COP28: Germany and UAE pledge $200m to compensate for climate damage
Germany and the United Arab Emirates pledged $200 million to compensate particularly vulnerable countries for climate damage, as the UN’s climate summit kicked off in Dubai on Thursday.
Tens of thousands of people, including world leaders, are descending on the Gulf nation for two weeks of talks at the UN’s annual Climate Change Conference, known as COP28.
On the first day of the summit, Germany and the United Arab Emirates announced both will contribute $100 million each to assist countries most affected by climate change.
These nations, such as island states, expect rich industrialized countries in particular to help since they are the biggest polluters.
Britain, the United States and Japan also made smaller financial pledges. This is the first time that money has been channelled into the loss and damage fund, which was agreed last year at the COP27 climate talks in Egypt.
Earlier on Thursday, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said 2023 would top 2016 as the the hottest year on record, with the global mean temperature rising 1.4 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average.
“Greenhouse gas levels are record high. Global temperatures are record high. Sea level rise is record high. Antarctic sea ice is record low,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
“It’s a deafening cacophony of broken records.”
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that humanity is in “deep trouble.”
“Things are moving so fast that a full month before the end of the year, we can already declare that 2023 is the hottest year recorded in human history,” Guterres said in a video message to delegates in Dubai.
“We are living through climate collapse in real time – and the impact is devastating,” he said, also pointing out rising sea levels, record high sea surface temperatures and the loss of glaciers globally.
“This year has seen communities around the world pounded by fires, floods, and searing temperatures. Record global heating should send shivers down the spines of world leaders. And it should trigger them to act,” he said.
The climate summit gathers representatives from some 200 states.
This year’s COP28 climate talks began with a moment of silence to honour the victims of the Gaza war and Saleemul Huq, a well-known Bangladeshi climate researcher who recently died.
The president of the last climate conference, Sameh Shoukry of Egypt, opened the meeting with a call for representatives to stand in silence.
Huq was a leader in the climate change field and helped author a myriad of UN reports over the years. Upon his death last month, he was remembered both for his research and for being a voice for developing countries.
Around 70,000 participants from all over the world are expected to attend the conference in Dubai – including heads of state and prime ministers, high-level country delegations, activists and fossil fuel lobbyists.
Climate experts hope that the global leaders in Dubai will adopt measures to accelerate the transformation away from fossil fuels, which are by far the largest contributor to the climate crisis.
Most countries are lagging behind in the fight against the impending climate catastrophe.