Significant declarations at COP28

5 December 2023

A new international consensus on nuclear power 

A historic Ministerial Declaration signed on 2 December at the COP28 UN climate change conference in Dubai by more than twenty countries has set a clear goal of tripling global nuclear energy capacity by 2050.

The declaration was announced on the second day of the world climate action summit by the heads of state of France, Romania, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Belgium, and the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, as well as energy ministers and senior officials of the other countries signing the declaration.

The declaration marks the first time that governments have joined together at the UN’s leading climate conference to endorse nuclear power. The declaration also calls on shareholders of the World Bank and other multilateral and regional financial institutions to include nuclear energy in their lending policies.

The signatory countries represent nearly one-third of the world economy by purchasing power parity. Overall, countries accounting for more than 75% of world’s economy now have new nuclear plans, according to the Nuclear Industry Association’s analysis of data from the World Nuclear Association and International Atomic Energy Agency.

Of the world’s 10 largest economies, only Germany does not plan new reactors.

Loss and damage fund agreed on first day 

A major development on 30 November, the first day of the summit, was a key funding deal, dubbed the ‘loss and damage fund’ to help poorer nations cope with the impact of the climate crisis. The find aims to provide financial assistance to poorer nations that have been hit by climate-related disasters – for example, communities displaced by floods or rising sea levels. This issue has long been a sticking point in COP negotiations.

The UAE immediately pledged $100m, then other states followed suit – at least $51 million from Britain, $17.5 million from the United States, and $10 million from Japan. Later, the European Union pledged $245.39 million, which included $100 million pledged by Germany.

COP28 president Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber said the decision sent a "positive signal of momentum to the world and to our work here in Dubai."

The early breakthrough on the damage fund, which poorer nations had demanded for years, could help make it easier for other compromises to be made during the summit. But some groups were cautious about celebrating the fund's early adoption, noting there were still unresolved issues including how the fund would be financed in the future.

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