World Leaders Gather for Pivotal Day Two of U.N. Climate Summit

by Madison Thomas
COP28 Summit

The pivotal United Nations climate summit, COP28, enters its second day with world leaders set to continue their urgent calls for decisive climate action. Following a first day marked by recognition of an increasingly imperiled Earth, Saturday’s agenda is expected to further lay the groundwork for substantial measures in the ensuing sessions.

Friday saw a host of global leaders, including presidents, prime ministers, and royalty, convene to discuss strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Their collective message underscored the urgency of collaborative efforts to prevent an escalating climate emergency, particularly poignant in the year 2023.

Approximately 150 key global decision-makers are present, with the initial day’s speeches extending into Saturday. Over 60 countries are yet to present their statements before the conference, scheduled to run until December 12, transitions into its primary phase of negotiations.

Notably absent are the leaders of the world’s two largest polluters: President Joe Biden of the United States and President Xi Jinping of China. Vice President Kamala Harris is slated to represent the U.S. on Saturday, a significant representation not seen since Vice President Al Gore’s participation at COP3 in Kyoto in 1997. Subsequent summits, particularly during President George W. Bush’s administration, saw lower-level U.S. participation.

COP summits have gained increasing significance over the years. President Barack Obama attended several during his tenure, while President Donald Trump’s administration participated minimally following the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. President Joe Biden marked his presence at both COP26 in Glasgow and COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The summit’s commencement on Friday featured a compelling address by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Drawing from his recent experiences witnessing the effects of climate change in Antarctica and Nepal, Guterres emphasized the dire state of the planet, urging leaders to act decisively to avoid a “planetary crash and burn.” He highlighted the exacerbating effects of climate change on global inequality and conflict, including the renewed hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

Guterres also pointed to the broader impact of climate change on economic and social stability, noting its role in escalating costs of living and energy crises. He stressed the potential of climate action in reversing these trends.

King Abdullah of Jordan linked the ongoing war in Gaza with climate change, emphasizing the compound effects of environmental challenges on conflict zones. Similarly, Kenya’s President William Ruto described climate change as a central issue of the current era, echoing the summit’s goals of significantly increasing renewable energy and improving energy efficiency.

However, debates surrounding fossil fuel dependency remain contentious. Guterres, a vocal critic of fossil fuel reliance, delivered a potent critique against the industry, including the summit’s host, the United Arab Emirates. He called for a complete phase-out of oil, coal, and gas to achieve the Paris Agreement’s target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The summit’s president released a document advocating a “phase-down” of fossil fuels, a stance less stringent than a full phase-out, which has been demanded by over 100 countries across Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. The challenge lies in reaching a consensus among the over 190 participating nations, as noted by the conference’s Director General Majid Al Suwaidi.

Reported by Jon Gambrell for Big Big News, this coverage is part of AP’s climate initiative and is supported by various private foundations. The AP maintains full editorial responsibility for all content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about COP28 Summit

What is the main focus of the COP28 summit?

The COP28 summit is primarily focused on addressing climate change, with world leaders discussing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent a climate crisis.

Who are the notable attendees at COP28?

The summit has gathered around 150 global decision-makers, including presidents, prime ministers, and royalty. Notably absent are the leaders of the top two polluting nations, the U.S. and China, represented by Vice President Kamala Harris and other delegates, respectively.

What are the goals of the COP28 summit?

Key goals of the COP28 summit include tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency, along with discussions on reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

How is the U.N. Secretary-General addressing climate change at COP28?

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized the critical state of the planet, urging leaders to act to prevent a “planetary crash and burn” and highlighting the link between climate change and global inequality and conflict.

What stance is being taken on fossil fuels at the summit?

There is a push for a complete phase-out of oil, coal, and gas to achieve the Paris Agreement’s warming limit, with some advocating for a “phase-down” of fossil fuels. This remains a contentious topic among the participating nations.

More about COP28 Summit

  • United Nations Climate Change Conference
  • COP28 Summit Overview
  • Global Leaders at COP28
  • Climate Action Goals of COP28
  • U.N. Secretary-General’s Address at COP28
  • Fossil Fuel Debate at COP28 Summit
  • Paris Agreement and COP28 Targets
  • COP28 Summit Participation and Absentees

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Sarah J December 2, 2023 - 11:52 am

really interesting to see how COP28 is evolving, its like every year the stakes get higher and the discussions more urgent. still, missing big players like Biden and Xi is a setback, isn’t it?

GreenWarrior December 3, 2023 - 12:54 am

Surprised to see so much focus on renewable energy, thats good news. But, are we doing enough? feels like too little too late sometimes…

EconWatcher December 3, 2023 - 6:09 am

The economic implications of these climate policies are huge. wonder how this will play out in global markets, especially with the current energy crisis.

Mike87 December 3, 2023 - 7:32 am

Guterres speech was on point. the planet’s in real trouble and we need action, not just talk. But, how realistic is phasing out fossil fuels completely?


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