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The UN’s top climate official cautioned countries against getting caught up in political gamesmanship during the Cop28 conference. This advice was shared during a live coverage of the event.

Simon Stiell, the UN’s climate chief, cautions Cop28 against getting caught up in point-scoring and engaging in “lowest common denominator politics”.

Stiell, the executive secretary of the UN framework convention on climate change, addressed the press in Dubai during the midpoint of Cop28, the structure overseeing the climate summit. He stated:

All governing bodies should provide their negotiators with specific directives. We require the utmost ambition, rather than playing games or settling for the minimum.

There is a text on the table, but it is a collection of various desires and filled with exaggerated claims. The important task at hand is to distinguish what is valuable from what is not.

There are several possibilities currently being considered to gradually eliminate the use of fossil fuels. It is up to different parties to carefully consider these options and make a definitive statement that marks the end of the fossil fuel era as we currently know it.

Simon Stiell, UNFCC executive secretary.

Today’s Cop28 live blog is available, but there will be a break from blogging tomorrow as negotiations have a rest day. See you on Friday, but don’t forget to check the Guardian website for more stories in the meantime. Here’s a summary of today’s events.

  • Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, made a visit to the UAE, causing concern for the Ukrainian delegation.

  • Simon Stiell, the UN’s climate chief, warned that countries participating in Cop28 negotiations must avoid getting caught up in competitive tactics and settling for the minimum requirements.

  • Prominent experts in climate science have firmly stated that there is indisputable evidence supporting the need for a phase-out of fossil fuels in order to limit global warming to 1.5C. This statement was made in response to Sultan Al Jaber’s assertion that there is no scientific basis for such a phase-out.

  • The UK representatives were accused of evading media questioning by not holding any press conferences, which is a highly uncommon action.

  • The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reported that November set a new record as the sixth consecutive month with above-average temperatures in Europe.

During Cop28, the United Arab Emirates.

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and UAE president, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, attend a welcoming ceremony ahead of their talks in Abu Dhabi.

Earlier today, Putin arrived in Abu Dhabi and was welcomed with enthusiasm by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s foreign minister. A display of jets flew past, leaving a trail of smoke in the colors of Russia’s flag.

Scientists from Ukraine’s Cop28 stated that in the unlikely scenario of Putin attending the climate summit, a form of protest would be necessary. The Russian leader is able to visit the UAE without any complications due to the country’s refusal to acknowledge the international criminal court, which has issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest.

A word on the mitigation work programme. This is, like many pieces of Cop jargon, confusing and misleading for people in the real world.

In the context of climate change and climate policies, it is important to understand that the term “mitigation” always refers to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This can involve actively decreasing emissions or limiting their future increase. The use of this term is due to the fact that some countries commit to lowering their emissions, while others (typically developing nations) aim to prevent them from rising as much as they could. Mitigation encompasses both approaches.

In the context of a Cop or climate, mitigation does not refer to reducing the effects of the climate crisis, such as constructing shelters to protect against extreme weather. The term adaptation encompasses anything related to the impacts of the climate crisis.

Regrettably, numerous individuals become perplexed by this and mistakenly use mitigation instead of adaptation.

Returning to the mitigation work program, this refers to efforts made by nations to decrease or control their future emissions. There have been concerns raised that the negotiations surrounding this crucial aspect of the Paris agreement are not advancing quickly enough.

Many countries I have communicated with do not have the same worries. They highlight that the Global Stocktake (GST) is primarily focused on the future path of emissions and strategies to decrease them. As a result, certain choices within the mitigation work programme are contingent on the outcomes of the global stocktake and may not be finalized until after the GST, which is now the main focus of these discussions since the issue of loss and damage has been resolved.

Adaptation, meanwhile, has its own issues. Discussions on a global goal on adaptation are also under way, and developing countries want at least a doubling of the finance that is devoted to adaptation. They point out that poor countries already spend a large slice of their budgets – that could be better spent on health or education – having to fix the problems caused by extreme weather, and this is unsustainable and setting their development back by years. Those discussions are a vital concern to the developing world, which is hoping for faster progress on this strand in the coming days.

12-year-old Indian environmental activist Licypriya Kangujam, who is also serving as Timor-Leste’s special envoy at Cop28, expresses disappointment over the UAE Cop president’s connections to the oil and gas industry.

I am feeling disappointed that Cop is being led by someone in the fossil fuel industry. Our purpose here is to represent the concerns of millions of at-risk individuals, including children. However, now that it has turned into a summit focused on fossil fuels, there is little we can do about it. Nevertheless, we will continue to speak out because we urgently need a fair transition from all fossil fuels – oil, coal, and gas – to renewable and clean energy sources in order to protect our planet.

I have received a breakdown of funding pledges from the Cop presidency, detailing all the figures from the summit so far.

