COP28: What happened at climate change conference – Day 2

Among Day 2 COP28 highlights, a US$30 billion climate fund was unveiled
COP28 highlights from Day 2 include a US$30bn BlackRock-backed climate fund, updates on the Global Stocktake, and AI innovation from IBM and Microsoft

Following on from the opening day of COP28, which was made memorable thanks to the significant pledges made towards the Loss & Damage Fund, Day 2 of the UN climate change conference in Dubai saw several notable commitments and announcements.

That Loss & Damage Fund, which has secured US$420 million in pledges, will be hosted at the World Bank for four years – with money used to help emerging economies repair damage and improve their defences against drought, flooding, and rising sea levels.

A US$30 billion climate fund was announced by the COP28 Presidency, backed by global asset managers BlackRock, TPG, and Brookfield. Called ALTÉRRA, the fund will focus on scaling climate change solutions, and hopes to mobilise US$250 billion by 2030.

Staying with finance, The UAE Declaration on a Global Climate Finance Framework was launched, looking to make climate finance more accessible and affordable.

According to the OECD, developed countries have finally met their US$100 billion pledge on climate financing – albeit three years later than originally planned.

While these pledges and commitments are welcome, there is a growing sense that it could be too little, too late. COP28 is the first Global Stocktake, and results are worrying. The Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C will not be met, according to projections that show warming will hit 2.4C to 2.6C – even if all existing pledges are met.

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The first day of the inaugural Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum (BPCF) saw 500 business leaders join the fight against climate change – the first time that the private sector is being heard at COP. It is hoped that the private sector’s dynamism and innovation could play a vital role in climate action.

No conversation would be complete with adding AI into the mix, and both Microsoft and IBM announced efforts to combat key climate challenges using AI technologies.

AI in tackling climate change – announcements

Microsoft revealed a partnership that will enable UNFCCC to create a new AI-powered platform and global climate data hub to measure and analyse global progress in reducing emissions. This will equip UNFCC and member states with the tools they need to efficiently report and validate progress toward carbon reduction targets – this includes tracking transportation, agriculture, and industrial processes.

“Simply put, you can’t fix what you can’t measure, and these new AI and data tools will allow nations to measure emissions far better than they can today,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft.

Brad Smith, President, Microsoft

IBM announced efforts to combat key climate challenges using geospatial AI technologies.

Developed in collaboration with NASA, IBM’s foundation model will be used to increase climate resiliency in the UK, for analysis of urban heat islands in the UAE, and reforestation projects across Kenya.

“Climate change is a real and pressing issue that we must find new ways to address as quickly and efficiently as possible, including through today’s most advanced AI technologies,” said Alessandro Curioni, IBM Fellow and Vice President, Accelerated Discovery at IBM. 

“AI foundation models utilising geospatial data can be a game-changer because they allow us to better understand, prepare and address the many climate-related events effecting the health of our planet in a manner and speed never before seen. We are hopeful these technologies can help accelerate the rate at which we derive and apply solutions for a safer and healthier planet for future generations.”

IBM will work with the Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) in the UAE to apply foundation models to the mapping of urban heat islands – areas with higher temperatures compared to surrounding locations. 

IBM and NASA have also announced work on a new AI foundation model for weather and climate, which aims to improve the accuracy, speed and affordability of weather forecasting and other climate applications. 

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