On December 6, 2023, during COP28, Simon Stiell, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, delivered a press conference outlining the urgent need for transformative action to combat climate change. Stiell emphasized the necessity of abandoning business as usual to address the climate crisis effectively.
He highlighted the success of the Transitional Committee's strategy on loss and damage, which saw accelerated development in the past year. However, Stiell stressed that this achievement was just the beginning and called on all countries to provide clear instructions to their negotiators, prioritizing maximum ambition over political point-scoring.
Stiell underscored the importance of finance as a critical enabler of climate action and called for its prioritization in discussions. While acknowledging the progress made on loss and damage, he emphasized the need for increased transparency in funding global climate action.
The Executive Secretary emphasized that good intentions alone would not be sufficient to cut emissions in half or save lives. He called for significant progress in finance to produce tangible results on the ground. Stiell urged the delivery of quadrupled adaptation funding, emphasizing the importance of the Global Adaptation Goal and the need for more countries to develop National Adaptation Plans.
Regarding the Global Stocktake, Stiell mentioned the presence of a starting text on the table, but described it as a mixed bag of wish lists and posturing. He stressed the need to prioritize ambitious outcomes to save lives and maintain the 1.5-degree target.
In a bold statement, Stiell called for COP28 to deliver a bullet train to accelerate climate action by the end of the following week. He compared the current progress to an aging caboose on creaky tracks and highlighted that the necessary tools, technology, and solutions are available. He concluded by urging governments and negotiators to seize these opportunities and take decisive action.