COP 28: Developed nations were faulted for failing to deliver on their pledges to meet their commitments on financing for climate action and meet their own targets to curb their industries' emissions
Leaders of developing nations took centre stage on the second day of the 28th annual UN Conference of the Parties (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates, urging rich industrial countries to share knowledge and alleviate financial burdens in the global fight against climate change.
Approximately 150 presidents, prime ministers, royals, and other leaders presented their plans to reduce heat-trapping emissions and sought unity to avert the escalating climate crisis.
Several African leaders highlighted their continent's rainforests as significant carbon sinks, absorbing excess carbon dioxide. They emphasised their countries' comparatively minimal contributions to heat-trapping emissions compared to wealthier nations.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, a major oil producer, criticised developed nations for failing to fulfil their commitments to finance climate action and reduce emissions from their industries.
President Jose Ramos Horta of Timor-Leste criticised "shark loans" from multilateral lending institutions, arguing that heavy debt burdens hinder developing nations' ability to invest in climate change mitigation and economic growth.
Vice President Kamala Harris led the U.S. delegation in the absence of President Joe Biden, while U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and French President Emmanuel Macron advocated for the development of nuclear energy, emphasising its emission-free nature.
Over 20 nations called for a tripling of global nuclear energy generation by 2050, with Macron emphasising nuclear energy's cleanliness. The leaders issued a declaration urging the World Bank and others to expand lending for nuclear projects.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed the need to accelerate efforts to combat climate change and proposed three priorities: developing renewable energies, fostering international cooperation, and demonstrating solidarity and responsibility.
Bolivian Vice President David Choquehuanca highlighted the climate crisis as a consequence of neocolonialism, capitalism, imperialism, and Western culture. German Chancellor Scholz expressed confidence in achieving the $100 billion per year target for international climate action, citing Germany's commitment of $6 billion for climate finance.
Despite shared recognition of the global climate crisis, concerns linger that the world may surpass the targets set in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Leaders emphasised the urgency of accelerating emission reduction efforts, implementing nature-based solutions, and transforming economic systems towards sustainability and well-being.