Home » COP28 President urges governments ‘think bigger, act bolder’ on UAE Consensus-aligned national climate plans 

COP28 President urges governments ‘think bigger, act bolder’ on UAE Consensus-aligned national climate plans 

by Madaline Dunn

At the 15th Petersberg Climate Dialogue (PCD) taking place in Berlin this week, COP28 President HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber called for governments to “think bigger, act bolder” on national climate plans.

Speaking in the High-Level Segment of the annual Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the COP28 President said that the UAE Consensus has emerged as the “defining point of reference” for global climate ambition and sustainable development. 

HE Dr Al Jaber said that it represents a “historic milestone” in climate diplomacy, as it achieved cross-sectoral breakthroughs across “the entire climate agenda.”

The COP Presidencies Troika, an initiative aimed at enhancing continuity between COP28, COP29 and COP30 and driving the implementation of the UAE Consensus, is pushing governments to be “more ambitious” in their next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), HE Dr Al Jaber said. 

Governments should set out economy-wide emission reduction plans and also produce “well-funded” national adaption plans to protect nature and transform food systems, he outlined. 

“My message to governments is simple think bigger, act bolder. Send a clear message early with your next NDC that puts green infrastructure at the center of your development plans.” 

He also advocated for “smart policies that push industries to step up and incentivize the private sector to invest,” adding: “We are talking about a system-wide transformation that represents the biggest opportunity for socio-economic development since the first industrial revolution. Simply put, the world will be a better place after this transformation. But it will not happen without significant investment and a level up in climate finance.” 

HE Dr Al Jaber highlighted four key investment priorities: 

  • Infrastructure, 
  • Technology, 
  • People, and 
  • The Global South. 

On infrastructure, the world needs to invest at least US$6 trillion to meet the 2030 target of 11 terawatts of renewable energy capacity, HE Dr Al Jaber said, with a “similar level of investment” in outdated or nonexistent energy grids, especially in developing countries. 

According to HE Dr Al Jaber, AI can also be a “game-changer” by multiplying efficiencies and helping to solve the intermittency challenges posed by renewables, adding that it could also minimize water usage. 

“The faster we apply AI across energy and water intensive sectors, the faster its benefits can be scaled,” he said. 

Likewise, he emphasised the importance of countries investing in their people, developing new skills for the new green economy, reiterating the need to increase investment in the Global South. 

“Right now, over 120 developing countries attract less than 15 per cent of global clean tech investment. Multilateral Development Banks must make finance more available, accessible and affordable.” 

Further, echoing the same sentiment that was shared at this year’s World Energy Congress, HE Dr Al Jaber also said the energy transition would take time and “will happen at different paces in different places.” 

“We cannot unplug the current energy system until the new one is built.” 

The transition must also be just, equitable and responsible, in line with the targets set out in the UAE Consensus, he said. 

During the Climate Dialogue, the COP Presidencies Troika also hosted a Majlis, a form of meeting rooted in longstanding Emirati traditions, to discuss the energy transition. 

Representing the first session of the Troika Ambition Series, in the event titled, ‘Majlis: Roadmap Mission to 1.5C – Enabling Energy Transition Outcomes from the UAE Consensus,’ HE Dr Al Jaber spoke alongside Mukhtar Babayev, COP29 President-Designate and Marina Silva, Environment Minister for Brazil, host of COP30. 

The Troika are working across the U.N. system to push for more ambitious, early and UAE Consensus-aligned NDCs, it was shared.  

The format and spirit of the Majlis, bringing people together on an equal footing, had “helped break the deadlock” at COP28, he said. 

Adding: “we want to use the same format and the same spirit of the Majlis to have an honest, transparent and practical dialogue around the energy transition.” 

HE Dr Al Jaber asked participants to have a frank conversation about how to address the urgency of the climate situation while “maintaining energy security and economic prosperity.” 

He also said it was important that the energy transition “leads to opportunity for all and holds back emissions, not progress.” 

Alongside these engagements, the COP28 President met directly with Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and France’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Europe, Stéphane Séjourné. 

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