It has been a sombre journey to the COP this year, beginning with the funeral of Pete Betts in London, where I met some of friends and climate stalwarts (Artur Runge-Metzger, John Ashton, and Todd Stern) and ending the day after in a very moving memorial event for Saleemul Huq in the LDC Pavilion at the COP in Dubai. I have already given my personal reminiscences of Saleem, so here just a few words on Pete. Pete was a formidable climate negotiator both for the UK and the EU. He had a unique sense of humour which I shall miss: we had invited him as the guest of honour to the 2022 Oxford Seminar. He was undergoing brain tumour treatment which had made him gain wait, which in turn led him to start his after-dinner address by saying “Never would I have imagined ever to be as fat as Benito!” Good old Pete!
From the funeral I went directly to the airport and the day after to the LDC Group memorial for Saleem. It was the opening day of COP28, which began with a tribute to Pete and Saleem. Saleem would have been extremely pleased that among the first decisions to be gavelled through was on the operationalisation of the new Fund and funding arrangements for responding to loss and damage. In that context I would like to recommend our most recent policy paper on L&D Pilot Funding Arrangements: The Need to Pilot Innovative Funding Sources and Response Tools. As to the rest of the COP, I would like to highlight our own 8 December memorial side event, dedicated to Saleem, on Climate Solidarity Levies: Innovative Sources of finance for Loss and Damage.
Left to right: Artur Runge-Metzger, John Ashton, Benito Müller, and Todd Stern in London