In an interview with the participating agencies of the European Newsroom (enr) project in Strasbourg on 21 November 2023, European Commissioner for Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra discussed the looming challenges of tackling climate change, the EU’s approach and position at the conference, and getting big countries and polluters on board to reduce emissions.

Hoekstra acknowledged that the challenges ahead are not easy to solve and that the efforts at the COP28 conference will be an “uphill climb (…) because the ambition simply is very high.” 

COP28 will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 30 November to 12 December 2023. More than 70,000 delegates, including heads of state and other world leaders, are expected to attend COP28 to build consensus and facilitate progress on climate action among 197 countries, the EU and thousands of NGOs, businesses, youth groups and other stakeholders.

Time is running out to limit global warming to at most 2 and preferably 1.5 degrees, as world leaders agreed in Paris eight years ago. The European Union wants to get big emitters of CO2 like China to do more to combat climate change. In exchange, the EU is willing to help pay for climate damage in poorer parts of the world, for instance.

When asked about the responsibility of China, the second biggest economy in the world, in the loss and damage fund, Hoekstra said that  “with all that affluence and with all that economic power also comes responsibility. And that is the case for China. It is also for others.”

The loss and damage fund is the result of an agreement reached at last year’s COP27, and is designed to provide financial support to countries dealing with the negative impacts and unavoidable risks of climate change.

Several enr agencies, including AFP, APA, BTA, dpa and EFE, attended the interview in person in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Other agencies attended the interview online. 

Based on the interview, the enr produced a joint Key Story which you can find here. Follow the European Newsroom on Social Media and check out the wires from the respective outlets online if you are interested in learning about each country’s specific take on the subject.

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