Leading the Alternative World Order

Reshaping Perspectives and Catalyzing Diplomatic Evolution

Tuesday, June 25, 2024
OpinionWorld unified at COP28 in Dubai towards building a sustainable future together

World unified at COP28 in Dubai towards building a sustainable future together

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In the annals of climate action, 1997 stands tall. The Kyoto Protocol, signed at COP3, marked a turning point, uniting nations against the rising tide of greenhouse gas emissions. From Kyoto’s foundation to Paris’ ambitious pledge, the climate fight evolved. COP28 in Dubai, a beacon of hope, saw 70,000+ delegates push for even greater action. The historic loss and damage fund, adopted day on one, symbolized global unity. This “Act and Deliver” motto marked a new era, where collective ambition promises a just and sustainable future.

Worthy deliberations:

In a rousing opening address, COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber called on global leaders to transcend divisions and unify against the climate crisis for the sake of future generations. However, in the recent past, he faced accusations of conflicting interests due to his dual roles: UAE Minister of Industry, Climate Envoy, and an oil company’s CEO. And again, his denial of fossil fuel phase-out science also fueled concerns. At COP, pointing to the urgent need for action, UN Secretary-General António Guterres rebuked developed nations for lagging behind on their $100 billion annual climate finance target, demanding accountability and immediate disbursement of promised funds. He emphasized the crucial role of the Loss and Damage Fund in addressing the devastating losses and damages inflicted on vulnerable communities by climate change.

COP28 end with action plans to tackle emissions, adaptation, finance, and loss & damage, keeping the 1.5°C target alive. COP28 saw several first time agreements, including a global goal to triple renewables, double energy efficiency, and include fossil fuel language in the final agreement which dealt the climate deal to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action. While fossil fuel discussions were contentious, COP28 delivered a “balanced plan” with several pioneering achievements, keeping the fight against climate change alive. It was fruitful in having consensus on avoiding catastrophic climate change, a rapid shift to clean energy sources across all sectors is essential this decade, what scientists suggests. This will be the key to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and fulfilling the Paris Accord’s 1.5°C promise.

Grave Concerns:

As the echoes of COP28 resonated around the world, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a frightening report, an unambiguous demonstration to the reality of our changing planet. Titled “The Global Climate 2011-2020: A Decade of Accelerating Climate Change,” it painted a picture of a decade ablaze, a decade where the Earth’s vital systems strained under the unrelenting pressure of human activity. As per the report, the 2011-2020 period emerged as the hottest decade for both land and ocean, its scorching temperatures a brutal manifestation of the ever-increasing concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These invisible shackles, our own creation, had choked the planet, pushing global temperatures to record highs.

But the heat was just the tip of the iceberg. The report documented a chilling cascade of consequences, a symphony of environmental devastation orchestrated by our warming world. Land ice masses, those ancient sentinels of time, retreated at an alarming rate, their meltwater feeding the insatiable maw of rising sea levels. Oceans, once vibrant havens for life, choked under the burden of acidification, their very chemistry altered by our insatiable hunger for fossil fuels.

The WMO report wasn’t just a collection of data; it was a clarion call, a desperate plea from a planet on the brink. It was a reminder that the time for platitudes and half-measures has passed. We stand at a crossroads, and the path forward demands a radical shift in our relationship with the Earth. The decade of 2011-2020 may have been a decade of accelerating climate change, but it can also be a decade of awakening, a decade where we finally recognize the gravity of our actions and rise to meet the challenge head-on.

At Swedish Pavilion of COP28, India has jointly hosted LeadIT’s 2.0 version which has emerged as a beacon of leadership, bringing together industry pioneers, experts, and stakeholders to foster collaboration and drive meaningful change. It is worthwhile to mention that LeadIT’s expansion is Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT), being a collaboration between Sweden, India, and the World Economic Forum (WEF), established in September 2019, tackles this challenge by promoting public-private partnerships for a smooth industrial transition.

For two weeks, COP28 served as a crucible, transforming diverse issues into focused days of action. From “Health” to “Food & Water,” each theme became a rallying point, drawing together experts, changemakers, and everyday heroes to forge a path towards a healthier planet. The air thrummed with the energy of young minds in the “Youth & Education” day, while the whispers of ancient wisdom resonated during “Nature, Land & Oceans.”

Ocean holds the key to Mitigation: A Call

From the echoing depths of the Ocean Pavilion at COP28, a powerful chorus rose, urging world leaders to heed the ocean’s urgent plea. Partners and stakeholders, their voices amplified by the Ocean Declaration, demanded recognition of the ocean’s vital role as climate regulator and champion for a sustainable future. The year 2023, with its record-breaking ocean changes, served as a stark reminder of the need for deeper understanding. Scientists, their instruments straining for data in under-observed regions, pleaded for expanded and improved ocean observations. COP28, therefore, became a crucial stage to acknowledge the ocean’s critical role in regulating our planet’s climate.

This call resonated deeply, propelling the author’s slot on “Climate Change and Role of the Ocean” into the prestigious “Ocean Climate Spotlight” – a testament to the growing recognition of the ocean’s centrality in tackling climate change. Within the vibrant blue zone of COP28, the UN Ocean Decade and Ocean X led the charge, curating Ocean Climate Solutions Dialogues and Ocean Climate Spotlights. These platforms served as vital arteries, channeling the ocean’s message to the heart of climate action. The unwavering commitment of these stakeholders, their voices echoing the ocean’s cry, leaves no room for delay. COP28 served as a glaring reminder: the ocean is no silent observer; it is a vital partner in the fight against climate change, and its health is inextricably linked to our own. Ignoring its plea comes at a cost too high to bear. The time for action is now, and the ocean demands it.

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Anil Pratap Singh
Anil Pratap Singh
Science, Environment and Ocean Science Author & General Secretary & Founder Director, Global Science Academy (GSA).

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