The United Nations Executive Secretary in charge of climate change has said every country and every company will be held to account for its actions to limit global warming to 1.5C at the UN COP28 climate summit, which starts today in Dubai.

Simon Stiell said these climate negotiations are happening at a decisive moment and that only co-operation between nations can get humanity back on track.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will be arriving at the summit later today and will highlight the need for greater ambition on climate action and substantially more climate finance for poorer and more vulnerable countries.

If the nations of the world deliver all their climate promises and commitments, then greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 would be just 2% below 2019 levels.

But that's nowhere near the 43% reduction needed to keep the rise in global temperature below 1.5C.

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Mr Stiell hopes this finding from the first ever global stocktake of climate action will shake political leaders and negotiators from 197 countries into action.

This year will be the hottest year ever recorded in human history with the climate crisis having wreaked unprecedented havoc on human lives and livelihoods around the world.

COP28 will also put a huge focus on Climate Finance for poorer and developing countries who are the most vulnerable and suffer most from climate change.

Mr Varadkar will throw Ireland's support behind these calls.

The United Nations has described the findings of the global action climate stocktake as stark, and said the world is not on track to limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C by the end of this century.

It does recognise, however, that countries are developing plans for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the future, and that the shift to clean energy globally is gathering speed.

Simon Stiell

However, it stresses that these transformations are nowhere near fast enough yet to limit warming within the current ambitions.

Mr Steill said only cooperation between nations can get humanity back. He insisted COP28 cannot be just a photo-op for political leaders. Rather, he said, their message to their negotiators must be for them not to come home without a deal that will make a real difference.

"The reality is that without much more finance flowing to developing countries, a renewables revolution will remain a mirage in the desert. COP28 must turn it into a reality," Mr Stiell added.

The Taoiseach said this is one of the most important UN climate summits in years because it will see what progress has been made to meet the targets agreed in 2015 at the Paris Agreement.

A total of 197 countries, plus the European Union, will now spend the next two weeks negotiating how to cut emissions, produce more renewable energy, and use climate finance to limit the impact of climate change on people and the natural environment.

Attendees queue to fill bottles on the opening day of the COP28 climate conference

Mr Varadkar will be holding various bilateral meetings with world leaders at the summit focusing on climate change, but the war in Ukraine and the Middle East are also likely to arise.

He said countries suffering most from climate change often have the greatest difficulty getting access to finance and resources.

He wants to see that issue being dealt with and significant progress to be made on getting the Loss and Damage Fund for climate catastrophes agreed last year up and running.

Meanwhile, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan, who will play a significant ministerial role on behalf of the European Union related to the Loss and Damage Fund negotiations, said the fossil fuel industry must invest more in renewable energy and pay a fair share towards international climate finance.

He wants to see a tripling of renewable energy by 2030 and a doubling in energy efficiency as by proposed by the International Energy Association.

Minister Ryan will also be arguing strongly for an agreement to phase out fossil fuels.