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CarbonCare InnoLab’s Statement on COP28

The extreme weather events of the past year highlight the urgent need to address climate change, which disproportionately threatens vulnerable communities and future generations. Under the Paris Agreement, countries committed to the critical goal of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C, preferably within 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels. Exceeding 1.5°C risks severe and potentially catastrophic climate impacts.

According to the IPCC, staying within 1.5°C requires cutting global greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. To work towards this target, countries have submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with emissions reductions pledges and participate in annual COP negotiations to evaluate progress and increase ambition. However, current NDCs remain inadequate, putting the world on track for 2.5°C - 2.9°C of warming. This underscores the immense importance of COP28 to accelerate climate action. 

Youth are essential agents of change for driving climate action forward. Cultivating youth leadership and empowering youth advocacy are vital to enacting meaningful climate policies. CarbonCare InnoLab (CCIL) believes in the power of youth advocacy. Since 2015, CCIL’s Climate Advocacy Training for Youth (CATY) program has trained youth delegates to participate in COP negotiations, providing training, mentorship, and exposure to climate policymaking. CATY develops Hong Kong’s next generation of climate leaders while building networks for impactful youth-led climate advocacy. At COP28, CCIL will enable Hong Kong youth to participate and catalyse urgent worldwide climate action.

As an international financial hub, Hong Kong must leverage its unique position to lead impactful climate action locally, regionally and globally. With COP28 conducting a global stocktake on Paris Agreement goals, Hong Kong has an opportunity to demonstrate ambition and share local decarbonisation solutions. By fulfilling its climate responsibilities and prioritizing decarbonisation, Hong Kong can send a powerful signal and catalyse urgent worldwide action as the window for transformation narrows. Ahead of COP28, accelerated progress is imperative across all fronts: 

1.    Energy 
CCIL calls for ambitious measures and concrete plans to accelerate the transition of the energy system away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy. COP28 is a crucial opportunity for countries to jointly formulate a roadmap for a just transition towards 100% renewable energy. CCIL believes COP28 must establish an ambitious framework for energy transition, phasing out coal, oil and natural gas while rapidly scaling up wind, solar, geothermal and other renewables, and providing financing and support to ensure no country is left behind in the renewable energy transition. COP28 will test global leaders' cooperation and leadership on energy transition. In summary, the energy package for COP28 must include:
1.1.    An immediate end to new fossil fuel projects and a rapid, just phase-out of fossil fuel production, with wealthy countries moving fastest. 
1.2.    A tripling of renewable energy capacity to over 11,000 gigawatts by 2030, with annual deployment of 1.5 terawatts of renewable energy starting in 2030. 
1.3.    Ensuring the renewable transition provides full energy access for all  while doubling yearly energy efficiency improvements by 2030.  This must avoid replicating injustices and adhere to climate justice principles. 
1.4.    Massively scaled up climate finance from wealthy countries to enable a just transition,  including redirecting fossil fuel subsidies. Financial rules must serve climate goals. 
1.5.    Policies to limit fossil fuel industry interference in the UNFCCC process.

