The planet's temperature continues to rise with no signs of slowing down. The poles are melting, heat-related diseases are multiplying, and greenhouse gases continue to pollute the planet. And all this with the Paris Agreements that have not yet been implemented. This is how today starts COP28the largest and most important global meeting for address the global warming emergencyin which hundreds of activists, experts, scientists, industrialists and social workers will come to Dubai, as well as numerous world leaders, to try, once again, to seek global agreements with which to provide a solution to this perennial crisis.
It is estimated that during the 13 days that this global forum lasts, more than 70,000 people will take part in the conferences and meetings to which diplomats from around 200 countries.
Under the motto "Unite, Act, Deliver", COP28 aims to continue and reinforce the Paris Agreements, whose maximum goal is to limit global warming as close as possible to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Something very complicated according to the current trend, which points to an increase in global temperature between 2.5 and 2.9 degrees above pre-industrial levels during this century.
As explained to this newspaper Víctor Viñuales, sociologist and co-founder and director of the Ecology and Development Foundation (Ecodes)«at COP28 the first global balance will be presented («global stocktake») since the Paris Agreement in which we will analyze what progress we have made, what we have not made and thus provoke an upward readjustment of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) so that they are aligned with the 1.5 degree objective.
According to this expert, the climate summit should agree on the roadmap for the end of fossil fuels, «something especially complicated given the place in which it is held (Dubai). There are countries and fossil fuel companies that continue to start exploiting new deposits, when we should leave deposits that we already know underground without exploiting them."
Likewise, at the last Summit it was agreed to create a loss and damage fund to address growing climate disasters in countries that have contributed very little to the generation of climate change "and it is a fund that must be developed quickly," this sustainability expert urges. In fact, developing countries need between 10 and 18 times more funds from rich nations to address climate impacts, 50% more than previously estimated.
New climate plans
The first week of the summit will have a more technical aspect where various scientific studies and thematic initiatives will be presented, while the countries' diplomatic teams will work on the declarations and decisions that will be approved at the end of the Summit. The results of COP28 should guide countries to present new national climate plans in 2025. But, Will it be possible to reach agreements that can be fulfilled? «On the one hand, the decision-making method at Climate Summits is consensus among the 198 nations. There are great economic, political and cultural differences between these countries, which makes it very difficult to reach unanimous agreements. Furthermore, in this COP28 there is another difficulty, the Summit is held in Dubai, a country that still bases its economy on fossil fuels. It does not seem like a country very willing to promote climate ambition"laments Viñuales, who clarifies that "one thing is the probability of an agreement coming out and another is working to achieve improbable agreements."
From the foundation he directs, they consider that the Paris Agreement must be complemented with a binding treaty to end the era of fossil fuels: a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Among the main obstacles that the measures agreed upon in the different COPs collide with is, according to the director of Ecodes, “there are countries that do not want agreements to be reached. Haand great business economic powers that want to delay as much as possible the end of fossil fuels. There is also a powerful force of inertia in public policies and social habits.
What's more, as he clarifies, from his point of view "it is a contradiction between the scientific conviction of many governments and parliaments that we are facing a climate emergency, with innumerable social and economic damages (about 168,000 million euros, the last one in 2022) and, however, contrary to what happened during the Covid pandemic, no exceptional measures are being taken to face the greatest exceptional situation that humanity has experienced.
The fact that we are immersed in a time of «multicrisis» (a pandemic, a war in Ukraine, another in Israel, greater geopolitical polarization), what it does is undermine the forces and cooperation between nations to address the greatest common global challenge that humanity has ever faced: the climate change.
Regarding two of the fundamental issues, the increase in temperature and greenhouse gases, the reality is alarming. If trends continue as they are currently, it will not be easy to achieve the Earth's temperature does not exceed 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. "It is still possible but with each passing day it is more difficult," says Viñuales.
«As anyone who has had a fever knows, every degree matters. Having a fever of 37.5 is not the same as having a fever of 38 or 39. I say this because there are people who think that if we are not going to be able to stop the increase in temperature by 1.5 degrees, we will give up and do nothing. to stop climate change. That position doesn't make any sense. "We cannot give up early," he adds.
Regarding greenhouse gases, the director of Ecodes highlights the latest IPCC Report which states that a 43% reduction in CO2 emissions is necessary by 2030. «And we are not doing well. There is a lot of resistance. There are reductions in some countries, There is an increase in renewable energies, but subsidies for fossil fuels have not been cut, there has not been enough progress in the decarbonization of mobility"There are economic sectors and countries in which emissions are still increasing," he asserts.
For the first time, at COP28 there will be an Official Health Day to analyze diseases related to climate change, something that the scientific communities see very positively. «We have already had cases of Nile fever in Spain and others of dengue. Droughts damage crops and extreme heat waves cause us to talk about uninhabitable territories. Recently at a Taylor Swift concert in Brazil, a 23-year-old girl died because the wind chill was around sixty degrees. The concert was canceled and we are going to have to suspend more and more things due to unbearable temperatures," this expert predicts.