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‘We must be ambitious’ at COP28, says EU climate action commissioner

The UN conference on reducing global emission starts Thursday in Dubai.

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The European Union will let its partners at COP28 know that greater ambition is needed if climate change is to be defeated, according to the bloc’s climate chief.

Wopke Hoekstra, the European Commissioner for Climate Action, told Euronews in an interview that much more must be done if emission reduction targets are to be met in time. 

“The bar is simply very high, not because we want to, but because scientists tell us so,” Hoekstra said.

“So, we do need to deliver as a global community on mitigation, driving down emissions, making sure we have emissions peak in 2025.

“It is coming up with a credible tripling target of renewables. It is energy efficiency and it is driving out methane.”

For the EU, the establishment of the first Global Stocktake at COP28 will be an important step forward in assessing the efforts made since the 2015 Paris Agreement and what still needs to be done to limit the rise in temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

“Global Stocktake is what the word really says it is – taking stock, seeing where we stand,” the climate action commissioner said. “But more important is how to move forward. And the reality is that we have to direction correct and we simply need to run faster. We need to do more going forward. 

“So, stocktaking here is also equivalent with higher ambition and countries pledging to do more.”

Financing climate action and a loss and damage fund set up at the previous COP are particularly contentious, as countries most in need wait for an agreement on funding from wealthier partners, such as the EU and other developed countries.

The loss and damage fund is intended to respond to the damage caused by the adverse effects of climate change. But questions remain about who will contribute to the fund. 

The solidarity expected by developing countries requires funding.

“We have been working tirelessly also here from within the European Union to see how we can deliver on more funding, and on loss and damage, and I am more optimistic than a couple of weeks ago that, you know, we can deliver on this critical element,” Hoekstra told Euronews.

“Making sure that we get the financing right is a very important part also in building trust.”

The climate commissioner added that it is difficult to pinpoint the indicators that will make it possible to determine whether this COP28 is a success or a failure.

For observers, it will be necessary to look at the ambition of the commitments announced in order to assess whether or not the international community is making progress on climate change.


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