Home UAE World leaders take centerstage in high-level COP28 event

World leaders take centerstage in high-level COP28 event

World leaders take centerstage in high-level COP28 event


DUBAI: More than 130 world leaders take centerstage as they address the United Nations climate conference in Dubai over the next two days to deliver national statements.

The first part of the high-level segment of COP28 would hear, over the next two days, national statements from heads of states and governments including UAE President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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0920 GMT

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil speaks during an opening ceremony at the COP28 UN Climate Summit on Dec. 1, 2023. (AP)

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, home to most of the world’s biggest natural carbon-capture zone on land, the Amazon rainforest, said “the planet is tired of climate agreements that were not fulfilled” and he said he has had enough of “eloquent and empty speeches.”

“In the north of Brazil, the Amazon region suffers one of the most tragic droughts of its history. In the South, we are facing tempests and hurricanes that lead to a lot of destruction and death,” he said.

Lula, who a year earlier was treated like a rock star after his defeat of right-wing Jair Bolsanaro, called for climate justice for poorer nations that didn’t cause the problem and railed against $2 trillion spent on weapons last year when the money should be spent on fighting hunger and climate change, not wars.

He said Brazil will stop Amazon deforestation by 2030.

“No country will solve their problems alone. We are all obliged to act together beyond our borderlines. Brazil is willing to lead as a role model,” he said. “The world is already convinced of the potential of renewable sources of energy. Now is the time to face the debate about the slow-motion pace of the decarbonization of the planet, and to work towards an economy that will be less reliant on fossil fuel. We have to do it, and in a way that is urgent and fair.”

0850 GMT

King Charles III speaks during an opening ceremony at the COP28 UN Climate Summit on Dec. 1, 2023 in Dubai. (AP)

Britain’s King Charles III is praying that the UN’s COP28 climate talks will be a “critical turning point” in the fight against global warming, he told world leaders in Dubai on Friday.

“I pray with all my heart that COP28 will be another critical turning point toward genuine transformational action,” he told the World Climate Action Summit, held in parallel with COP28.

“We are seeing alarming tipping points being reached.”

“It worries me greatly that we remain so dreadfully far off track,” the King added, after the UN’s first official progress report in September found that the world remained dangerously off course.

“In your hands is an unmissable opportunity to keep our common hope alive,” said the British monarch, wearing a light suit with pink shirt and blue tie.

The lifelong environmentalist spoke at COP26 in Scotland in 2021 but did not attend the last conference in Egypt.

The British monarch also said that “unless we rapidly repair and restore nature’s unique economy, based on harmony and balance, which is our ultimate sustainer, our own economy and survivability will be imperiled.”

“I have seen across the commonwealth and beyond, countless communities which are unable to withstand repeated shocks triggered by climate change.”

0830 GMT

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the opening ceremony of the high-level COP28 event in Dubai. (AP)

“We are miles from the goals of the Paris Agreement – and minutes to midnight for the 1 1.5°C limit. But it is not too late,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his speech.

“You can prevent planetary crash and burn. We have the technologies to avoid the worst of climate chaos, if we act now,” he said.

“The global shift to renewables is inevitable. The only question is how much heating our planet will endure before it happens,” Guterres added. “I urge countries to speed up their net zero timelines, to get there as close as possible to 2040 in developed countries and 2050 in emerging economies.”

“Climate chaos is fanning the flames of injustice,” Guterres said. “Global heating is busting budgets, ballooning food prices, upending energy markets, and feeding a cost-of-living crisis. Climate action can flip the switch.”

Guterres, a long-time critic of oil, gas and coal use that is causing climate change, fired his strongest shots yet against the industry, saying, “we cannot save a burning planet with a firehose of fossil fuels.”

In a direct contradiction to fossil fuel-aligned nations and even the presidency of the talks, he said the only way to limit warming to the goal set in 2015 requires eliminating oil, coal and gas use, saying “not reduce, not abate, phase out.”

“I urge governments to help industry make the right choice – by regulating, legislating, putting a fair price on carbon, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and adopting a windfall tax on profits.”

“Developed countries must show how they will double adaptation finance to $40 billion a year by 2025, as promised, and clarify how they deliver on the $100 billion, as promised,” Guterres said. “The climate challenge is not just another issue in your inbox. Protecting our climate is the world’s greatest test of leadership. I urge you to lead,” he added.

0815 GMT

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan speaks during an opening ceremony at the COP28 UN Climate Summit on Dec. 1, 2023 in Dubai. (AP)

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said that the UAE has set a national goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. He highlighted the country’s strong commitment to climate action, emphasizing decades of effort in diversifying the economy and advancing capabilities in renewables.

“The UAE is committed to a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030. To date, we have invested $100 billion in financing climate action, focusing on renewable and clean energy. We are also committed to investing approximately US$130 billion over the next seven years,” he said in his speech

“We are finding practical ways to accelerate the world’s transition to low-emission economy,” the UAE leader said, and noted that the lack of financing has long been one of the biggest obstacles to advancing climate action globally.

Sheikh Mohamed also announced the establishment of a $30 billion climate fund for global climate solutions.

The fund is designed to bridge climate finance gap and aims to stimulate $250 billion of investment by 2030, he said.


The COP28 conference notched an early victory on Thursday with the launch of a long-awaited fund to address growing loss and damage from wilder weather and rising sea in vulnerable countries.

Initial pledges have been made to the fund to officially put it into operation, with a $100-million contribution from the UAE matched with the same from Germany.

Britain gave just over $50 million, while the United States offered $17.5 million and Japan $10 million.

The European Union and its member states later confirmed a further $145 million, bringing the total to more than $420 million so far.

Delegates however face two weeks of tough negotiations on an array of issues that have long bedeviled climate talks, starting with the future of fossil fuels.

Saudi Arabia is hosting the third edition of the Saudi Green Initiative Forum on Dec. 4, alongside UN’s COP28 event, to highlight its dedication to build a greener future at a time of multibillion dollar giga-projects.



The SGI forum will gather influential figures, climate experts and thought leaders to present their insights and recommendations for tackling climate change as well as showcase the initiative’s achievements and plans.

With agencies


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