COP28 President-Designate Dr. Sultan Al Jaber and the Presidency team, along with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, gave remarks ahead of the COP28 program commencing. This was a critical moment to set the tone for COP28, which begins tomorrow, and highlight the goalposts for success over the next two weeks.
Dr. Al Jaber emphasized COP28’s North Star: to keep 1.5 within reach, as well as the need to close the gap between ambition and action – countries need to deliver on their promises. In the Q&A he also reinforced the honesty and transparency with which the presidency led with throughout the COP process. Key highlights from his remarks include:
“We need to reduce the gap between ambition and action. Those who promised, must deliver. Those who pledged, must act.”
“I will hold every country and every stakeholder accountable to keep the 1.5°C target within reach. I aim to achieve the highest ambition in the Global Stocktake (GST) decision.”
“…despite all of the noise you hear, in fact that noise is helpful, because it helps you to focus on the task at hand. We feel that the prospects of an extraordinary outcome are at hand…and we will step up to deliver it.”
“I’ll be very clear, crystal clear, for you, for everyone in the room and for those online. These allegations are false, not true, incorrect, and are not accurate. It is an attempt to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency. Let me ask you a question. Do you think the UAE, or myself, would need the COP or the COP presidency to establish business deals or commercial relationships? This country over the past 50 years has been built around its ability to build bridges and to create relationships and partnerships. No one in this world has been able to master the ability to create win-win relationships and fruitful and productive partnerships like this small country and this young nation.
I promise you. Never ever did I see these talking points that they refer to or that I ever even use such talking points in my discussions. One other point, every meeting I have conducted with every government, or any other stakeholder has always been centered around one thing and one thing only, and that is my COP28 agenda and how we can collectively, for the first time ever, adopt a mindset that is centered around implementation and action to keep 1.5 within reach.
Now, sometimes I am told to engage with governments and oil and gas companies to put pressure, and sometimes I’m told you can’t do that. So we’re damned if we do, we’re damned if we don’t . So please, for once, respect who we are, respect what we have achieved over the years, and respect that we have been clear and open and clear and honest and transparent on how we’re going to conduct this COP process. Thank you.”