With COP28 around the corner, ‘we can still limit climate change, if we act now’

Climate change has become an increasingly circulated topic globally over the past decades, especially as the world becomes more aware of how pressing it is since it causes changes in rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, a warming ocean, and more frequent and intense extreme weather events that impact millions of people. However, it isn't too late, according to one of the pieces released under the United Nations' (UN) online awareness series, Myth Busters, which reassured humanity saying, 'we can still limit climate change, if we act now!' This and much more highlight the great significance of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is set to kick off in the UAE less than a week from now. Taking place at Expo City Dubai from 30th November to 12th December, COP28 will see many announcements on realistic and inclusive solutions to the global climate crisis, from just energy transition paths to climate finance and adaptation . The UN's article asserts that the choices we make today will determine the changes in the climate we will experience in the future, citing 'large and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and of other greenhouse gas emissions' by utilising our 'knowledge, tools and resources to secure a liveable, sustainable future for all' as the key to limiting climate change. 'Natural changes in the sun's activity or large volcanic eruptions have caused ancient shifts in the Earth's temperatures and weather patterns, but over the last 200 years, these natural causes have not significantly affected global temperatures. Today, it is human activities that are causing climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas,' it further explains. 'Burning fossil fuels creates a blanket of pollution trapping the sun's heat on Earth and raising global temperatures. (Global warming then leads to other changes like droughts, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, me lting polar ice, intense storms and declining biodiversity.)' The more of this pollution, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), accumulates in the atmosphere, the more of the sun's heat gets trapped, the warmer it gets on Earth. There is a strong relationship between cumulative CO2 emissions and the increase in global surface temperature. Today, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 50 percent higher than in 1750, far exceeding the natural changes over at least the past 800,000 years. According to Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), more than a century of burning fossil fuels as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use have led to global warming of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. This has resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world. But there are multiple, feasible and effective options to reduce greenho use gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change, and they are available now, said scientists in this IPCC report. Taking effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages for nature and people, it will also provide wider benefits, the report points out, underscoring the urgency of taking more ambitious action now to secure a liveable sustainable future for all. Many mitigation and adaptation actions have multiple synergies with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but some actions can also have trade-offs. Potential synergies with SDGs exceed potential trade-offs. Synergies and trade-offs are context-specific and depend on means and scale of implementation, intra- and inter-sectoral interactions, cooperation between countries and regions, the sequencing, timing and stringency of actions, governance, and policy design. Eradicating extreme poverty and energy poverty, and providing decent living standards to all, consistent with near-term sustainable development objecti ves, can be achieved without significant global emissions growth, the report reassures. These are just the tip of the iceberg, however, plans are set to be turbocharged, with COP28 posed to deliver solutions that would accelerate implementation to ensure this crisis is slowed down, and ultimately, reversed. Source: Emirates News Agency