As COP28 Falls Short in Delivering Change, Mercy Corps Urges Leaders to Rethink Climate Commitments

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) concluded today in Dubai with a final agreement that falls far short on delivering the change needed to effectively fight the climate crisis. The implementation of the Loss and Damage fund on the first day of the conference signaled that it was possible for leaders to unite behind action to protect the planet and its people, but the final decisions demonstrate a lack of ambition and commitment.

David Nicholson, Mercy Corps Chief Climate Officer, says:  

“While there are some promising steps within the COP28 outcomes, such as the agreement to transition away from fossil fuels and operationalize the Loss and Damage fund, we need more.  We were particularly concerned to see that the Loss and Damage fund remains purely voluntary – rather than based on the historical responsibilities of polluters. This COP also failed once again to prioritize action on adaptation. As we see progress on providing support to those most harmed by climate change through the Loss and Damage fund, we should not abandon efforts to make sure they are able to adapt and cope. Investing in adaption is a lifeline for women, men, and children who are losing their homes and livelihoods because of the climate crisis.

“Overall commitments are meaningless without the finance to support them, but climate finance was again a stumbling block at this COP. Developed countries are still failing to fulfill their existing climate finance commitments – in particular, adaptation finance, pledged to double since COP26 in Glasgow, lags behind growing needs. Even more concerning the wealthiest nations most responsible for climate change are seeking to lessen their responsibility for delivering on future climate finance commitments. 

“While the Global Stocktake does recognize the growing adaptation finance gap, as well as the need to provide public and grant-based finance to close this gap, more is needed to ensure communities – in particular those living in fragile and conflict-affected countries – can adapt and thrive. Unfortunately, the Global Goal on Adaptation, adopted at COP28, does not reflect the urgency we need and lacks any form of accountability from developed countries.

“No one can be blind to the fact that time is running out and we will have only so many chances to take action on preventing and ensuring the most climate-vulnerable can cope with climate change. The world expected a giant leap forward in ambition and urgency. COP28 disappointed.”

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