On Friday, 1 December, President Alain Berset, represented Switzerland at the meeting of heads of state at the opening of the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A major discussion point at the conference is how to keep within reach the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. The focus of this year’s COP is on the -global stocktake-, in which countries, for the first time, jointly take stock of the progress made under the Paris Agreement.
Mr Berset stressed that COP28 is a key moment, as it is the first time the global community takes stock of the progress made since the Paris Agreement: "This is our last chance to act and achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century." According to scientific findings, the average global temperature has already risen by 1.1 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. Global warming of one degree means a temperature rise of two degrees in Switzerland, due to its location. The melting of the cryosphere, and so of the glaciers, is accelerating. In 2022 and 2023 - two extreme years - the volume of Swiss glaciers shrank by ten per cent.
Without swift and coherent action by the international community, the situation will continue to deteriorate, emphasised Mr Berset. The opportunity to achieve the 1.5-degree target can only be grasped if all states are committed, he said. Switzerland is committed to ensuring that the global stocktake identifies any gaps in efforts to reduce carbon emissions, adapt to climate change and in climate financing. Recommendations for action can then be drawn up on this basis.
In Dubai, Switzerland is also calling for resolutions to phase out oil and gas by 2050 and coal by 2040. Another topic on the agenda is the Loss and Damage Fund agreed at COP27. On the opening day, the states agreed on the main features of the fund. This is intended in particular to support the poorest countries and those most affected by climate change. Switzerland welcomes the fact that the fund can begin its work quickly. However, it would have liked all countries with high emissions and sufficient financial resources to be asked to contribute to the fund, which Switzerland believes should help the poorest countries and those most affected by climate change.
Against this backdrop and to realise the goal of doubling adaptation funding, over the next four years Switzerland will provide CHF 135 million for the Green Climate Fund (GCF), CHF 15 million for the Adaptation Fund (AF), CHF 15 million for the African Development Bank’s Climate Action Window and CHF 5 million for the Amazon Fund. It will also contribute CHF 1 million to the Santiago Network, a group of UN institutions and NGOs which provides technical assistance to countries affected by disasters, for example by setting up early warning systems.
President Alain Berset and Federal Councillor Alfred Rösti at COP28
Mr Berset will remain in Dubai until Saturday, 2 December, taking part in discussions on climate financing and the launch of the G7 Climate Club. He will also use the conference for bilateral talks with representatives of other countries. As the conference progresses, Switzerland will also be represented by Federal Councillor Albert Rösti, head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), who is expected to travel to Dubai on Friday, 8 December. Mr Rösti will be involved in negotiations at ministerial level and in the conference decision-making process. Among other things, he will sign further bilateral agreements on emission-reduction projects with several partner countries.
General Secretariat FDHA