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COP28 opens by creating a fund for climate damages | COP28: climate summit in Dubai

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John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, attends the official opening of COP28 on climate change on November 30, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Agence France-Presse

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COP28 opened with fanfare in Dubai with the highly anticipated creation of a fund to compensate for climate losses and damages in vulnerable countries.

The major international climate conference was officially opened in the oil and gas emirate, as the World Meteorological Organization confirmed that 2023 was expected to be the hottest year on record.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">First major progress of COP28: the realization of the fund intended to finance climate losses and damages in vulnerable countries was voted on, a positive step in the hope of easing financial tensions between the North and the South in parallel with the negotiations on fossil fuels.

This historic decision, greeted by a standing ovation from delegates from nearly 200 participating countries, concretizes the main result of COP27 in Egypt last year, where this fund was approved in principle, but whose contours, very debated, had not yet been defined.

This is a positive signal for the world and for our work, Sultan said Ahmed al-Jaber, the Emirati president of this COP28.

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Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, President of COP28, addresses the media following the opening session of the conference, November 30, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

We made history today… Speed with which we did it is unprecedented, phenomenal and historic.

A quote from Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, President of COP28

COP28: climate summit in Dubai

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COP28: climate summit in Dubai

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It remains to be seen how much will be allocated to this fund, provisionally welcomed by the World Bank against the initial advice of developing countries. The first promises began to rain in: 335 million dollars from the European Union (including 100 million announced by Germany), 100 million from the Emirates, 10 million from Japan, 17.5 million from the United States , up to 50 million from the UK…

Developed countries are also pushing to broaden the donor base to wealthy emerging countries, such as China and Saudi Arabia.

Madeleine Diouf Sarr, president of the Least Developed Countries Group, which represents 46 of the poorest nations, welcomed a decision of enormous significance for climate justice. But an empty fund cannot help our citizens, she stressed, while the losses amount to hundreds of billions.

We are waiting promises in billions, not millions, urged Rachel Cleetus, of the American group Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The work is far from x27;to be completed, also reacted the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

We will not rest until this fund is properly financed and begins to ease the burden on vulnerable communities.

A quote from Alliance des small island states

Despite this rapid progress on this crucial subject, negotiators will have other likely areas of division when discussing the future of fossil fuels, against a backdrop of conflict between Israel and Hamas.

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Egyptian Sameh Shoukri, who chaired COP27, and other delegates observe a minute of silence in memory of “all civilians” killed in Gaza, during the opening ceremony of COP28 in Dubai on Thursday.

A sign that the war is on people's minds, the president of the previous conference, Sameh Choukri, head of Egyptian diplomacy, called at the start of the opening ceremony for a short moment of silence for all the civilians who had died in the current conflict in Gaza.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog will also take advantage of his visit to the COP to lead a series of diplomatic meetings aimed at freeing other hostages held by Hamas, his services indicated.

Mahmoud Abbas' office indicated Thursday in Ramallah that the president of the Palestinian Authority would not travel to Dubai, contrary to what was announced, and would be represented by Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.

More than 97,000 people (delegations, media, NGOs, lobbies, organizers, technicians) are accredited, twice as many as last year, and around 180 heads of state and government are expected, according to the organizers, by December 12, the theoretical end of the conference.

Pope Francis canceled his visit due to bronchitis, but called on Thursday to think of the common good […] rather than […] to the circumstantial interests of a few countries or companies, in a message on the social networkMore than 140 leaders will parade to the podium Friday and Saturday for minutes-long speeches meant to give political impetus to the Byzantine negotiations that will keep delegations busy for two weeks. King Charles III is due to speak on Friday.

At the top of the agenda will be the fate of fossil fuels – coal , gas, oil – the use of which is the main cause of global warming and the disasters that accompany it.

Also general director of the national oil company Adnoc, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber stepped in by calling for the role of fossil fuels to be mentioned in any final agreement.

This while he is under fire after the publication by the BBC and the Center for Climate Reporting of internal notes preparing official meetings which list arguments for promoting the projects of Adnoc abroad. He rejected these accusations on Wednesday.

It is by his results that we will evaluate the president of the COP, judged Jennifer Morgan , Germany's climate emissary.

UN climate chief Simon Stiell x27;is shown even more directly: If we do not give the signal of the terminal phase of the fossil era as we know it, we are preparing our own terminal decline.

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