2.    Adaptation
As climate impacts accelerate, realising resilient futures requires embracing transformative adaptation that reduces vulnerability by challenging power imbalances and transforming social and economic systems.  This approach complements incremental adaptation. CCIL’s vision is to build community resilience through locally-led adaptation  grounded in local and nature-based knowledge and supported by scaled, new and additional Needs-based Finance  channelled directly to communities. This locally-driven model aims to deliver the most equitable and sustainable adaptation outcomes by enabling planning, implementation, and assessment at the local level. 
To advance the focus on adaptation and drive increased finance, CCIL proposes establishing a permanent COP agenda item on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA)  under the Paris Agreement. This would consolidate existing adaptation items and coordinate GGA ambition through a clear work plan to fully operationalize it by COP28. Positioning the GGA as an equal priority alongside mitigation is key to addressing the lack of adaptation support and financing for vulnerable communities. 
Transformational adaptation  challenges entrenched inequities exacerbating vulnerability and aims to rectify failures in delivering adaptation support to vulnerable communities. To achieve this, our priorities include:
2.1.    Recognizing locally-led adaptation strategies based on local and nature-based knowledge as most effective.
2.2.    Ensuring inclusive approaches that prioritise vulnerable groups. 
2.3.    Supporting locally-led, needs-based adaptation with scaled finance channelled directly to communities. This builds resilience through adaptation planned and implemented locally.
2.4.    On the Global Goal on Adaptation, key priorities include defining the framework, participatory assessment processes, flexibility, incorporating finance needs, and tracking finance adequacy and accessibility.  
2.5.    Elevating adaptation through a permanent COP agenda item to drive ambition.
2.6.    Championing transformational adaptation that challenges power imbalances and transforms social and economic systems.
2.7.    Strengthening collaborative strategies to address the cascading and escalating climate change risks.

3.    Loss and Damage
The establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund at last year's COP27 marked a historic achievement in international climate negotiations.  After years of resistance, industrialised countries agreed to this pivotal mechanism to support vulnerable developing countries facing irreparable climate change impacts. As we approach COP28, a key priority must be ensuring this fund is operationalized with adequate, predictable financing and equitable access for developing countries. Success here is vital, both to provide urgently needed support and rebuild trust among parties. Solid progress on loss and damage can enable ambitious cooperation across the climate agenda. To achieve this, we demand:
3.1.    Operationalize the Fund as an independent entity under the UNFCCC/Paris Agreement. 
3.2.    Secure immediate capitalization from developed countries with predictable replenishment.  Funding must be new and additional. 
3.3.    Provide grant-based,  non-debt creating instruments.
3.4.    Ensure direct access for vulnerable communities and countries in a gender-responsive, rights-based manner. 
3.5.    Finalise a host for the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage  to support loss and damage strategies. 

4.    Health
The grave threat that climate change poses to human health and wellbeing demands urgent action. As temperatures rise, extreme weather events increase, and ecosystems are disrupted, the public health impacts multiply. The IPCC AR6 report has thoroughly detailed how climate change escalates risks from heat waves, storms, flooding, droughts, shifting disease patterns, food and water insecurity, air pollution, mental health issues, and more. No country or community remains unaffected by these threats. Climate change exacerbates pre-existing health disparities and inequities. The health of humanity hangs in the balance. Mitigating climate change and protecting public health must be the paramount priorities driving policy and uniting countries. To achieve this, we demand:
4.1.    Rapid fossil fuel phase-out, with no new fossil-fuel based infrastructure, to align with the Paris Agreement and prevent health threats. 
4.2.    Health-centred adaptation planning and metrics.
4.3.    Operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund to protect health.
4.4.    Integrate health in the Global Stocktake (GST) and provide health guidance.  
4.5.    Advance health equity  through inclusive engagement of vulnerable groups.

5.    Climate Finance
The climate emergency demands urgent financial action, yet current global systems are failing to mobilise and deliver climate finance at the required pace and scale. Developed countries have not fulfilled key commitments, including the unmet $100 billion per year goal  and doubling adaptation finance.  This has eroded trust at a pivotal moment requiring ambitious collective action. While climate needs remain largely unaddressed, high-income countries have shown ability to rapidly scale public funding for other priorities. Furthermore, fossil fuel companies continue reaping record profits and subsidies despite driving climate change and its mounting human impacts.  
It is evident the existing financial architecture cannot deliver climate funding commensurate with the crisis. Transforming the finance system is imperative to align all financial flows with climate goals, end fossil fuel support, ensure developed countries meet commitments, and provide adequate funding to developing countries for mitigation, adaptation and addressing loss and damage. To achieve this transformation, we demand:
5.1.    Increase grant-based climate finance to developing countries. 
5.2.    Rapidly phase out fossil fuel finance and redirect funding to renewable energy.
5.3.    Reform international financial institutions  to be democratic, transparent and people-centred. 
5.4.    Provide debt relief and cancellation. 
5.5.    Ensure climate finance reaches the most vulnerable.
5.6.    Equitably transform financial systems based on science and human rights. 
5.7.    Developed countries must provide evidence on delivering the $100 billion goal and doubling adaptation finance.
5.8.    Advance Needs-based Financed Projects  combining mitigation, adaptation and loss & damage.

