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2023-12-02 at 12h27

COP 28: The planet will probably outlive humanity. But there is no "Humanity B"

Prime Minister António Costa gave a speech to the representatives of the 198 countries attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

"We often hear there is no planet B. The truth in history is that the planet was here way before humans and will probably outlive humanity. What we know for sure is that humanity won’t outlive itself and there is no "Humanity B", António Costa stated in a speech to the world leaders attending COP28 on Saturday, 2 December.

At the plenary session with the 198 countries present at the climate change conference, the Prime Minister said that "Portugal’s experience testifies that fighting climate change is first and foremost an opportunity" and announced that the country will invest around 85 billion euros in the green transition over the next two decades, which accounts for around 35% of GDP. "These investments are an opportunity to create more and better jobs", he said, stating that it is "crucial that the energy transition is fair and leaves no one behind".

Climate change is a challenge to overcome "in a solidary manner"

Investing in sustainable policies "carries a significant financial cost", claimed the António Costa, a "disproportionate" cost in developing countries that have less resources and face situations of greater vulnerability.

"For this reason, we entered into innovating commitments to reconvert debt into climate funding with Cape Verde in June and yesterday with São Tomé e Príncipe." It is around 15.5 million euros in debt to be invested in Climate and Green Funds these countries will set up. The Prime Minister also added that he believes the conditions will be in place to take this mechanism to the entire debt these countries have in 2025, which stands at more than 160 million euros.

"The fight against climate change is a challenge we need to overcome in a solidary manner", the Prime Minister went on to say "to this end, Portugal has increased the allocation for international cooperation from 4 to 6 million euros per year, it has quadrupled the commitment to the Green Climate Fund, from 4 million euros in the next four years, and it will contribute 5 million euros to the Climate Loss and Damage Fund.

There is no climate action without ocean action

"The climate-ocean connection is pivotal in the Portuguese strategy to fight climate change. As such, we have brought forward to 2026 (four years) the target to classify 30% of the marine area and at the end of November, we set up the first marine protected area in mainland Portugal since 1998."

António Costa also announced the development in Portugal of an Atlantic Climate Observatory and the wish to double the number of ocean-related start-ups.

The importance of environmental protection

The Prime Minister also mentioned in his speech the importance of environmental protection. He announced that Portugal has brought forward by seven years the goal of legal protection of 30% of its land territory, which was set for 2030. António Costa also spoke about the Voluntary Carbon Market, whose setup was approved last week, and the structural reform of the forests, which is moving forward to counter wildland fires. "From 2017 to 2022, we more than trebled the investment in preventing and fighting fires, from 143 to 529 M€."