COP28 Days Two-Four: A pathway for moving promises into progress

Aaron Kinnari
Aaron Kinnari

To read a recap of the first day of COP28, which included a historic agreement on the Loss and Damage Fund, click here.

The sheer size of COP28 — rivaled only by the scale of the climate crisis the conference is charged with addressing — can feel quite overwhelming. It is easy to get lost in the flurry of conversations and commitments, the delegations and the decisions that they need to make to move the world closer to net zero.

A side discussion with leaders from island nations centered on this very challenge: how to close the gap between ambition and implementation on climate action. As with so many efforts, it ultimately often comes down to unlocking financial resources to scale solutions. This has already been a key focus of this year’s COP. In one of the larger financial commitments, the host country, the UAE, announced a $30 billion investment in a new fund with private sector partners BlackRock, Brookfield, and TPG. The fund, called Alterra, ultimately hopes to unlock $250 billion in climate investments by 2030, with a focus on accelerating the transition to renewable energy and decarbonizing industry in developing countries. 

Leaders from Barbados, Colombia, France, Ghana, India, Kenya, and the United Kingdom make new commitments on climate finance.

This was just one of the many commitments made by private-sector leaders at COP28. In another session at the Business and Philanthropy Forum, the First Movers Coalition announced it had grown to 95 members, representing companies from some of the world's heaviest-emitting sectors. The corporations involved have made more than 120 commitments representing an annual demand of $15 billion, with the goal of leveraging their buying power to signal market demand for clean energy and emerging climate technologies.

Secretary John Kerry, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, who seems to be omnipresent at COP, started the FMC session with a powerful speech on the implications of the climate crisis on public health, national security, and economic growth. With the far-reaching costs and consequences of inaction becoming increasingly devastating, Secretary Kerry told the audience that "every single one of you should be a first mover" and push companies and communities where we may carry influence to take climate action. 

There is no life without the oceans.
John Kerry
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

The day before, Secretary Kerry joined Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to discuss Greece’s ambitions to host the ninth annual Our Ocean Conference. The annual convening, which Secretary Kerry launched while serving as U.S. Secretary of State in the Obama Administration, has marshaled more than 2,100 commitments valued at approximately $130 billion. At the announcement, the two leaders spoke strongly about the need to fully fund and enforce marine protected areas to achieve the goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030. Decarbonizing the shipping industry was also a core part of the conversation, as Greek companies own 25% of the world’s merchant shipping fleet. 

Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry discuss plans for Our Ocean Conference in Greece, April 15-17, 2024.

Decarbonizing major industries like shipping is vital to meeting net zero targets. Shipping accounts for about 1 gigaton of carbon emissions annually, on par with the aviation industry and representing 3% of total global emissions. If the shipping industry were a country, it would be the eighth largest emitter. The High Level Panel estimates that the industry’s emissions could double by 2050, and has prioritized decarbonizing shipping as one of the major ocean-based climate solutions. Companies like DeepSea AI — a Greek company highlighted by Prime Minister Mitsotakis during the discussion, and one of the more than 70 members of Only One’s Blue Climate Collective — are driving these efforts, leveraging AI to optimize shipping routes around the world. 

To scale up ocean-based solutions, Bloomberg Philanthropies and a consortium of major philanthropic funders announced a new $250 million commitment to advance ocean protection and climate action. The new Ocean Resilience and Climate Alliance will focus on seven key areas, including decarbonizing shipping, advancing offshore wind and ocean carbon sequestration, and supporting blue carbon solutions. By elevating these efforts and harnessing the potential of the ocean, we can help close one-third of the emissions gap we need to meet scientific targets by 2050. You can watch the announcement here.

These commitments, and so many more made over the last few days, will continue to move the world closer to achieving the goals outlined for COP28 and critical climate thresholds. The question remains how we can scale solutions faster and more collaboratively to solve this shared crisis. The next few days will test delegates’ stamina and commitment to climate action, but we remain hopeful of their resolve. 


Aaron Kinnari

Co-founder and Senior Advisor

A New York native with a background in business and politics, Aaron loves the opportunity to trade a business suit for a swimsuit and jump in the ocean when traveling.

New York, United States

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