By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai, UAE

Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Anne Rasmussen, has laid out the pressing need for concrete actions at COP28, highlighting the organisation’s priorities centered around fossil fuel phase-out, ambitious NDCs, and keeping the 1.5°C target alive.

Rasmussen emphasised AOSIS’s longstanding call for the phasing out of fossil fuels and subsidies.

She emphasied the importance of achieving an accelerated Just Transition, allowing nations to transition to alternative energy sources and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

She reiterated that this transition aligns with the best available science demonstrating the urgent need for action.

“Keeping 1.5 alive within reach is the heart of AOSIS calls,” Rasmussen stated, highlighting the critical nature of staying on the trajectory outlined in the Paris Agreement. She stressed the feasibility of this trajectory if major emitters enhance their NDCs and called for a robust global stocktake outcome during COP28.

AOSIS seeks a political declaration and a robust Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) decision that outlines an action plan, providing a clear pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Rasmussen called for technical work undertaken during the stocktake process to be captured in an annex, facilitating the implementation and enhancement of NDCs under the Global Stocktake (GST).

“We know that we are off track, but it is imperative that we course-correct,” she said.

Rasmussen outlined AOSIS’s calls for swift operationalisation and capitalisation of loss and damage, as well as progress on the global goal on adaptation.
She stressed the need for a strong commitment to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and urged developed countries to urgently deliver on their climate finance commitments, including the promised USD$100 billion, and provide sufficient finance for small island states.

Dr Ian Fry, the UN Special Rapporteur on climate change and human rights, provided insights into the expected outcomes of COP28.

Ian Fry

He expressed hope that the global stocktake would drive new ambitions for countries, encouraging stronger commitments towards NDCs.

Fry, however, expressed caution, noting the potential focus on the Just Transition agenda at the expense of a substantial call for action on climate change.

He highlighted a shift in language towards the concept of a just transition and stressed the urgent need for substantial action to reduce emissions.

Rasmussen reiterated AOSIS’s unwavering call for fossil fuel phase-out, emphasising that renewable energy goals should not substitute this critical objective. While acknowledging the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency, she clarified that these goals must go hand in hand with the phased elimination of fossil fuels.

As COP28 unfolds, the words of Anne Rasmussen echo the urgency for decisive actions, setting a clear tone for the negotiations and the collective responsibility to address the imminent threats of climate change.