COP28 begins tomorrow amid uncertainty and non-compliance

COP28 empieza mañana en Dubai

Inspenet, November 29, 2023.

The world climate summit in Dubai, known as COP28, will begin its course with the discouraging result of the first analysis of compliance with the Paris Agreement and the controversy surrounding the presidency of the event by Sultan Al Jaber, executive director of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

This global climate meeting will take place from Thursday, November 30 to December 12, with the expectation of obtaining significant commitments to achieve the goals established in the Paris Agreements signed in 2015; agreements that outline the need to limit global temperature rise to less than 2°C and, where possible, to 1.5°C by the end of the century compared to the pre-industrial era.

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The central focus of the summit will be to obtain concrete commitments to reduce warming within limits that are sustainable for life on the planet. However, the event begins amid uncertainties, as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) issued a warning in September during its first official assessment of the Paris Agreement, noting that the world is not moving forward according to what is necessary to meet the objectives of the agreement and contain global warming to below 2 degrees.

In relation to this document, the countries participating in COP28 must conclude the first phase of evaluation of the agreement, known as Global Stocktake (GST) or global review and make decisions to address the situation. This challenge takes on special urgency since after the signing of the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called for limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, in order to to avoid irreparable consequences such as the disappearance of islands or coastal areas under water.

Among the possible measures, experts hope that new goals or mitigation actions (reduction of emissions) will be adopted at a global level, which implies raising the reduction commitments presented by each country. According to scientists, the effective reduction of warming implies moving towards zero net emissions by 2050, a goal that will only be achieved through a comprehensive transformation of all sectors, the abandonment of fossil fuels and the promotion of renewable energy sources, among other measures.

In this scenario, divergent positions will emerge again between countries that depend on fossil fuels, those that consider renewable energy sources as the answer to the climate crisis and energy dependence and those that lack the resources to address the ecological transition and, At the same time, they are more affected by the impacts of global warming, despite their minimal contribution to said phenomenon.

It is of particular importance to note that the COP28 presidency, which will lead the negotiations, is held by Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the world’s twelfth largest oil producer. Its role, questioned by environmental activists due to its link with the oil industry, is presented as a challenge, since the preparatory meeting for COP28 in October showed notable divergences in approaches and priorities between the different parties to address the climate crisis.

In the context of the different perspectives, the positions of powers such as China, the United States, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the European Union acquire special relevance.

The central question lies in whether the final conclusion of COP28 will include an explicit reference to the end of fossil fuels or will be limited, as occurred in the two previous summits, to mentioning the need to promote renewable energies, put an end to power plants of coal without mitigation systems and eliminate subsidies for oil or gas, adjusting to the possibilities of each nation.

According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) 2023 “Emissions Gap Report”, countries’ current policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient and are driving the planet towards a temperature increase of 3 degrees.

Therefore, to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, global pacts would be required to reduce emissions between 28% and 42% by 2030, according to the report released days before the start of COP28.

The formula to achieve this goal, according to the president of COP28, involves tripling the generation capacity of renewable energy, doubling energy efficiency, limiting methane emissions and “increasing decarbonization goals in the highest-emitting sectors to the year 2030.” At the moment, his speech does not address the need to establish a concrete deadline for the start of the decline of coal, oil and gas, a crucial demand from environmentalists and scientists around the world to address the climate crisis with guarantees of success.

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