► Sentence of the day
“Let’s emerge from the night of environmental devastation”
By Pope Francis, in the voice of Cardinal Parolin
It must have been a first for a pope, Saturday December 2. Francis had announced his participation in COP28 which is being held in the United Arab Emirates and was to give a speech there, after the publication of his apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum last October. He was eventually forced to withdraw due to lung inflammation. It was his Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who delivered his message in Dubai.
“Be the architects of a policy that gives concrete and coherent responses, demonstrating the nobility of the role you play, the dignity of the service you perform,” Francis asserts in his message, “because that is what power, to serve.”
The Pope’s message to Cop28: “Let us emerge from the night of environmental devastation”
► The number of the day
And more precisely, “multiply by three”. This is the (non-binding) commitment that nearly 120 countries have set: tripling renewable capacities in the world by 2030. Which, if achieved, would bring the world’s renewable capacity to 11,000 gigawatts (GW). total installed. An ambitious objective and seen as a first step: the UAE presidency wishes, like many countries, that the objective appears in the final COP agreement, which will be signed by all the countries.
At the same time, around twenty states – including France, the United States and the Emirates – called in a similar declaration to triple nuclear capacities in the world, this time by 2050. Under the hypothesis that the objective is achieved, this would bring the installed power to 1,200 GW. China and Russia, which are the leading builders of nuclear reactors in the world today, have not signed.
► SEEN FROM DUBAI, by our special correspondent
The shadow of Gaza hangs over the COP
On the first day of a COP, the press conference of the International Climate Action Network – an umbrella of 1900 environmental organizations – often sets the tone for the demands of civil society. And this time, it’s not just global warming that’s in the discussion. In the subdued press conference room, Tasneem Essop, the executive director, discusses the key points: the observation of the devastating impacts of global warming, the necessary exit from fossil fuels and evokes… the “ongoing genocide, 2000 km from us “.
From the first hours of the opening of the COP, the subject is on the table and the tension is palpable. Not surprising, when we know the repercussions of the Israel-Hamas conflict on an international scale. But a little more when we know that the COPs have the reputation of being a world apart, where the negotiators – who have often known each other for a long time – advance on technical climate subjects, not very susceptible to interference linked to other subjects of diplomacy worldwide. Proof, if any were still needed, of the North-South tension on the subject.
Israel-Hamas war, global disorder
This is also evidenced by the speeches of numerous heads of state and government, who took the podium one after the other on December 1 and 2: “It is impossible not to talk about the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories close to us,” for the president Turkish, Recep Tayyip Erdogan; “a genocide”, denounced the Colombian and Cuban presidents. “We are talking here about inclusiveness in the climate, let’s be inclusive for the most vulnerable,” launched the Jordanian president, who devoted almost the entirety of his speech.
Observers certainly expected the conflict to partially eclipse the climate issue, at least during bilateral meetings between heads of state. Thus, although he did not make a speech, Israeli President Isaac Hergoz led numerous diplomatic meetings. But perhaps not because he is so present in the speeches. It remains to be seen whether, once the heads of state leave, the final agreements will be influenced by tensions. For the moment, there is no sign that in the negotiation rooms the subject has disrupted the substance of the discussions.