FULL Inclusiveness and Transparency 2nd call to action for a better COP28.

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Global leaders attending COP28 Dubai are getting down to business for the two-day World Climate Action Summit and not a minute too soon. This meeting is taking place at a dire and increasingly dangerous time. 2023 is “on track” to be the hottest year on record, and 2024 is projected to be hotter since Earth temporarily breached the 1.5°C climate threshold this summer and temporarily exceeded 2°C above pre-industrial levels on November 17 and 18.

Scientists warn that the more often we exceed climate thresholds, the more serious the cumulative effects of these breaches will become and the likelihood of devastating and potentially irreversible climate calamities would increase dramatically.

The summit was opened on November 30th with a speech from COP28 president Dr. Sultan al-Jaber, the CEO of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and chairman of renewable business Masdar, who called for a united effort, for urgent climate action and for more funding. If this speech sounds familiar, it is because the same opening message has been echoed every year at COPs in the last decade.  What is new was his bold political and business call to “proactively engage with oil and gas companies” that are massively present at COP28.

Dr. al-Jaber also announced that the UAE has set up a US$30 billion fund to invest in clean energy and other climate projects worldwide with a particular emphasis on financing infrastructure in the Global South. The newly established fund was “specifically designed to bridge the climate finance gap” and stimulate further investment of US$250 billion by 2030.  He has also called for oil companies to cut their net greenhouse gas pollution to zero by 2050 and has urged his fellow energy executives to take part in addressing rising temperatures.

Amid global controversy and a storm of criticism, John Kerry, the USA Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, was one of the first international figures to support Dr. al-Jaber’s appointed as COP28 President. At the time, Kerry told The Financial Times, “We have to get the fossil fuel industry at the table. We have to bring them to this effort and they have to join in by being responsible.”  Kerry has expressed hope that Dr. al-Jaber’s leadership role and influence with other oil and gas producers could help advance real commitments to cut greenhouse gas pollution.

NOW believes that the world must urgently transition to clean growth to thrive and to solve the challenges identified by COP. It is essential to work with all countries, companies and executives that acknowledge the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, that “walk the talk“ about the need to move the energy transition to renewables, that deliver on pledges and contribute money to fight climate change and support the Loss and Damage Fund.

With every country now in the forefront of human-induced climate change, which is impacting everyone’s lives, it is vital for every person also to understand the issues and be involved in the solutions.

On the second day of a 10-day summit, more speeches were given by King Charles III, President Isaac Herzog of Israel and Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, and others; and more speeches will follow on Saturday in tandem with negotiations by every nation attending.

The first “global stocktake” of progress will be discussed and the urgency of the situation presented, and solutions considered.

With every country now in the forefront of human-induced climate change, which is impacting everyone’s lives, it is vital for every person also to understand the issues and be involved in the solutions.

RAISING THE BAR

For COP to be truly inclusive and transparent, all individuals and groups, critics and commentators worldwide should have access to all COP meetings and not only the speeches and selected activities which COP28 officials choose to stream on its website. So called “private meetings” should not be private within the COP summit venues, especially when it involves a public official meeting with oil and gas executives and their lobby support.

Full inclusiveness and full transparency is now possible with today’s advanced technology that can allow an interested global public with a mobile phone or a shared device to watch and listen to all the meetings and discussions that take place at COP28 and stream remotely from their digital devices

At the COP 26 in Glasgow, the UK government promised the “most inclusive COP ever” but observers noted unprecedented restrictions on public participation and negotiations were entirely off-limits.  Fossil fuel companies were reportedly banned by the British organisers, but according to the environmental campaign group Global Witness, more than 600 campaigning lobbyists with links to the fossil-fuel industry have been accredited to attend, including the chief executives of BP and Total, plus the then incoming head of Shell.

At the COP 27 in Egypt, more fossil fuel lobbyists attended, a rise of more than 25% from last year, outnumbering any one frontline community affected by the climate crisis, according to observers Corporate Accountability, Global Witness and Corporate Europe Observatory. The influence of oil and gas companies are growing, with their CEOs promoting themselves as climate champions and lobbying to influence government ministers in closed room discussions and negotiations.

For COP28, the COP Presidency and head of UNFCCC officially signed the Host Country Agreement to strengthen their joint commitment to inclusivity and transparency that fosters solidarity and transformative progress across the climate agenda. New transparency rules implemented were timid, requiring participants to register and disclose affiliations, but it is “optional” to provide details of registrants’ relationships with the entities they represent.

The lack of inclusiveness is also evident in the divisions between Blue and Green Zones at COP28. An exclusive Blue Zone can only be accessed by the parties and their delegations, admitted observer organisations and accredited media where all official sessions, meetings, side events and press conferences are taking place. Restricted to the Green Zone are youth representatives, artists, businesses, and decision makers who will attend to showcase their solutions. Inclusiveness initiatives are also not considered to support the inspired change-maker who want to physically attend but do not have the financial ability or sponsor to pay COP28 fees, transport to Dubai and high hotel rates.  Inclusiveness leaves no one behind.

NOW CALL TO ACTION

NOW is calling for a better COP28 with full inclusiveness and full transparency.

Inclusive and transparent leadership is the key to building trust and goodwill. This is a good place to start since global leaders will only be able to win back the trust and engage the sceptical public on climate action based on their merit, and this will help give hope and inspire everyone to raise the bar for themselves.

Join us tomorrow for our third action call for a better COP.

 

 

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