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Crucial COP28 ministerial meeting begins today

Published : 07 Dec 2023 10:54 PM

As a week of talks in the 28th United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai ends on Thursday, a crucial ministerial meeting is set to start today (Friday) with focus on the two most complex and unresolved issues of the conference: carbon emissions reduction and climate finance.

Despite a glimmer of hope with the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund, the first seven days of negotiations revealed stark divisions between developed and rapidly developing countries on these two critical matters, said members of the Bangladesh delegation while talking to UNB.

The 2023 World Climate Conference (COP28) began in Dubai on November 30 and will continue till 12 December 2023. Heads of governments and representatives of 198 countries participated in the 13-day conference.

During the conference’s first week, world leaders shared their views and expectations for the global stocktake’s outcome during a series of roundtables. A total of 29 Heads of State and Government, 21 ministers, 10 high-level officials, three United Nations organizations, and eight non-governmental organizations spoke at the events.

Developed nations, historically responsible for the bulk of carbon emissions, faced pressure in the representative -level talks to take the lead in mitigating future emissions.

Environmental experts said that the dispute between developed countries and rapidly developing countries complicated the discussion on mitigating carbon emissions.

Rapidly developing countries like China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia want to keep the current carbon emissions on the sideline as they claim developed countries have a historical responsibility for reducing carbon emissions. But developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom said that this work of reducing carbon emissions should be done simultaneously by those who have been emitting carbon since the 90s. Then the least developed countries, small island countries and Latin American countries came forward and said that carbon emissions cannot be reduced if developed countries and rapidly developing countries fight over this issue.

This disagreement has stalled further progress on carbon reduction targets, leaving the ministerial meeting with the critical task of finding a solution.

Ziaul Haque, director of Directorate of Environment and a member of the Bangladesh delegation, acknowledged the stalemate over carbon emissions and finance issues and said that these issues would be decided at the ministerial level meeting. He said the participating nations reached a consensus on some  other areas like loss and damage, technology transfer, and adaptation.

While the ministerial meeting faces significant challenges, there were some positive developments in the first week. These included:

· A consensus on loss and damage: The establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund marked a significant progress for vulnerable nations.

· Evaluation of the global carbon emission situation: This assessment will inform future mitigation efforts.

· Agreement on a global goal on adaptation: This goal aims to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities.

· Progress on technology and other areas: Discussions on technology transfer and capacity building also saw some advancements.

· The success of COP28 hinges on the outcome of the upcoming ministerial meeting. Ministers must find common ground on the contentious issues of carbon emissions and finance.

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell emphasized the urgency of action, stating that "we cannot reduce carbon emissions just because we have good intentions." He stressed the importance of significant progress on financing, calling it "a major driver of climate action."