NAIROBI, September 5 – The world is losing the race to reach its climate change targets, according to the president of the next COP28 summit, as African leaders called for improvements to an unjust international climate funding system.
The pessimistic assessment by Sultan Al Jaber, who will preside over the summit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in late November, comes just three days before the United states releases its first "global stocktake," an evaluation of how states are faring in their efforts to combat climate change.
"We are not delivering the results that we need in the time that we need them," Jaber, who also runs the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, told participants at Kenya's capital, Nairobi, at the inaugural Africa Climate Summit.
The meeting, which began on Monday, is aimed at raising funds for Africa's response to climate change.
While Africa is experiencing some of the most severe effects of climate change, researchers estimate that the area only receives around 12% of the funding it requires to cope.
On Monday, hundreds of millions of dollars in investments in sustainable development projects were announced, and on Tuesday, Jaber stated that the UAE would invest $4.5 billion to generate 15 GW of clean power in Africa by 2030.
Africa now has approximately 60 GW of installed renewable energy capacity.
Germany also pledged 450 million euros ($482.31 million) in funding, including $60 million for a green hydrogen project in Kenya, and the US donated $30 million to climate resilience and food security projects.
Officials in Africa say the investments are good, but satisfying the continent's funding needs will necessitate a reform of the global climate financing framework, especially given governments' heavy debt loads.
African states intend to press for the expansion of special drawing rights at the International Monetary Fund at the COP28, which could release $500 billion in climate money that could be leveraged up to five times.
Kenyan President William Ruto has stated that special drawing privileges should be made accessible to countries in need, something he claims has not previously occurred.
He called for multilateral finance institutions to expand concessional lending and for a "conversation" regarding a carbon tax to finance development, claiming that African countries pay five times as much in interest as other borrowers.
"Those who produce garbage refuse to pay their bills," Ruto remarked, contrasting his tone from Monday, when he stated that the summit was not intended to "catalogue grievances and list problems."
The suggestion, according to Joseph Ng'ang'a, who was nominated by Ruto to manage the summit's secretariat, was a carbon tax collected from fuel suppliers, freeing governments of internal political pressure against charging fossil fuel consumption.
"If the carbon tax is implemented at the source... every barrel that comes out of the ground has a tax on it," he explained. "And because fossil fuels are sold on a global market, you can track it, so it's an even cost all over the world."
Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, has advocated for the continent's natural resources, particularly its forests that store carbon, to be taken into account when calculating economic production. He stated that this will make debt finance more accessible to African countries.
A loss and damage fund was agreed upon at last year's COP27 to assist poor countries devastated by climate disasters, but Majid Al Suwaidi, the director general of COP28, said negotiations on how to implement it were moving too slowly.
"We have been urging countries to make early commitments because it is not enough to operationalize the fund; it must also be capitalised," says the UNDP.