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COP28 kicks off in Dubai with climate disaster fund victory

COP28 kicks off in Dubai with climate disaster fund victory

A new fund to help compensate countries suffering from climate change was established at the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) as it opened in Dubai on Thursday.

The announcement was seen as a major breakthrough at this year's conference. Germany and the host nation, the United Arab Emirates, have each pledged 100 million U.S. dollars toward the fund.

Calls to renew the fight against climate change were also made at the event. Giving his final words as President of COP27, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that climate finance is shrinking at a time when it should be doubling.

"Rather than increasing climate finance from developed countries, actually it's decreasing in relation to the growing needs and the increasing costs of finance in developing countries. The expansion of fossil fuel exploration and production, in particular of coal in countries that previously committed to substantially phase down. Another worrying sign is the increased gap in renewable energy expansion and availability," Shoukry said.

Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), acknowledged achievements up to this point but urged accelerated efforts to cope with global warming.

"We are taking baby steps, stepping far too slowly from an unstable world that lacks resilience to working out the best responses to the complex impacts that we are facing. We must teach climate action to run because this has been the hottest year ever in humanity. So many terrible records were broken. 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," the UN official said.

This year, the COP presidency was handed over to Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the former head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

As leader of one of the biggest power companies in the world, Al Jaber called on participants to spearhead what he described as unconventional changes in climate negotiations.

"Since Paris, we have made some progress, but we also know that the road that we have been on will not get us to our destination in time. We must look for ways and ensure the inclusion of the role of fossil fuels. We collectively have the power to do something unprecedented," he said.

The UAE has said that COP this year will engage intensively with high emission industries, like aluminum, steel, cement and public transportation, noting that unlocking affordable green financing for developing countries and allocating financing for the loss and damage fund remain major challenges and a target for participants this year.

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