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More than 800 leaders from the worlds of politics, business and science have called on summit president Sultan Al-Jaber to ensure that COP28 delivers a plan to keep the Paris-aligned 1.5C temperature goal within reach.

In an open letter, they call for a phaseout of fossil fuels, a tripling of renewable energy by 2030 and a doubling of energy efficiency across the world.

They also call for a shake-up of climate finance and an end to deforestation and land degradation, also by 2030.

The signatories include ex-New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ahern, former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, entrepreneur Richard Branson, scientists Jane Goodall and Johan Rockström, and economist Adair Turner.

Fossil fuel fight

They call on Al-Jaber to ensure that COP28 delivers on three key issues. First, “an orderly phaseout of all fossil fuels in a just and equitable way, in line with a 1.5C trajectory”. Whether or not to phase out or phase down all fossil fuels is currently being debated at COP. A number of powerful delegations, including the US, China and India, have expressed opposition to the language ‘phasing out’. This is expected to be one of the key battle grounds during the remaining days of the Dubai summit. Around 120 countries have already signed up to tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency by 2030.

Second, they call for the “enabling environment to scale up and shift public and private finance, with developed countries taking the lead in action and support”. There have been growing calls in the run up to COP for a radical shake up of international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to allow for increased support for those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. While the setting up of a loss and damage fund was hailed by Al-Jaber at the start of COP, funds remain woefully inadequate to meet the needs of those countries most at risk.

Finally, the signatories call for “the halt and reversal of deforestation and land degradation as well as biodiversity and other ecosystem loss by 2030”.

In addition, they call for resilient food systems, a strong global goal on adaptation and a price on carbon.

All these goals must be supported by stronger national climate plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, “well before” COP30 in 2025, they say.

Included in the signatories are more than 300 chief executives, 70 scientists, 30 financiers, 240 NGOs as well as mayors, investors, indigenous peoples, faith leaders, athletes and health professionals.