Home Business COP28 Has Begun With First Major Milestone Generating Great Hope | Arabian Weekly

COP28 Has Begun With First Major Milestone Generating Great Hope | Arabian Weekly

COP28 Has Begun With First Major Milestone Generating Great Hope | Arabian Weekly


By Dr. Gyan Pathak

UN Climate Change Conference – United Arab Emirates (November 30 – December 12, 2023), popularly known as COP28, has begun with first major milestone on the day-one, by delivering a historic agreement that made the Fund operational, which was agreed upon during COP27 last year. The agreement was reached by parties during five transitional committee meetings. The Fund is intended to assist developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, known in the negotiations as ‘loss and damage’. Though, it has generated great hope, there are miles to go before we actually put brake on climate damage and attain net-zero by 2050, or even to remain on target by reducing emissions to half by 2030.

It is indeed commendable that under the President for COP28 UAE Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber,  this milestone has been achieved which can potentially lead the world closer to the solution of the climate crisis by actually achieving the target set at COP21 in 2015, when the world had agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius to pre-industrial levels by 2050. In the welcome message Dr Al Jaber had said, “We only have another seven years to meet the goal. COP28 UAE is a prime opportunity to rethink, reboot, and refocus the climate agenda.”

The present historic agreement was reached by parties following 5 transitional committee meetings. The 5th transitional meeting hosted earlier in November in Abu Dhabi was added by the COP28 Presidency following the impasse reached at the 4th meeting, where Parties reached a resolution. Not only that, the UAE also announced that it will commit $100 million to the Fund, paving the way for other nations to make pledges to the critically important Fund. Other countries making notable commitments included Germany, which committed $100 million, the UK, which committed £40 million for the Fund and £20 million for other arrangements, Japan, which contributed $10 million and the US, which committed $17.5 million.

Dr Al Jaber also called on nations to follow the UAE’s example to immediately commit resources to the Fund in an ambitious multilateral act. “What was promised in Sharm El Sheikh (COP 27), has already been delivered in Dubai,” he said adding, “the speed at which the world came together, to get this Fund operationalized within one year … is unprecedented.”

It was certainly a decisive action on Loss and Damage, and the credit goes to Dr Al Jaber led presidency, that somehow managed to clear all the roadblocks. The agreement and the Fund is likely to enable the Parties to focus on the strongest possible response to the Global Stocktake (GST), the world’s report card on progress toward Paris Agreement goals. It is worth mentioning that GST was established under Article 14 of the Paris Agreement as a means of assessing collective progress towards the Agreement’s long-term goals.

“This Fund will support billions of people, lives and livelihoods that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” Dr Al Jaber said adding, “I want to thank my team for all their hard work to make this possible on day one of COP 28. It proves, the world can unite, can act, and can deliver.

Over the next two weeks UAE presidency has much more difficult tasks in hand and will have to successfully work with Parties to deliver the highest-ambition response to the GST. It would require working in cooperation with the UNFCCC Executive Secretary alongside the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion and the UAE Youth Climate Champion. Though Dr Al Jaber has promised in his welcome message that he would strive to build consensus amongst parties to drive climate action, the complex task in hand would be much more difficult than achieving the historical milestone of operationalizing the Fund, since it would need prioritizing the efforts to accelerate emissions reductions through a pragmatic energy transition, reforming land use, and transforming food systems of the world.

Additionally, the participating countries will have to work to mobilize solutions for vulnerable countries, operationalize loss and damage, and deliver the most inclusive Conference possible. It is here, India’s significant role is involved in balancing ambitious climate goals with equity considerations. More so, because, the country has set its target of net-zero by 2070, and it is set to double its coal production by 2030. India has its own development requirement and the responsibility of containing its emission levels.

The Global Stocktake (GST) synthesis report released earlier in September 2030 has already revealed that the world is far off track from its goal of holding global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius to avoid some of the most disastrous climate crises. Participating countries, companies, financial institutions etc will have to do more in respect of GST in the next 12 days than what is achieved on the first day in the form of operationalising the Fund.

As for fossil fuels, world needs to reduced emissions by 43 per cent, ie below 2019 levels, by 2030. However, the current national climate plans as revealed in the latest NDCs submitted by the countries, if achieved, could only reduce 8 per cent at best. Subsidies for fossil fuels, which have been the largest driver of climate change, has also rose to a record $7 trillion in 2022. It shows the challenges lying ahead in the way to a new era for green affordable energy transition that may be reliable and sustainable. Building resilience to the increasingly severe impact of climate change, climate finance gaps, and sustainable land use for food production will be among other key challenges to be addressed. World must address the issues and find proper solutions in this COP28 summit itself before it would be too late. (IPA Service)

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