As the world prepares for COP28, the upcoming UN climate change conference in the United Arab Emirates, a range of pressing issues are at the forefront of discussions. Among them are the urgent need for action, the role of the fossil fuel industry, the importance of strengthening climate ambitions, addressing the challenges of loss and damage, bridging the global climate divide, and promoting collective responsibility.
These issues were extensively addressed during a panel discussion at the 7th edition of the Financial Times Global Boardroom, a three-day digital conference running from November 8 to 10, featuring insights from over 100 leaders from business, policy, finance, and top FT journalists.
“The one thing that this COP needs to deliver on and the presidency will have to navigate is responsibility” — Senator Sherry Rehman
The discussion, titled “COP28: Will the first global stocktake drive further action?”, featured a distinguished group of panelists, including Senator Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s former federal minister for climate change and founding chair of the Senate Parliamentary Caucus on Climate Change; Ahmed Abdelaal, Chief Executive Officer of UAE-based bank Mashreq; Majid Al Suwaidi, Director General at UAE COP28 Presidency; and Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation (ECF).
During the discussion, Senator Rehman stressed the need for immediate and transformative action to address climate change and highlighted the growing climate stress and the urgency of recognizing that no region is immune to its impacts.
She advocated for engaging oil and gas producers in the COP negotiations, arguing that their participation could lead to a more collaborative approach and encourage them to contribute to the solution rather than being seen as part of the problem.
“The one thing that this COP needs to deliver on and the presidency will have to navigate is responsibility – whether it’s [related to] climate finance, meeting pledges on emissions or reducing emissions, biodiversity which was pledged last year, or whether it is about alleviating the heft and capital of the global goal on adaptation,” she said.
Senator Rehman acknowledged the positive commitments made by countries like China and the United States but stressed the importance of strengthening these goals and delivering on them. She also stressed that climate action required political leadership and capital to achieve meaningful outcomes.
“I think the world needs a milestone, whether it be on adaptation, whether it be in the reduction of emissions or the loss and damage fund commitments, and some translatable action on transferring resources. On the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, the keyword is responsibility all along, from consumers to civil society, to take responsibility for their consumerism, for their actions, to big countries, to big business, it has to be responsibility.”
Contributing to the discussion, Tubiana, the chief of the European Climate Foundation, expressed her gratitude for Senator Rehman’s call for greater responsibility among stakeholders. She pointed out the significance of cooperation and laid emphasis on the necessity of technology and financial collaboration to effectively combat climate change.
Tubiana also highlighted the importance of rigorous emission reduction measures and said: “The catastrophe [due to the floods] in Pakistan was huge last year but every country is suffering. Climate change does not care about power, armies, or geopolitical influence.”
Al Suwaidi, as the Director General at UAE COP28 Presidency, expressed excitement about delivering game-changing results at COP 28. He emphasized the need for transparency, accountability, and seriousness in addressing climate change and recognized the global stocktake was off track to achieve the 1.5-degree goals.
He further laid emphasis on the importance of having all stakeholders at the table to fast-track energy transition and decarbonization.
Abdelaal, the CEO of UAE-based bank Mashreq, highlighted the necessity of transitioning to sustainable financing. He emphasized the importance of taking steps toward sustainable financing to address climate change effectively.
In conclusion, the Financial Times Global Boardroom discussions underscored the importance of collective action, accountability, and the inclusion of all stakeholders in the fight against climate change. The insights shared during the conference serve as a reminder that addressing climate change requires a concerted effort from governments, businesses, international organizations, and individuals alike.