The urgent call for decisive action on climate change echoed through the halls of COP28 in Dubai as global leaders, policymakers and advocates convened for the "Pathways to 1.5°C" dialogue. The event, hosted by the UN Office for Partnerships, aimed to address the critical need for a just, inclusive and equitable energy transition to combat the worsening climate crisis.
The dialogue opened at the SDG Pavilion as Ms. Annemarie Hou, Executive Director of the UN Office for Partnerships, welcomed viewers to a discussion on energy transition that would shape the future of our planet. Mr. Ian Phillips, Director of News and Media at the UN Department of Global Communication, set the stage at the SDG Studio in New York, highlighting the significance of the moment and the pivotal role of the international community.
Energy Transition Challenges and Solutions
Dr. Christophe McGlade, Head of the Energy Supply Unit and lead author of the World Energy Outlook, emphasized the progress made in reducing fossil fuel demand while underscoring the urgent need for a faster decline. He called for ambitious pledges at COP28, including to triple renewables capacity and double energy efficiency, critical steps for a significant reduction in fossil fuel demand.
Ms. Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown and C40 Co-Chair, emphasized the crucial role of cities in leading the way toward ambitious climate goals. She stressed the importance of collaboration, saying that “If we want to see us meet the ambition, we need city actions to come in and be supported by governments.”
Professor Avinash Persaud, Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of Barbados, highlighted the challenge of energy transition in developing countries, stressing the need for financial instruments to lower the cost of capital. "The energy transformation has to take place in the countries that are now the big emitters. Paris Agreement has served well around ambition, but ambition without finance is empty ambition.” Professor Persaud said “We now need this finance in developing countries.” He called for a stronger link between climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Civil Society's Role in Climate Action
Ms. Agnes Hall, Campaigns Director at 350.org, spoke passionately about the urgent need for action in the face of escalating climate impacts. She emphasized that people are already taking a stand, putting their lives on the line to address the climate crisis. Ms. Hall called for a fully financed transition to renewables "We need that investment in renewable energy to power up our future of clean energy access for everyone."
Insights from the UN Deputy Secretary-General
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed pointed to the challenges of addressing the climate emergency while emphasizing the importance of speaking to both governments and individuals. She highlighted the role of young voices and the global community's collective responsibility, "It's not just an energy transition; it's women, it's youth without hope, it's a sustainable development agenda. Let's do all of this together."
The "Pathways to 1.5°C" dialogue left an indelible mark on COP28, emphasizing the need for immediate, collective, and transformative action to secure a climate-safe future for generations to come.
Stay tuned for updates on the fight for a better climate future at un.org/climatechange