Emirates’ national oil company, was on the defensive on Monday over contradictory remarks about phasing out fossil fuels. Al-Jaber said his remarks had been mischaracterized and told journalists he is “laser-focused” on helping limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.
Much of Monday’s meetings at the conference focused on climate finance.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who has drawn attention as an advocate for changing the way global finance treats developing nations, said global taxes on the financial services, oil and gas, and shipping industries could drum up hundreds of billions of dollars for poorer countries to adapt and cope with global warming.
“This has probably been the most progress we’ve seen in the last 12 months on finance,” Mottley told reporters about pledges to fund the transition to clean energy, adapt to climate change and respond to extreme weather events.
“But we’re not where we need to be yet,” she said.
World Bank President Ajay Banga laid out five target areas in climate finance. His bank wants to lower methane emissions from waste management and farming; help Africa with greener energies; support “voluntary” carbon markets such as for forest projects; and allow developing countries hit by natural disasters to pause debt repayments.
The multilateral development bank, above all, wants to boost its role in climate finance in short order.
“Forty-five percent of our financing will go to climate by 2025,” Banga said, with half going to adapting to the warming climate and the other half on slashing emissions.
“We cannot make climate only be about emissions. It has to be about the downstream impact that the Global South is facing from the emission-heavy growth that we have enjoyed in other parts of the world.”
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