Dubai, November 30


s global leaders prepare to participate in the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP28 (the 28th Conference of the Parties) in Dubai, starting this Thursday, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry stated that not everybody is doing what they promised, and emphasized the need for accountability during this year's COP.

In an online press briefing ahead of COP28 on Wednesday, the US climate envoy highlighted that if all the promises from Glasgow and Sharm el-Sheikh were fulfilled, the world could experience either 1.8 degrees or 1.7 degrees of warming by 2050.

He also expressed concern about the lack of follow-through by some nations. "...Also we know from the IEA (International Energy Agency) that if all the promises of Glasgow were fulfilled and all the promises of Sharma el-Sheikh were fulfilled, you could be by 2050 at either 1.8 degrees or 1.7 degrees. So it shows that with this effort, things could be within grasp. They're not completely for the simple reason that not everybody is doing what they promised to do. And needless to say, that's a problem. And we need to have accountability at this Cop for that lack of follow-through by some," he said.

Kerry expressed concern about the lack of follow-through by some nations and stressed the importance of strong outcomes on key issues like the global stocktake, adaptation report, and the establishment of the loss and damage fund.

He underlined the need for the global stocktake to be candid, strong, visionary, and comprehensive.

"Those three mandated issues are, first of all, the global stocktake, which will be a very important document in our judgment. Secondly, the adaptation report that will be coming through and thirdly, the standing up of the loss and damage fund itself. In addition, it provides further guidance going forward to advance the Paris Agreement's goal of adaptation. I want to underscore, that I think this global stocktake needs to earn the credibility of the world by being candid, strong, visionary, and comprehensive. It needs to lay out for the world what's happened since Paris. The measurement of the stock date begins with Paris and it goes forward from there...But strong decisions in those three areas that I mentioned are a key measurement of the success of this Cop, the potential success of this Cop," the climate envoy said.

Additionally, Kerry mentioned a major focus on methane during this year's summit, involving efforts from oil and gas companies, and countries, and a special initiative by China and the United States.

"This year we'll be adding a very important contribution with respect to methane, which will involve both oil and gas companies as well as countries, as well as a special effort by China and the United States, which we agreed to in Sunnylands, that we would join together in a summit at this con on the methane issue. Methane, as you know, is responsible for 50 per cent of the global warming that's taken place. In addition to that, it is far more damaging and far more destructive than CO2. Because methane is in its early years, within the first 20 years, 80 to 100 times more destructive, and in the later years, it is about 20 times more destructive. So we also think it's the easiest, quickest, fastest cheapest way to begin to get gains against the warming. So there'll be a major focus on methane. We'll be focused on shipping through the Green Shipping Challenge," he said.

While responding to media queries, Kerry also confirmed Washington's support for the consensus reached at COP27 last year in Sharm el-Sheikh regarding the Loss and Damage Fund. He clarified that the fund aims to assist vulnerable countries without implying liability or compensation.

"The United States fully supports the consensus that was reached by the transitional committee which we served on, and it was reached earlier this month on recommending how you operationalize the funding arrangements for this fund, and how we will respond in a way that the vulnerable and most affected countries feel like the fund is actually helpful...and capable of making a difference. So, we think that this fund, the way it's designed, will meet the needs of vulnerable countries. We worked hard with our partners to propose ways in which this fund can be stood up quickly but confidently by using the World Bank as the repository, initially and temporarily. And we're working with partners to develop a framework that's going to accelerate some of the activities that need to be engaged in now in order to make sure that this fund is going to meet recovery needs, damages from storms and hurricanes, in some cases, moving people out of harm's way, and early warning of storms," he said.

"The fund does not represent any expression of liability or compensation or any sort of new legal requirement. But it is going to try to be there for those in the developing world who've taken some of the Brunt and whose citizens are in many cases threatened as the consequence of not being able to adapt or build out resilience. And so, you know, it's a good fund. We support it. We actively worked very hard to create it, and we will continue to be supportive," he pointed out.

Kerry outlined the prominent roles at COP28, including increased support for all-in-global finance mobilization efforts, finance discussions, and a renewed focus on the 1.5-degree goal. He anticipated the announcement of numerous initiatives, particularly in agriculture and other sectors.

"We'll also be working to highlight and generate increased support for the all-in-global finance mobilisation effort and finance will take a very prominent role at this cop, partly because of the changes we've been able to make at the World Bank, and partly because of new initiatives that are going to be announced in order to accelerate the transition on a global basis. And finally, we're going to be refocusing effort and energy on the 1.5 degrees, which is the critical guidepost for all of us here. There'll be efforts on mitigation, and there'll be efforts on the innovation frontier, particularly with respect to agriculture and other sectors. It's safe to say that there literally be hundreds of initiatives that will be announced, many of them coming from the United States, but also many coming from other parts of the world. And I think it's going to be a very exciting presentation of a global effort that is taking place, even though it's not happening fast enough or big enough yet," he noted.

Acknowledging the impact on African nations, Kerry emphasized the importance of responding to the unique challenges faced by the continent due to climate change.

"Well, we are keenly aware of the degree to which Africa bears the enormous brunt of the climate crisis on a global basis. I mean, Africa is among the hardest hit. It is the least likely contributor to the problem. So I think we all sense a very special relationship there and a need to respond to what is happening," he said.

The World Climate Action Summit, the High-Level Segment of COP28, is scheduled from November 30 to December 12 under the UAE's presidency in Dubai. The host country hopes for a deal on tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency by 2030, focusing on phasing out fossil fuels, climate finance, and the Global Goal on Adaptation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the summit, having announced specific climate targets during COP26 in Glasgow. His visit includes bilateral meetings with leaders, and it's at the invitation of UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

US climate envoy John Kerry calls for accountability, urges strong decisions ahead of COP28 talks

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