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Vice President Harris of the United States declares a commitment of $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund.
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Vice President Harris of the United States declares a commitment of $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund.

On Saturday, Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the United States, declared at the U.N. COP28 Climate Conference in Dubai that the U.S. will be contributing $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund. This fund, which is the biggest of its kind, aims to support developing nations in addressing the impacts of climate change.

The vice president stated that there are individuals globally who aim to hinder our advancement. These leaders reject the evidence of climate change, postpone taking action, and spread false information.

The commitment of billions of dollars to the climate fund must first gain approval from the U.S. Congress, where there is disagreement on the amount to be contributed.

On Saturday, the United States pledged to eliminate all coal-fired power plants in the country after joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance. The alliance states that coal is the primary contributor to the current climate crisis.

Significant discrepancies were exposed on Friday at the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) regarding the potential usage of fossil fuels in the future.

After the 28th session of COP, Sultan al-Jaber, president of United Arab Emirates and leader of their state oil company, urged for a gradual reduction rather than complete elimination of fossil fuels. In contrast, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres advocated for the elimination of fossil fuels.

Guterres spoke to the delegates, stating that relying on fossil fuels will not be enough to protect our planet from harm. He urged for a prompt and fair shift towards renewable energy.

The leader of the United Nations mentioned the 2015 Paris Climate accord, which urges actions to restrict the increase of worldwide temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above levels before industrialization. He stated that the only way to achieve this goal is by halting the use of all fossil fuels, not just decreasing or controlling them.

The differences regarding the use of fossil fuels resulted in a key member of the COP28 advisory board resigning on Friday.

According to Reuters, Hilda Heine, the former President of Marshall Islands, submitted a letter to COP28 President al-Jaber announcing her resignation. She expressed deep disappointment over reports that the UAE intended to use the conference to discuss potential fossil fuel and commercial agreements, which she believed could harm the credibility of the multilateral negotiation process.

According to Reuters, the letter stated that these actions are damaging to the COP presidency and the overall process.

Earlier this week, the BBC and the Center for Climate Reporting revealed leaked briefing documents indicating that UAE officials were planning to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 countries. Al-Jaber adamantly denied the report.

On Friday, King Charles III of Britain spoke at the conference and expressed concern that the world is not meeting its climate goals. He hopes that the conference will lead to significant and meaningful action towards addressing this issue.

On Friday, King Abdullah II of Jordan connected the issue of climate change with the ongoing crisis in Gaza, stating that it cannot be discussed separately from the humanitarian disasters happening in the world. He emphasized that the region, which is at the forefront of climate change, has seen thousands of casualties, injuries, and displacements, and this only amplifies the effects of climate change.

In his statement, Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State for the United States, connected the issue of climate change to the worldwide food shortage. He referenced data that indicates the demand for food will likely rise by 50% by 2050, while the climate emergency could potentially decrease crop production by up to 30% during the same time frame.

On Thursday, during its first day, participants reached a consensus on establishing a $420 million fund to assist underprivileged and vulnerable countries in managing the financial impact of climate-related disasters, such as droughts, floods, and sea level rise.

John Kerry, the U.S. climate representative, described the agreement as a promising beginning to the conference.

The initial agreement may lead to more deals being made at COP28.

“COP” is the abbreviated form of “Conference of the Parties” to the original United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. At present, there are 198 countries that are part of this convention.

The present COP will continue until December 12th.

The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse contributed to the information included in this report.