COP28 President-Designate says Paris Agreement goal of 1.5°C is 'non-negotiable'

@teriin/ Twitter

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 UAE President-Designate, emphasised the need to mobilise resources and partnerships toward a bold and transformative approach to climate action.

Speaking at the World Sustainable Development Summit hosted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi, Dr. Al Jaber reaffirmed the UAE’s unwavering commitment to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius but stressed that progress was far from what was needed.

"Let me make one thing absolutely clear: the goal of keeping 1.5 alive is non-negotiable. It is also clear that business as usual won’t get us there. We need a paradigm shift in our approach to mitigation, adaptation, finance, and loss and damage," he said.

Dr. Al Jaber also recognised India’s prominent global role and noted that the country, which assumes the Presidency of the G20 this year, is soon to become the world’s third largest economy.

"India’s sustainable development is critical, not just for India, but for the whole world. India’s goal of adding 500GW of clean energy in the next seven years is a powerful statement of intent. And, as one of the largest investors in renewables, the UAE will explore all opportunities for partnership with India to contribute to its high growth, low carbon pathway," he explained.

Reflecting on the key pillars of climate negotiations, Dr. Al Jaber outlined priorities across mitigation and adaptation.

"On mitigation, we need to rapidly build the clean energy systems of tomorrow, while making the energy systems of today much cleaner. We must triple renewable energy capacity, double hydrogen production, expand nuclear power, improve battery storage, scale up carbon capture and enhance efficiency. And we need to accelerate an energy transition that leaves no one behind, particularly the 800 million people, across the Global South who have no access today.

"We need to transform food systems, that account for one third of global emissions. Embrace agri-tech to feed a growing planet on a limited carbon budget. And enhance water use so that everyone on this planet has access to safe drinking water. At COP28, transforming our food and water systems will be given the same attention as transitioning our energy and industrial systems. We need to advance on all fronts at the same time."

Acknowledging the need to support those impacted by climate change, Dr. Al Jaber pointed to the need to boost support for adaptation, and to embrace nature-based solutions.

The COP28 President-Designate emphasised that the step change in the climate progress needed cannot happen without accessible and affordable capital, noting that trillions, not billions, are required.

"A key enabler will be the reform of the International Financial Institutions and Multilateral Development Banks. We must mobilise much more concessional finance to unlock more private sector capital and target investments where they are needed most. As such, scaling and accelerating climate finance will be one of the key goals of the COP28 Presidency, and we will rally all relevant parties in an effort to get it done."

Dr. Al Jaber pointed out that progressive climate action represents an immense opportunity for the world: "An opportunity to create millions of jobs and invent new sectors, businesses, and industries. In fact, it will create the greatest leap in human development and prosperity since the first industrial revolution."

He reaffirmed that the COP28 Presidency would listen to and engage with all stakeholders, bringing everyone to the table and ensuring that no-one was left behind.

"In the months to come, myself and the COP28 team, will continue to listen, consult, and engage with everyone. Everyone from civil society, Indigenous peoples, the private sector, governments, women, and youth.

"Let’s unite everyone around a COP of action and a COP for all. Let’s remember that the world makes progress through partnership, not polarisation.

"And let’s follow TERI’s motto: ‘the best way to predict the future is to create it.’ So, let’s get to work and create a sustainable future together."

Following his address, Dr. Al Jaber was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award by the Vice Chancellor of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Prateek Sharma.

Its first-ever recipient. Dr. Al Jaber was awarded in light of his achievements and contributions to climate action.

In 2010, while CEO of Masdar, Dr. Al Jaber received an honorary doctorate from TERI University’s visionary founder, Dr Rajendra Pachauri.

Dr. Al Jaber also held several meetings on the sidelines of the event including with Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India Minister of External Affairs; Bharrat Jagdeo, Vice President of Guyana; Bhupender Yadav, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India; Naseer Ahamed, Sri Lankan Minister of Environment; Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development in the Earth Institute and Navdeep Suri, Distinguished Fellow of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

He also held a roundtable with several members of civil society including NGOs, multilateral development banks, foundations, think tanks and other representatives.

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