6.    Global Stocktake (GST) 
COP28 represents a critical opportunity to assess our collective climate action and set the course for a net zero future. The Global Stocktake (GST) provides a mechanism to evaluate progress on the Paris Agreement goals and determine where greater ambition is urgently required. Through the GST, countries must send clear signals to accelerate climate action across mitigation, adaptation, finance, and loss and damage, aligned with the latest science and equity principles. Specifically, a successful GST outcome must demand bolder commitments to rapidly reduce emissions, support vulnerable communities, mobilise finance, and address irreparable climate impacts. To accelerate climate action, a robust GST must:
6.1.    Setting the course for strengthened NDCs with clear 2030/2035 emissions targets covering all sectors to limit warming to 1.5°C. 
6.2.    Aligning NDCs with human rights, gender, and Indigenous rights obligations and just transition.
6.3.    Integrating biodiversity protection into climate plans. 
6.4.    Mandating inclusive NDC processes and workshops to translate GST outcomes locally.
6.5.    Setting up a review process to monitor GST outcomes and inform the next cycle.

7.    Youth as Agents of Change for Climate Action
Today's youth and future generations, who have contributed the least to the climate crisis, will live the longest with its dire consequences. To ensure an equitable and just transition, we must centre our climate policies and decisions on upholding human rights, especially those of young people. As the future leaders and change agents, youth must meaningfully participate in and drive climate action at all levels. Therefore, CCIL calls for the following actions to empower youth climate leadership:   
7.1.    Limit warming to 1.5°C to fulfil future generations' right to a liveable environment.
7.2.    Uphold youth rights, including to health, education, and participation in climate policymaking.  
7.3.    Establish national and city Youth Advisory Boards on climate policy.
7.4.    Provide capacity building and funding for youth to engage in UNFCCC processes.
7.5.    Develop participatory climate policies at all levels that engage and empower youth.  
7.6.    Fund youth-led climate solutions in NDCs and climate finance.
7.7.    Promote climate education that incorporates climate justice.

8.    Inclusive Climate Justice
The climate crisis affects people of all ages and backgrounds, but its impacts are disproportionately felt by vulnerable groups who have contributed the least to causing this emergency. Social inclusion must be at the core of the climate agenda. CCIL believes all climate policies and decisions must respect and uphold human rights, including those of vulnerable groups. Introduced at COP21, Talanoa dialogue fosters trust and stability through inclusive, participatory, and transparent storytelling that builds empathy and enables collective decision-making. This safe space embracing mutual respect can unite across vulnerable groups to advocate for more just climate action. To achieve an inclusive climate justice, we call on parties to:
8.1.    Utilise inclusive Talanoa dialogues to include indigenous peoples, women, outdoor workers, people with disabilities, and other disadvantaged groups as delegates, negotiators and decision-makers, and address just energy transition and just adaptation issues.
8.2.    Guarantee representation of marginalised communities in all climate consultations and negotiations.
8.3.    Develop climate policies at all levels through participatory processes that engage with and empower vulnerable groups.
8.4.    Prioritise vulnerable groups' needs and perspectives in adaptation and resilience policies.
8.5.    Mandate inclusive, accessible climate education and information sharing for vulnerable groups. 
8.6.    Provide dedicated funding and capacity building to facilitate meaningful participation by vulnerable communities, and civil society in UNFCCC processes.  

