13 Dec, 2023

Liberals tackle climate change at COP28

Liberal leaders took part in the 2023 United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP28), negotiating on key topics for a sustainable future in Europe and beyond.  

European liberals have been calling for a more effective response to the challenge of climate change, especially in the current geopolitical context of the post-pandemic recovery, Putin’s atrocious war against Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis.  

Our goal is to reach our target of climate neutrality by 2050 by accelerating the deployment of all types of renewable and carbon-neutral sources, putting clean energy at the core of our industrial policies to stimulate the growth of our economy and tech sectors and reduce our dependencies. 

We want to enable every European citizen and business to adapt to the sustainable transition in the best possible way while remaining competitive and ensure economic growth.  

Over the course of COP28, several influential liberals such as European leaders and Commissioners, Prime Ministers, members of national and European parliaments joined the debate on a sustainable future. 

European Council President Charles Michel stressed the need to stick to the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and to free ourselves as quickly as possible from fossil fuel dependence. 

“This summit is not just a conference. It is in fact an examination and even an examination of conscience: taking stock of the global situation since the Paris Agreement, and above all, taking more action more quickly. We are determined to triple renewables, to double energy efficiency. And we stand by developing countries. We know we must show solidarity, we know we have a responsibility,” said President Michel. 

Read the full speech 

European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson insisted on the importance of building on the Global Methane pledge launched at COP26 in 2021 with initiatives such as the European regulation on methane emissions in the industry sector. 

“Together, we have created the building blocks of the Global Methane pledge, we have nurtured it with our engagement and we have succeeded in expanding its membership. Now is the time to show how the commitments we took two years ago are turned into action,” said Commissioner Simson. 

Read the full speech 

European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer participated in the Ministerial meeting organised by the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, outlining the EIB’s work to end support for fossil fuel projects. 

“This decision was not just about what we would not do. It has gone hand in hand with a massive push for climate action. The impact of this decision is visible today. We made ambitious commitments, and we are on track to deliver on them. Last year alone, we invested €19 billion in clean energies. And this shows very clearly that there is no trade-off between climate action and development,” said President Hoyer. 

Read the full speech 

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte told leaders they owe the young generations urgent action in tackling global warming. 

“I asked the youth members of our delegation what they expected me to bring home from Dubai. Their answer was clear: they expect us to deliver on the commitments already made, and to step up our efforts on phasing out fossil fuels. The young people of the world are calling upon us: to deliver on our promises, to step up our ambitions, and to work together in embracing our collective responsibility. Let us work tirelessly to secure their future,” said Prime Minister Rutte. 

Read the full speech 

Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas highlighted how Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine has threatened climate security. 

“We cannot afford to be distracted by the geopolitical scheming of those who use ecocide as a tool of warfare. Russia’s full-scale aggression has a global impact, including to food security. It’s vital we join our efforts not only to reduce the global impact of ecocide but to help Ukrainians to stop the aggressor and rebuild their country sustainably,” said Prime Minister Kallas. 

Read the full speech 

Emma Wiesner MEP (Centerpartiet, SE), Martin Hojsík MEP (Progresívne Slovensko, SK), Morten Helveg Petersen MEP (Radikale Venstre, DK) and Jan Huitema MEP (VVD, NL) were among the Member of the European Parliament present at the event, while Renew Europe CoR’s Vincent Chauvet was part of the official European Committee of the Regions’ delegation. 

The 2023 United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP28) is held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 30 November-12 December. 

Photo: Stenbocki maja / European Council 2023

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