DUBAI: A host of dignitaries were in attendance as the two-day World Climate Action summit opened on Friday — as part of COP28 — where governments, development banks and companies announced initiatives to mobilise billions in climate cash, while the UAE unveiled $30 billion for a new climate investment venture.
Named ALTRRA, it will aim to mobilise $250 billion in investment by the end of the decade, in what COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber described as a “defining moment” for climate finance.
Calling it “the world’s largest private investment vehicle for climate change action,” Jaber said it included $5 billion to be allocated to poorer countries.
Multiple financing commitments were also announced throughout the day, adding to Thursday’s nearly half a billion dollars’ worth of pledges to the loss and damage fund.
The World Bank stepped up with a promise to increase the amount it spends annually on climate-related projects to 45pc of its financing in 2024-25, up from 35pc now, as part of a policy overhaul to better respond to climate change.
Canada pledged $16m to the fund and France $100m. Separately, the UK announced $2bn to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The World Bank also announced plans to increase climate finance contribution to $40bn by 2025.
In another pledge, the host country has also committed $200m to the IMF Resilience & Sustainability Trust.
To try to ensure climate funding is not wasted on spurious projects, the World Bank also announced a plan to expand the growth of “high-integrity global carbon markets,” helping five countries in 2024 to develop robust offset credits that they can sell into the market.
To support smallholders in South Africa and other African countries who face severe consequences from global warming, the Gates Foundation — the charity organisation of Microsoft founder Bill Gates — and the UAE together committed $200m.
In a first for blended finance, bringing together public and private lenders, leading climate-focused donors, including the Bezos Earth Fund, joined forces to launch the Allied Climate Partners investing platform. The aim is to generate $11bn in investments in developing countries.
The transition to electric vehicles also drew impetus as Tata Motors said it would work with affiliated banks under the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative India (CFLI) to boost sales.
As part of broader coalition of Indian and international companies, CFLI plans to mobilise more than $6.5bn into sectors including e-mobility, green hydrogen, and renewables.
UN chief Antonio Guterres also backed the effort to reform the world’s multilateral development bank system to “leverage far more private finance at reasonable costs.”
In a stunning show of technology, the leaders’ summit opened with a hologram of UAE’s late founder Sheikh Zayed addressing the more than 130 world leaders gathered.
Prominent among those in attendance were Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, King Charles III, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emannuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Mr Gates and Mr Guterres.
The White House had announced in previous weeks that President Joe Biden would not be attending; however, VP Kamala Harris arrived in his place, alongside Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, US Special Envoy on Climate John Kerry.
Similarly, President Xi Jinping of China also skipped the leaders’ summit.
In his speech, King Charles delivered a dramatic and urgent warning.
“We are carrying out a vast, frightening experiment of changing every ecological condition, all at once, at a pace that far outstrips nature’s ability to cope. With what we are witnessing, our choice now is a starker, and darker one: how dangerous are we actually prepared to make our world?”
PM Kakar’s schedule
Caretaker PM Kakar also had a busy day on the sidelines of the summit, meeting King Charles, UK PM Sunak, Danish PM Mette Fredrickson and Dutch PM Mark Rutte,
He was welcomed by UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the UN chief upon his arrival at the Dubai Expo City.
He also visited the Pakistan Pavilion, where he was briefed on efforts being made by with regard to negotiations and facilitation in the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage fund.
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2023