UAE Pledges $270 Billion in Green Finance as Saudi Leaders Skip COP28

UAE Pledges $270 Billion in Green Finance as Saudi Leaders Skip COP28

Emerging Markets and Developing Countries Face a $2.4 Trillion Gap in Climate Finance

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) unfolds in Dubai, the urgent need for climate finance takes center stage. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), the host of this year’s conference, has pledged a staggering $270 billion in green finance by 2030 through its banking sector. However, the absence of Saudi Arabia’s leaders, the world’s largest oil producer, raises questions about their commitment to the climate crisis. Meanwhile, a new report highlights the immense financial gap facing emerging markets and developing countries, estimated at $2.4 trillion per year. This article explores the latest developments at COP28, the challenges of climate finance, and the potential solutions needed to address the pressing climate crisis.

The Yawning Gap in Climate Finance

The need for climate finance is immense, with the energy transition, climate adaptation, and disaster relief requiring significant investments. A report released during COP28 reveals that emerging markets and developing countries will require $2.4 trillion annually to cap emissions and adapt to the challenges posed by climate change. Co-author Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, emphasizes the lack of investment as the primary reason for the world’s failure to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The challenge lies in accelerating and implementing investment from various sources.

Pleas for Increased Funding

Vulnerable countries already experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change are calling for increased funding through a newly formed disaster fund. However, current pledges fall significantly short, totaling only around $700 million. Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley urges countries to move beyond voluntary pledges and pleas to charities and private investors. She proposes considering taxes as a means to boost climate funding, suggesting a global 0.1% tax on financial services, which could raise $420 billion, and a 5% tax on global oil and gas profits in 2022, yielding approximately $200 billion.

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The Absence of Saudi Arabia’s Leaders

In a surprising turn of events, Saudi Arabia’s leaders have chosen not to attend COP28, raising concerns about their commitment to addressing the climate crisis. Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the energy minister and key climate negotiator for the kingdom, was notably absent from the Saudi Green Initiative, while Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman did not deliver his scheduled speech to world leaders. This absence contrasts sharply with Saudi Arabia’s active participation in last year’s COP27 conference. The absence of their presence raises questions about their dedication to climate action.

The UAE’s Ambitious Pledge

In contrast to Saudi Arabia, the UAE has made a significant commitment to green finance. The country’s banking sector has pledged $270 billion in green finance by 2030. This substantial investment demonstrates the UAE’s determination to transition towards a more sustainable future. Additionally, the UAE recently pledged $30 billion for climate-related projects, further solidifying its commitment to addressing the climate crisis.

Mobilizing Private Investment

Private investment is crucial in addressing the climate crisis, and COP28 has seen the largest-ever representation of businesses at the annual U.N. summit. Hopes are high for increased private investment towards climate causes. The emirate of Abu Dhabi has partnered with private sector giants, including BlackRock and HSBC, to launch a climate research and advisory hub aimed at boosting financing options in the region. This collaboration underscores the critical role finance plays in turning climate ambitions into tangible actions.


As COP28 continues, the pressing need for climate finance becomes increasingly evident. The UAE’s substantial pledge of $270 billion in green finance showcases their commitment to sustainability. However, the absence of Saudi Arabia’s leaders raises concerns about their dedication to addressing the climate crisis. The financial gap facing emerging markets and developing countries, estimated at $2.4 trillion per year, highlights the urgent need for increased investment. To bridge this gap, countries must move beyond voluntary pledges and explore innovative financing options, such as taxes and the mobilization of private investment. Only through collective action and cooperation can the world address the climate crisis and work towards a sustainable future.

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