Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President, delivered a keynote address at the commencement of the 2023 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland. In his speech, he emphasized the perilous consequences of climate change on the vulnerable Arctic ecosystems and urged nations to rally behind the COP28 Action Agenda to attain the goals set by the Paris Agreement.
The Arctic Circle Assembly, an influential global gathering with over 2,000 attendees from 60 nations, including key figures like Chairman Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, serves as a pivotal platform for climate discussions and energy security with more than 700 speakers and 200 sessions, primarily focused on climate change.
Dr. Al Jaber stressed the imperative of cutting 22 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions in seven years to stay within the 1.5°C limit, emphasizing the need for global unity. The COP28 Action Agenda, he stated, provides a practical roadmap centered on pillars like accelerating the energy transition, addressing climate finance, prioritizing people’s well-being, and ensuring inclusivity.
To expedite the energy transition, Dr. Al Jaber advocated for fairness, responsible management, and leaving no one behind, while setting a global goal to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030.
Moreover, his presidency actively engages with oil and gas companies to eliminate methane emissions by 2030 and work toward Net Zero by 2050. Discussions with high-emission sectors aim to accelerate their transition and decarbonize energy use.
Dr. Al Jaber called for a significant increase in climate finance, including fulfilling the US$100 billion commitment to developing nations, revitalizing the Green Climate Fund, doubling adaptation finance, and operationalizing loss and damage funds. He also emphasized the need for multilateral development bank reform and market mechanisms to attract private-sector finance.
Protecting people, lives, and livelihoods remained a core goal, with a focus on health, food, and nature at the forefront of COP28’s agenda. Dr. Al Jaber urged countries to sign the COP28 Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action, as well as the first-ever Climate and Health Declaration.
Lastly, Dr. Al Jaber stressed the significance of full inclusivity, emphasizing that COP28 welcomes all voices from every corner of the world and aims to unite diverse perspectives in the pursuit of progress and partnership. He also praised Iceland’s pioneering efforts in geothermal energy and the establishment of the world’s largest direct air capture facility.