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Smog obscures Dubai skyline on ‘Health’ day at COP28 climate summit

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Dubai’s glitzy skyline was obscured by a blanket of smog rated as “unhealthy” on Sunday as thousands of delegates attended the fourth day of the COP28 summit, which was designated as “health” day and where topics of discussion include air quality and the unhealthy affects of climate change. 

  • Hillary Clinton calls for insurance reform at COP28 climate talks 

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Sunday for reform of the insurance sector, where companies are increasingly withdrawing assistance against climate shocks.

Lower-income countries and workers in nations most affected by climate change are struggling to access insurance to help protect them from economic shocks.

“We need to rethink the insurance industry,” Clinton said during a panel on women and climate resiliency. “Insurance companies are pulling out of so many places. They’re not insuring homes. They’re not insuring businesses.”

  • COP28 delegates urge greater action on climate-linked health risks

Physicians, activists and country representatives at this year’s COP28 UN climate summit in Dubai have called for greater global efforts to protect people from the increasing health and safety risks posed by climate change.

With global temperatures set to continue climbing for decades, experts say countries will need to boost funding for healthcare as heatwaves become more dangerous and diseases like malaria and cholera spread.

Climate-related impacts “have become one of the greatest threats to human health in the 21st century”, COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber said in a statement.

  • Former US vice president Gore takes aim at host UAE’s emissions

Armed with satellite images of pipelines, former US vice president and climate champion Al Gore singled out the emissions of the United Arab Emirates at the COP28 talks in the oil-rich monarchy on Sunday.

Gore and Climate TRACE, an independent emissions tracker, had a message in Dubai to countries and industries around the world: no one can hide their emissions anymore.

Using a network of 300 satellites and artificial intelligence, Climate TRACE can now monitor emissions from more than 352 million sites from 10 industries.

Its data showed the UAE’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by 7.5 percent in 2022 from the previous year, compared to a 1.5 percent increase for the entire world.

“In large regions of the world, it’s very uncommon to have any self-reporting” of emissions, Gore said.

Speaking in the main plenary room of the COP 28 site, Gore pointed to huge monitors showing satellite images of the major emitting sites in the UAE.

Another map showed leaks from pipelines.

  • Air pollution soars in Dubai on ‘Health’ day at COP28

Dubai’s skyline was obscured by a blanket of smog rated as “unhealthy” on Sunday as thousands of delegates attended the fourth day of the COP28 summit.

The air quality index reached 155 micrograms per cubic metre of PM2.5 pollution — the fine particulate matter that is most harmful, as it can enter the bloodstream — according to WAQI.info, a real-time pollution tracker.

In “unhealthy” air quality, “everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects,” the website warns.

Hazy conditions have been noticeable over the first few days of COP28, where negotiators are trying to hammer out a global agreement to reduce emissions and curb climate change.

Sunday is designated as “health” day at COP28, where topics under discussion include air quality and the unhealthy effects of climate change.

Outdoor air pollution driven by fossil fuel emissions kills more than four million people a year, according to the World Health Organization, as it increases the risk of respiratory diseases, strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes and other problems.

The damage is caused partly by PM2.5 microparticles, which mostly come from fossil fuels burned in transportation and industry.

COP28 is unfolding about 11 kilometres (seven miles) from the Jebel Ali Power and Desalination Complex, the world’s biggest gas-fuelled power station.

  • Suez Canal and Scatec sign $1.1 billion green methanol MoU

Egypt’s Suez Canal economic zone and Scatec ASA have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth $1.1 billion to supply ships with green fuel, a Suez Canal statement said on Sunday.

The MoU, agreed on the sidelines of COP28, envisages production of 100,000 tonnes of green methanol per year by 2027, the statement said.

  • Global regulators propose tougher scrutiny of voluntary carbon markets

A global securities watchdog proposed 21 safety measures on Sunday to improve integrity, transparency and enforcement in voluntary carbon markets (VCMs) in a sector of growing importance to efforts to combat climate change.

IOSCO, which groups market watchdogs from Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States, launched a 90-day public consultation on a set of good practices for national regulators to apply.

“VCMs have gained significant importance in recent years. But for these markets to succeed, they need integrity – both environmental and financial,” Rodrigo Buenaventura, chair of IOSCO’s sustainable finance taskforce, told an event at COP 28 on Sunday.

VCMs cover pollution-reducing projects, such as reforestation, renewable energy, biogas and solar power, that generate carbon credits companies buy to offset their emissions and meet net-zero targets.

  • Indonesia and the Asian Development Bank agree to deal to shutter coal-fired power plant early

 

Indonesia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have agreed to a provisional deal with the owners of the Cirebon-1 coal-fired power plant to shutter it almost seven years earlier than planned, the ADB’s senior climate change energy specialist told Reuters.

The deal, announced during the COP28 talks in Dubai, is the first under the ADB’s Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM) programme, which aims to help countries cut their climate-damaging carbon emissions.

Supporting a $20 billion Just Energy Transition Partnership agreed last year that aims to bring forward the sector’s peak emissions date to 2030, the ADB hopes to replicate it across other countries in the region.

“If we don’t address these coal plants, we’re not going to meet our climate goals,” ADB’s David Elzinga said on the sidelines of the conference.

“By doing this pilot transaction, we are learning what it takes to make this happen,” Elzinga said. “We’re very much shaping this as something we want to take to other countries.”

ADB also has active ETM programmes in Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, and is considering transactions in two other countries, it said.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP & Reuters)

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