9.    Cities’ Climate Action 
Cities are critical stakeholders in achieving the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. Successful implementation of the agreement requires coordination across all levels of governance. Cities have an important role to play through climate diplomacy and translating global climate goals into local action. The upcoming COP28 and first Global Stocktake present an opportunity to accelerate climate action by ensuring meaningful participation of cities worldwide. As a member of cities, CCIL call on all parties at COP28 to: 
9.1.    Recognize the climate leadership and progress of cities in reducing emissions and building resilience. 
9.2.    Enable meaningful city participation in developing and implementing NDCs, National Adaptation Plans (NAP) and long-term strategies.
9.3.    Support city-led adaptation initiatives and include cities in the Global Goal on Adaptation Framework.  
9.4.    Engage cities in designing funds to address loss and damage, ensuring support reaches vulnerable communities.
9.5.    Leverage city networks and include local climate action in Global Stocktakes. 
9.6.    Formalise the role of cities through the Local Climate Action Summit and Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change.
9.7.    Link climate and nature policies, supporting city efforts to protect biodiversity.
9.8.    Recognize cities as crucial partners in localising the SDG.
9.9.    Invite collaboration with cities to accelerate climate action, drawing on our leadership and public accountability.

10.    Role of Hong Kong SAR
As an international financial and technology hub, Hong Kong is well-positioned to drive impactful climate action locally, regionally, and globally. The upcoming COP28 will conduct a global stocktake to review progress on the Paris Agreement goals. City governments like Hong Kong play an important role in demonstrating ambition and sharing local climate solutions. Since China's central government declared in 2016 that Hong Kong must adhere to Paris Agreement and the IPCC’s latest recommendations, the city has a responsibility to fulfil its requirements. To align with the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C goal, we must accelerate our climate efforts. By leveraging Hong Kong's resources and capabilities in climate governance, finance, technology, and capacity building, we can catalyse the climate actions and solutions urgently needed here and beyond. CCIL respectfully recommends the Hong Kong SAR government immediately consider the following actions:   
10.1.    Prioritise climate change as top policy agenda with empowered, high-profile coordination mechanism
10.2.    Adopt IPCC-aligned targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions 43% from 2019 levels by 2030, down to about 22,600 ktCO2, and further enhance the 2035 emission reduction target.
10.3.    Accelerate Hong Kong's transition to renewable energy by achieving the 7.5-10% renewables target by 2030 and further boosting the renewables target by 2035, and implement policies to incentivize and remove barriers to solar, wind, and other renewable energy deployment.
10.4.    Mandate building energy efficiency retrofits through subsidising energy audits and developing building decarbonisation requirements.
10.5.    Enhance climate resilience for vulnerable groups through localised adaptation, improving early warning systems and emergency response mechanisms to extreme weather such as extreme heat, heavy rainfall and super typhoons.
10.6.    Promote a just transition through inclusive dialogues and policies enabling equitable participation
10.7.    Ensure climate policy transparency through monitoring, evaluation, stocktaking and climate justice frameworks

The science is unequivocal - expanding fossil fuels is incompatible with averting climate catastrophe. COP28 must secure an immediate end to new fossil fuel projects and initiate a managed phase-out of production. Operationalizing the Loss and Damage Fund will help rebuild trust and increase ambition. Concrete climate action is required across all areas, not empty promises. COP28 must catalyse an equitable and rapid 100% renewable energy transition accessible to all. Nothing less will achieve a 1.5°C pathway. The stakes are immense - climate justice delayed is justice denied. Now is the time for leadership to consign fossil fuels to the past and usher in a new era of climate justice, resilience, and renewable energy to secure the sustainable future we want. COP28 must mark the turning point where the world unites on the only morally and scientifically tenable path - decisive action to rapidly phase out fossil fuels and activate climate justice through an equitable transition to renewables benefiting all of humanity.