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COP28: Climate action must be hastened — people are paying with their lives, says Simon Stiell

COP28: Climate action must be hastened — people are paying with their lives, says Simon Stiell
November 30
12:58 2023

Simon Stiell, the executive secretary of the United Nations, says countries need to accelerate climate action because communities around the world depend on it.

Speaking during the opening plenary of the 28th session of the climate change conference (COP28), Stiell said the world is taking baby steps that are far too slow to mitigate the complex impact of climate change. 

He said 2023 has broken so many terrifying records and the world will continue to pay with people’s lives if action is not taken now. 

“We are taking baby steps. Stepping far too slowly from an unstable world that lacks resilience, to working out the best responses to the complex impacts we are facing,” he said.


“We must teach climate action to run. Because this has been the hottest year ever for humanity. So many terrifying records were broken. We are paying with people’s lives and livelihoods.

“Firstly — we connote the lack of progress, tweaking our current best practices and encourage ourselves to do more ‘at some other point in time’ or we decide at what point we will have made everyone on the planet safe and resilient.

“We decide to fund this transition properly, including the response to loss and damage. And we decide to commit to a new energy system.”


Speaking on the need for a just transition, Stiell said the world must signal the terminal decline of the fossil fuel era or it will end up terminating humanity. 

“If this transition isn’t just, we won’t transition at all. That means justice within and between countries.

“Sharing benefits across society. Ensuring that everyone — women, indigenous peoples and youth, in all their diversity — have equal opportunities to benefit from these transitions.”

Ahead of the new rounds of the 2025 submissions for the nationally determined contributions (NDCs), Stiell also said countries must begin to work on how to deliver new ambition. 


He added that he will ensure the UNFCCC tracks all announcements made and initiatives launched to ensure promises are met to save the planet.

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