• King Charles III 'prays with all his heart' that COP28 will be a 'watershed point'

King Charles III on Friday (1 December) called on leaders gathered at COP28 in Dubai to make this 28th UN climate conference a Paris-worthy turning point to accelerate climate action, as countries begin two weeks of fierce negotiations on oil, gas and coal.

"Records are broken so often that we become desensitized to what they tell us," said Charles, who is attending a COP for the first time as a sovereign, and who recalled his participation in COP21, where the Paris Agreement was born eight years ago, which is still struggling to produce sufficient results.

"I pray with all my heart that COP28 will be another turning point for real transformation," he said. The king listed cyclones that have devastated vulnerable islands including Vanuatu, floods in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and record fires from the United States to Greece.

"We are conducting a frightening experiment of changing the entire ecological conditions at the same time, at a pace that exceeds nature's capabilities," he added, before calling for global finance reform in support of the energy transition.

"The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth," the king concluded.

  • Emirates launches giant $30 billion private fund for transition

The President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, announced on Friday (December 1st) the creation of a private fund dedicated to "solutions" to climate change, opening the world leaders' summit of the 28th United Nations Climate Conference.

"I am pleased to announce the creation of a $30 billion fund dedicated to climate solutions," the sovereign said, adding that the goal was to reach $250 billion by 2030.

It was the main announcement from the COP28 host country on Friday, just before King Charles III and the UN secretary-general are set to speak at the same podium, as multiple mechanisms and reforms are underway around the world to increase financing for renewable energy in developing countries.

The new Emirati fund, named Alterra, will be chaired by Sultan al-Jaber, president of COP28 and head of the Emirates' national oil company, according to a statement.

Read alsoCOP28: the United Arab Emirates caught up in its contradictions on climate

  • Fossil fuels appear in the draft agreement under negotiation

The world must reduce or even phase out fossil fuels, according to a first draft agreement published on Friday that will now be debated by negotiators from nearly 200 countries during COP28 in Dubai.

Countries must prepare a "fossil fuel reduction/phase-out", according to the document prepared by the UK and Singapore, which will serve as a basis for discussion with a view to adoption by the end of the COP, officially scheduled for 12 December.

A key challenge for countries will be to agree on the choice of the term "phase-down" or the much more ambitious term "phase-out".

This key text, which could serve as the final text adopted at COP28, is in fact a "global stocktake" of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

A technical report on this stocktaking of international action was published at the beginning of September, unsurprisingly noting that insufficient action has been taken to limit the increase in global temperature to well below 2°C and if possible to 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era.

It must now be the subject of a political decision during COP28, a challenge as the international community remains divided on a number of issues, starting with the future of fossil fuels.

  • Record number of registrations

COP28 is officially the largest COP ever held, with 80,000 participants on a provisional list that unveils their precise functions for the first time, an attempt by UN Climate Change to respond to criticism over the risk of conflicts of interest.

Including technical and security personnel, 104,000 people can access the "blue zone" dedicated to negotiations and the pavilions of States or organizations, twice as many as at COP27, which previously held the record with 49,000 accreditations. These accreditation figures do not necessarily correspond to the people actually present in Dubai.

With AFP

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