“Most of what we bring forward as tangible solutions and actionable commitments is based on speculation or well wishes,” he said on Thursday.
Stating that climate finance is decreasing in relation to developing countries’ growing needs, Shoukry said weak replenishment rounds for the Green Climate Fund and Adaptation Fund “are but two examples of this worrying trend”.
Shoukry also criticized countries that are expanding fossil fuel production despite committing to phasing coal out.
Shoukry celebrated Egypt’s COP presidency’s successes, at the top of which was passing the blueprint for a Loss and Damage Fund as a “moment where our commitment to a greater cause prevailed”.
Before handing over the gavel, Shoukry asked delegates to stand in a moment of silence for “all civilians who have perished during the current conflict in Gaza”, also honoring two climate diplomats who recently died-Founder the International Centre for Climate Change and Development Saleemul Huq and British climate negotiator and one of the architects of the Paris Agreement Pete Betts.
— Aya Nader (@AyaNaderM) November 30, 2023
In his opening speech as COP28 President, CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Sultan Al Jaber said negotiators “must look for ways and ensure the inclusion of the role of fossil fuels”.
He acknowledged “strong views” on having fossil fuels in the text, adding that “we collectively have the power to do something unprecedented – in fact, we have no choice but to go the very unconventional way”.
Al Jaber said he remains laser-focused on the “north star” of limiting global warming to 1.5C, the target that aims to limit warming to that level by 2100, while stressing the need for pragmatism.
Taking the floor at the opening ceremony, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell also stressed that “every single commitment – on finance, adaptation, and mitigation – has to be in line with a 1.5 degree world”.
“Science tells us we have around six years before we exhaust the planet’s ability to cope with our emissions. Before we blow through the 1.5 degree limit,” he said.
Stiell reminded delegates that early in 2025, countries must deliver new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), asking them to start working on them immediately.
“Let me first thank our Egyptian friends for their stewardship over the last year, as they hand over this heavy responsibility to our Emirati colleagues. And let’s be clear, this is a heavy responsibility,” Steill stated.