Taoiseach urges Cop28 to take advantage of 'crucial opportunity'

Taoiseach urges Cop28 to take advantage of 'crucial opportunity'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will hold several bilateral meetings with world leaders. File photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that delegates at the Cop28 conference must take advantage of the "crucial opportunity" to take steps to address the climate crisis.

Mr Varadkar is in Dubai for the 28th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, which will see two weeks of negotiations on how to cut emissions and reduce the impact of climate change on people and the environment. The government says the 2023 Summit is "one of the most important in years", as it will see what progress has been made to meet the targets agreed upon in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Mr Varadkar will hold several bilateral meetings with world leaders. Speaking from Dubai, he said: "We’ve had a year of record-breaking temperatures and alarming severe weather events, including some on our own shores, which have had disastrous consequences for the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people around the world. 

"This is a crucial opportunity. We must work harder and faster to secure a safe, healthy, prosperous environment for all."

Mr Varadkar said that climate finance was key to helping individuals—allowing countries that suffer the most from climate change to have easier access to the finances and resources they need.

"I look forward to Cop28 making progress on a new loss and damage fund. Ireland has committed to €225m a year from 2025 to climate finance, the highest ever in our history, and I fully expect us to reach that target.

"At a time when the world is divided in so many ways, the urgent need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and bring down our emissions is one challenge that unites us all. We also need to scale up and prioritise adaptation."

Mr Varadkar noted that Ireland had lots of opportunities, particularly when it comes to renewable energy.

"We have vast natural resources, which we can harness, making us energy independent and fuelling our economy with cheap, reliable, secure energy.

“The transition must be just and fair. I’m really conscious that both the effects of climate change and the actions needed to prevent it, do not affect people equally, so we must make sure we protect the most vulnerable in everything we do.

"Whatever is agreed here at Cop28, it will have consequences for the future of our planet and its people."

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