COP28 key for economy and climate debate, clear progress since Paris: COP20 President

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The COP28 UN climate conference is essential for both the economy and climate debate and has seen significant progress following COP21 in Paris, the COP20 President and Peru’s former Minister of Environment Manuel Pulgar-Vidal told Al Arabiya English on the sidelines of the event in Dubai.

Pulgar-Vidal highlighted how the climate conferences leading up to COP21 were a “political process” with little to no involvement or consideration of civil and non-state actors.

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“Now you can see COP in different fronts, things that are happening because of negotiators partly driven by things that are happening in different fronts. More non-formal political statements and more non-formal non-state actors are dynamizing the agenda and defining the pledges and commitment,” the former minister said.

Science as a guide to decision-making, the economy as a major factor in the agenda and a different dynamic in the implementation process are some of the visible changes as the to-do lists at climate conferences advance year after year.

“I am fully convinced that pretty soon we will start to talk of a strong climate economy. So, the way in which the world will define economic strategies, it will be with a strong climate consideration,” Pulgar-Vidal said.

‘Every COP counts’

Various civil societies, UN officials, and leaders have called for the decision-making at COP28 to hasten. The Peruvian ex-minister shared a different opinion.

“Some people are criticizing that we have to speed up the political process, but things are happening,” the former COP chief said.

He reiterated the need to take action with a sense of urgency but said that “this is a gradual process.”

“Every COP counts because in every COP we have to progress towards sending a clear mandate for the next.”

COP26 in Glasgow was about setting targets while COP27 in Egypt centred on implementation. The current COP28 in Dubai will mark the conclusion of the first Global Stocktake – an assessment of progress made since the climate agreement was signed in Paris.

“I am optimistic. I think that this COP in the beginning showed a good signal with the loss and damage fund,” Pulgar-Vidal said.

Happenings at COP28

Since the event kicked off on November 30, the conference has seen various pledges and financial commitments to the tune of $83.7 billion. These include the first-ever declarations on the transformation and health of food systems, declarations on renewable energy and efficiency, and initiatives to decarbonize heavy-emitting industries.

The World Bank announced an increase of $9 billion annually for 2024 and 2025 to finance climate-related projects, while Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) announced a cumulative increase of over $22.6 billion toward climate action.

The following is a breakdown of the contributions and pledges so far:

  • Loss and Damage: $726 million
  • Green Climate Fund: $3.5 billion
  • Adaptation Fund: $133.6 million
  • Least Developed Countries Fund: $129.3 million
  • Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF): $31 million
  • Renewable Energy: $5 billion
  • Cooling: $25.5 million
  • Clean Cooking: $30 million
  • Technology: $568 million
  • Methane: $1.2 billion
  • Climate Finance: $30 billion from UAE, $200 million in Special Drawing Rights, and $32 billion from MDBs
  • Food: $3.1 billion
  • Nature: $2.6 billion
  • Health: $2.7 billion
  • Water: $150 million
  • Gender: $2.8 million
  • Relief, Recovery and Peace: $1.2 billion
  • Local Climate Action: $467 million

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