COP28 breaks records with over $83 billion pledged, unprecedented climate commitments and global support

People walk past a COP28 sign at the Expo City during the United Nations climate summit in Dubai on December 5, 2023. Picture: Karim SAHIB / AFP

People walk past a COP28 sign at the Expo City during the United Nations climate summit in Dubai on December 5, 2023. Picture: Karim SAHIB / AFP

Published Dec 8, 2023


The ongoing COP28 climate summit in Dubai has emerged as a trailblazing event, surpassing expectations as world leaders unite to address the pressing challenges of climate change.

In the first five days alone, an astonishing $83 billion has been mobilised, signalling an era of renewed determination to combat the global climate crisis.

This year’s conference has witnessed the launch of 11 pledges and declarations, each garnering historic support from participating nations. The declarations encompass diverse aspects, ranging from food systems transformation and health to renewable energy, efficiency, and initiatives targeting the decarbonisation of heavy-emitting industries.

On the inaugural day, a historic agreement was facilitated by the COP Presidency to operationalise and capitalise funding for Loss and Damage. A substantial $726 million has been pledged to support communities on the front lines of the climate crisis, demonstrating a commitment to addressing the immediate impacts of climate change.

The Loss and Damage funding can play a crucial role in supporting vulnerable African nations grappling with the devastating effects of climate change, such as extreme weather events and rising sea levels. For example, less-developed countries like Mozambique, which faced severe cyclones in recent years, could benefit from these funds for recovery and resilience-building efforts.

A comprehensive breakdown of financial pledges reveals a diverse array of commitments aimed at addressing various aspects of the climate crisis. These are:

Green Climate Fund Replenishment: A substantial $3.5 billion in new money has been announced to replenish the Green Climate Fund (GCF), elevating its second replenishment to an impressive $12.8 billion. This significant boost will empower the GCF to continue supporting climate projects globally.

Adaptation Fund and Least Developed Countries Fund: Contributions of $133.6 million and $129.3 million, respectively, have been pledged toward the Adaptation Fund and the Least

Developed Countries Fund (LDC): These funds are essential for enabling vulnerable nations, especially in Africa, to adapt to changing climate conditions.

Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF): A notable $31 million has been committed to the Special Climate Change Fund, reinforcing efforts to address specific climate challenges in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa.

The world's second largest oil producer, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has taken a significant step in driving positive climate action with the launch of the $30 billion catalytic fund, ALTÉRRA.

This fund aims to mobilise an additional $250 billion globally, signalling the UAE's supposed commitment to catalysing transformative initiatives for a sustainable future.

South Africa, with a significant carbon footprint due to its reliance on coal, could benefit from initiatives funded by ALTÉRRA. Shifting toward cleaner energy sources and sustainable practices could receive a boost, aligning with the country's efforts to transition to a low-carbon economy.

COP28 has seen widespread support for various declarations, showcasing a global commitment to diverse aspects of climate action. These include:

Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge: Endorsed by 124 countries, this pledge underscores the collective commitment to transition to renewable energy sources and enhance energy efficiency.

COP28 UAE Declaration on Agriculture, Food, & Climate: With endorsements from 142 countries, this declaration emphasises the critical intersection of agriculture, food systems, and climate, addressing challenges faced by agricultural communities globally.

COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health: Garnering support from 133 countries, this declaration recognises the intrinsic link between climate and public health, emphasising the need for comprehensive strategies.

COP28 UAE Declaration on Hydrogen and Derivatives: Newly endorsed by 37 countries, this declaration highlights the growing importance of hydrogen as a clean energy source.

COP28 UAE Declaration on Gender-Responsive Just Transitions: With endorsements from 74 countries, this declaration underscores the significance of gender-responsive approaches in achieving just transitions to sustainable economies.

Numerous global initiatives have also received substantial endorsements, emphasising collaborative efforts to address climate challenges. These include:

Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships (CHAMP) Pledge: Endorsed by 65 countries, this pledge signifies high-level commitment to ambitious partnerships for climate action.

Global Cooling Pledge: With endorsements from 64 countries, this pledge addresses the escalating power demand for cooling and advocates for efficiency to benefit consumers and vulnerable populations.

Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter: Endorsed by 52 companies representing 40% of global oil production, this charter signals a collective industry commitment to decarbonise, a critical step toward a low-carbon future.

Industrial Transition Accelerator: Endorsed by 35 companies and six industry associations, this initiative focuses on accelerating the transition to sustainable industrial practices.

As COP28 builds up to its second week, the monumental financial mobilisation and diverse commitments underscore the urgency and determination of nations to address climate change comprehensively.

The unprecedented support for declarations and pledges signifies a collective global effort to navigate the path toward a sustainable, resilient, and low-carbon future. The decisions made at this year's conference are poised to shape the trajectory of global climate action, with far-reaching implications for Africa, South Africa and nations worldwide.

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