COP28: 'Time to put our words into action,' says Belgian prime minister
"It is high time to turn our words and promises into action," said Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo in his speech at the COP28 UN climate summit in Dubai on Saturday. "It is time to talk about solutions instead of problems. It is time to talk about hope instead of fear."
De Croo acknowledged that this climate summit was the most important since Paris in 2015. "Even those who do not believe in science can no longer turn a blind eye," he said, adding that the consequences of climate change are clear: "This should motivate us to accelerate our efforts and put all our energy into delivering on our commitments."
"We need clean technology, green chemistry, green steel production and green construction sites. The good news is that we are already building this future," he said, citing Belgian examples: wind turbines in the North Sea, sustainable steel produced in Ghent and the modernisation of the hydrogen industry in Liège.
"A favourable environment is needed to accelerate progress globally. In Europe, we need to create the right incentives to help our economy meet this ambition." De Croo said this would be a priority for Belgium during its EU presidency, which starts in January 2024.
Tripling nuclear energy
Also on Saturday, some 20 countries called for a tripling of nuclear energy by 2050 compared to 2020 levels, to reduce dependence on gas and coal, they said in a joint statement.
John Kerry, the US climate envoy, made the announcement alongside De Croo and French president Emmanuel Macron. Belgium was there as a guest, as it is hosting a summit on nuclear energy next year. It has not signed the joint declaration.
Canada, Japan, the UK and the Netherlands were among those who signed the statement. The signatories are also calling on the shareholders of international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, to include nuclear energy in their financing.
© AP PHOTO/RAFIQ MAQBOOL