Analysis of current financial promises and donations.

  • Loss and damage: $726m

  • The Green Climate Fund will be receiving an additional $3.5 billion, bringing the total second replenishment to $12.8 billion.

  • Adaptation fund: $133.6m

  • The funding for the least developed countries is $129.3 million.

  • The SCCF, which stands for Special Climate Change Fund, has a total of $31 million.

  • Renewable energy: $5bn

  • Cooling: $25.5m

  • Clean cooking: $30m

  • Technology: $568m

  • Methane: $1.2bn

  • Climate finance: $30bn from UAE, $200m in special drawing rights, and $32bn from multilateral development banks (MDBs)

  • Food: $3.1bn

  • Nature: $2.6bn

  • Health: $2.7bn

  • Water: $150m

  • Gender: $2.8m

  • Relief, recovery and peace: $1.2bn

Fiona Harvey, our environment editor, has some exciting news to share with you!

Protesters gathered at the entrance of the Blue Zone have shouted, “Don’t ignore the obvious issue!” They are calling for a global treaty promoting plant-based practices, in addition to the Paris agreement, to address violations of five key planetary limits.

According to Hoshimi Sakai, a representative of Plant Based Treaty, the current Cop conference is the first to focus on food systems. The goal is to create a plant-based food system that is both equitable and beneficial for both human and environmental health. This is an urgent matter and it is imperative that everyone signs the plant-based treaty and ensures that CopP29 is completely vegan.

John Kerry has stated that these climate negotiations have reached a critical point, urging other nations to increase their goals in Dubai. During a media briefing, the US climate representative emphasized the urgency of the situation by referencing recent environmental catastrophes. He urged for mature and responsible actions to accomplish the task at hand.

Kerry expressed satisfaction with the progress made by the US during the first week of Cop28, citing measures taken to reduce methane pollution, a commitment to not construct new coal plants, and a plan to triple renewable energy. However, he acknowledged that the second week may present challenges, specifically regarding disagreements with China, such as their continued use of coal.

Kerry’s overall attitude regarding the Dubai conference was positive. He expressed, “I sense a new level of energy and purpose here, a stronger sense of urgency.”

According to him, the transition to green energy would not be hindered even by another term of Donald Trump as president. However, the US continues to break records in oil and gas production this year, a fact that Kerry did not acknowledge.

Kerry stated that individuals will evaluate those who take action and those who do not during the negotiations. He believes that we will ultimately achieve a worldwide economy with low or no carbon emissions, but the pressing question is whether we will do so in time to prevent the severe consequences of this crisis, as predicted by the 2018 IPCC report.

John Kerry

The United Arab Emirates has warmly welcomed him with great hospitality.

The president of Russia plans to meet with the president of the UAE to discuss Gaza, Ukraine, and oil production. This is a unique overseas trip for Putin, as he rarely travels outside of Russia due to an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The UAE and Saudi Arabia do not acknowledge this warrant.

Greenpeace Nordic recently conducted a press conference at Cop28, accompanied by climate legal experts, to address their legal battle against the Norwegian government.

The groups contended that the recent authorizations for three oilfields go against the nation’s constitution and its obligations under international human rights agreements. This is due to a decision by Norway’s highest court mandating that the government must evaluate the potential global climate impact of new oil and gas fields before granting approval.

Climate and energy expert Klimentina Radkova of Greenpeace Nordic expressed frustration with the Norwegian government’s defense of expanding oil and gas production, despite acknowledging the dire state of climate science. She emphasized the need for concrete actions to be taken, and expressed optimism about the outcome of the court case.

Equinor’s oil platform in Johan Sverdrup oilfield in the North Sea, Norway

The Norwegian government did not dispute the impact of the climate crisis, but maintained that their oil and gas production would ultimately have a beneficial effect on the environment. This stance is shared by numerous oil-producing governments, such as UK officials who have falsely asserted that North Sea oil and gas is more environmentally friendly than other fossil fuels available.

Nikki Reisch, the director of the climate and energy program at the Center for International Environmental Law (Cile) in the United States, stated that the recent case in Norway is just one example of the increasing number of lawsuits being brought against decisions to expand fossil fuel production in the face of growing climate disruption. Reisch warned oil and gas companies and their financiers that legal challenges will likely arise wherever they attempt to open new fields. Regardless of whether countries agree to a comprehensive and expedited transition away from fossil fuels at the Cop28 meeting, they will still be held accountable in court for meeting the demands of science and justice.

I am excited to introduce our youngest participant yet for the fashion blog, Lova Renée from Madagascar. At only 13 years old, she is already a fashion expert and future advocate for climate change. Her meeting with climate activist Vanessa Nakate at the Unicef event this morning was incredibly inspiring and she was filled with excitement.

Lova Renee

Source: theguardian.com