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Climate finance takes centre stage at COP28 climate talks

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Money pledges are grabbing the spotlight at COP28 in Dubai, and more were expected on Monday as delegates turned their focus to the yawning gap in how much climate finance is needed and what’s on tap.

View of Dubai’s Expo City during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) Climate Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Picture: Reuters, Amr Alfiky

By Simon Jessop, David Stanway and Elizabeth Piper

DUBAI – Money pledges are grabbing the spotlight at COP28 in Dubai, and more were expected on Monday as delegates turned their focus to the yawning gap in how much climate finance is needed and what’s on tap.

Monday was expected to see announcements on trade policy, carbon markets and ways for financing projects to protect nature.

Developing countries need hundreds of billions of dollars each year just to adapt to the warming world, and say they will need trillions more to shift to clean energy.

Separately, vulnerable countries that are already being hit by costly climate disasters are asking for billions more through a newly formed disaster fun.

“Unless we have an urgent set of decision-making, we are going to suffer what every parent suffers from – exciting expectations and being unable to deliver,” said Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who has become a prominent voice in global discussions about mobilising climate finance.

In a news conference, she urged countries to go beyond voluntary pledges and pleas to charities and private investors and instead to consider taxes as a way to boost climate funding.

A global 0.1% tax on financial services, for example, could raise $420 billion, she said, while a 5% tax on global oil and gas profits in 2022 would have yielded around $200 billion.

“The planet needs global governance not in a big stick way, but in a simple way of us cooperating with each other to be able to work with the institutions that we have,” she added.

Other delegates, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, have called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies which have hit a record $7 trillion per year.

Activists with the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development said they worried the sums pledged would be inadequate.

“The climate finance that they have pledged at this COP28 is simply not enough,” said Pakistani activist Zaigham Abbas, whose country was devastated last year by widespread flooding. “We are not looking for charity here. We are not looking for peanuts … The scale of the catastrophe that we are staring is unprecedented.”

MOVING MONEY

The biggest single pledge so far at COP28 came on Friday from the conference hosts, the United Arab Emirates, which pledged $30 billion for climate-related projects, of which $5 billion would be earmarked for poor countries.

Other pledges include a total of $720 million so far from countries for the newly created disaster fund, sometimes called the “loss and damage” fund.

Earlier on Monday, Danish investment firm Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners announced plans to raise $3 billion for renewable projects in emerging markets.

This year also features the biggest-ever representation of business at the annual UN summit, amid hopes for more private investment toward climate causes.

The emirate of Abu Dhabi teamed up with private sector partners including Blackrock and HSBC to launch a climate research and advisory hub to boost financing options in the region.

“The scale of the climate crisis demands urgent and game-changing solutions from every industry,” COP28 President Ahmed Al-Jaber said. “Finance plays a critical role in turning our ambitions into actions.”

– REUTERS

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