UN CLIMATE CHANGE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY URGES SWIFT ACTION AT COP28 OPENING

In a compelling address at the commencement of the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28), UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell stressed the urgency for accelerated global action to combat climate change. Acknowledging the transition of leadership from Egypt to the United Arab Emirates, Stiell emphasized the weighty responsibility of steering the world towards a more sustainable future. Drawing an analogy to his son's infancy, Stiell likened the current pace of climate action to tentative baby steps, urging delegates to propel these efforts forward at a much swifter rate. Highlighting the alarming environmental consequences of inaction, he reiterated the critical need to swiftly transition from an unstable and vulnerable world to one equipped to handle the complexities of climate impacts. Stiell outlined two pivotal options facing the COP28 attendees: either acknowledge the lack of progress and postpone actions, or commit to safeguarding every individual worldwide while swiftly transitioning to s ustainable practices. Emphasizing the need for equitable and just transitions, he advocated for inclusivity, ensuring that women, indigenous communities, and youth have equal opportunities in benefiting from these transformations. The Executive Secretary articulated a visionary plan for the upcoming years, announcing key milestones including the submission of Biennial Transparency Reports in 2024, finance goal agreements at COP29, and new Nationally Determined Contributions in early 2025. Stiell stressed the criticality of aligning commitments with a 1.5-degree world by COP30, underlining the finite time frame science indicates for combatting emissions. Moreover, Stiell expressed gratitude to young people and civil society for their advocacy while challenging world leaders to accept responsibility for expediting climate action. He unveiled enhanced accountability measures within the UNFCCC framework, including public disclosure of participant lists and meticulous tracking of initiatives and commitments made during the conference. In a powerful call-to-action, Stiell urged delegates to transform their conference participation into tangible actions, serving as both a badge of honor and a lifeline for millions impacted by climate change. He concluded by imploring the global community to accelerate efforts and imparted a resounding message: "Teach it to run." The address set a resolute tone for COP28, underscoring the pressing need for collective and immediate action in combatting the existential threat of climate change. Source: National News Agency - Lebanon