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COP28 Climate Talks Hostage: Elders’ Chair Mary Robinson Accuses Saudi Arabia and Allies

Mary Robinson, Chair of the Elders, has accused Saudi Arabia and its allies of holding the COP28 climate talks hostage, expressing concerns that the summit may fall short of meeting the 1.5-degree Celsius warming threshold. Robinson calls on nations with the capacity to ensure a historic outcome to act urgently, criticising countries with significant stakes in fossil fuels for hindering progress.

While singling out Saudi Arabia, Robinson also points fingers at the USA, China, the EU, and India, accusing them of remaining in the shadows. She urges these nations to show courageous leadership in tackling the existential threat of climate change. Robinson emphasises that COP28 must result in an agreement to phase out all fossil fuels without compromising other critical summit initiatives.

The current focus at COP28 is on food, agriculture, and water, highlighting how climate change-induced erratic weather jeopardises food security. Sustainable farming practices and innovation are emphasized to provide healthy food for all. The Irish Farmers’ Association expresses concerns about insufficient attention in the proposed final text, emphasising the need for acknowledgment of Irish farmers’ efforts in reducing greenhouse emissions.

Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, emphasises the central role of climate and the environment in Ireland’s agricultural evolution. He underscores Irish farmers’ contributions and highlights the historic declaration signed by 134 world leaders on climate-resilient food systems. Food production’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions is acknowledged, with discussions on feeding the world while reducing emissions, particularly relevant to Ireland’s beef production and livestock-related emissions.

McConalogue sees the summit as an opportunity for Ireland to showcase its efforts in reducing the agriculture sector’s greenhouse gas footprint and to engage with other countries in ensuring sustainable food systems. This marks the first time agriculture and sustainable food systems are key aspects of climate discussions at the COP.

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