December 8, 2023
DUBAI – Negotiators at the United Nations climate conference being held in Dubai were told to up their game over the first Global Stocktake talks. This follows the comment of a senior UN climate official who called the latest draft text a “grab bag of wish lists”.
According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Global Stocktake is a process for countries and stakeholders to see where they are collectively making progress toward meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2015 – and where they are not.
“On the Global Stocktake, we have a starting text on the table… But it’s a grab bag of wish lists and heavy on posturing. The key now is to sort the wheat from the chaff. If we want to save lives now and keep (the) 1.5(C) goal within reach, the highest ambition COP outcomes must stay front and center,” said Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change at a press conference on Dec 6.
Loss and Damage (Fund) was a win, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think it’s a tick in the box for finance and support at this COP; more is required. We need enhanced transparency, and to deliver our promise to fund climate action across the world.
Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
He said the success in establishing the Loss and Damage Fund in Dubai gave the 28th Conference of the Parties “a spring in its step”.
“But it is just a start. Now all governments must give their negotiators clear marching orders: we need highest ambition, not point-scoring or lowest common denominator politics,” he added.
Stiell also emphasized that the Global Stocktake “is the vehicle to get climate action on track” with finance being the “great enabler for climate action”, adding that negotiations “must put it front and center”.
“Loss and Damage (Fund) was a win, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think it’s a tick in the box for finance and support at this COP; more is required. We need enhanced transparency, and to deliver our promise to fund climate action across the world,” said Stiell.
A series of high-level events at COP28 helped move the world’s first Global Stocktake closer to a conclusion. The first week of the 12-day event running until Dec 12 has seen world leaders sharing their views and expectations for the Global Stocktake’s outcome during a series of roundtables.
A total of 29 heads of state and government, 21 ministers, 10 high-level officials, three UN organizations, and eight non-governmental organizations spoke at the events, according to the UNFCCC.
Negotiators have been working around the clock on the text that will determine where the world stands in limiting warming to 1.5 C , which will serve as a guide for the way forward.
A second draft on Dec 5 showed that COP28’s text included the option of a “rapid phase-out of unabated coal power this decade”, and mulling over “phasing out all fossil fuels”.
The 194 countries involved in the stocktake talks would have to agree on the text as this is crucial for drawing up the next round of climate plans due by 2025.
“At the end of next week, we need COP to deliver a bullet train to speed up climate action. We currently have an old caboose chugging over rickety tracks. But the tools are all there on the table, the technologies and solutions exist,” said Stiell.
“It’s time for governments and negotiators to pick them up and put them to work. UN Climate Change will be working with (all) parties every step of the way, as the honest broker and convenor. We’ll make sure all countries have a seat at the table and can use their full voice,” he added.