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COP28: 'Fight Climate Change, Not Each Other'

What are the sustainable development goals?

Formulated by the United Nations, The sustainable development goals constructed in 2015 (also known as the SDGs) are goals in which we can achieve a global partnership between all countries to ensure a peaceful and bountiful life on which we work with the Earth. The SDGs were created upon the initial goals, these being the millennium development goals. All the goals cover the three elements of sustainable development this being social, economic, and environmental. All interlinked with each other therefore progress is dependent, and this must be recognised in any strategies made towards achieving these goals.

Progress on the Paris agreement: What have we achieved by now?

The Paris agreement is monumental as it was the first legally-binding universal global climate change agreement constructed and put in place at the COP21 in 2015. Targets of the Paris agreement deduced by 2050 to have a balance between atmospheric input of green house gases and removal into sinks such as oceans and forests therefore showing the importance in protecting our habitats. Furthermore, it was noted for developing countries to improve their economy and at the same time lessen poverty and hunger, it would negatively impact their ability to reduce their carbon emissions. Therefore, for developing countries focus was made on mitigating effects whereas developed countries have a greater responsibility for renewable energy generation due to economic state.

One of the main decisions made in the Paris agreement was for countries to establish their own long term strategies in terms with low green-house gas emissions. This was beneficial as currently zero-carbon solutions now make up 25% of emissions across sectors of the economy.

UAE and its history with climate change

When it comes to climate change, the UAE has a great track record in the past as shown by being the first country to agree to the Paris agreement, the first to commit to reductions in emissions throughout their economy and lastly the first to announce the net zero target by 2050. Therefore, the UAE has a great reputation and will hopefully continue this responsibility to our planet in the coming years.

UAE and its goals of COP28

The UAE is set to host the next COP being COP28 starting on November 30th, 2023, in Dubai in which the significance lies with the completion of the first stocktake, measuring levels of progress made from the Paris agreement. This being the second successive COP being held in the Middle east leading on from the COP27 held in Egypt last year of 2022. Levels of progress are not as they need to be due to many reasons, some of those being the covid pandemic, others being greater conflict in the world. The need for action is ever so serious as seen in the recent enhanced natural hazardous events of flooding in Pakistan and extreme heatwaves in areas of the UK, India, and China.

The host for the event is the COP28 president-delegate Dr Sultan al Jaber who ensures commitment to the goal of maintaining global temperatures of 1.5 degrees Celsius and halving carbon emissions by 2030 whilst keeping secure energy sources for the populations everywhere. This determines 'COP28 as a COP of unity, COP of action and a COP for all'. One of the main decisions undergone at COP27 was the creation of a ‘loss and damage fund’ in which funding is provided towards developing countries those who are currently dealing with the consequences of climate change. However, much information is lacking about the fund therefore this is likely to be revisited in the coming year.

Dr Al Jaber states to maintain our planet we must ensure the tripling of renewable energy generation and the large scale-up of carbon-capturing technology. Further importance is placed on the need to eliminate energy poverty and have a world capable of maintaining a population with an increase of two million by 2050.

"Economists estimate that decarbonising industry, the energy sector, power generation, transportation and food systems could create an additional twelve trillion dollars in economic value by 2030"

Targets set for the COP28

Targets have been split in categories of finance, loss and damage, adaption and finally mitigation.

These include the need to triple renewable energy generation by 2030, to protect vulnerable communities from biodiversity loss and extreme weather, ensure climate finance is affordable and accessible and aid towards rebuilding after climate events. Our current state of the planet indicates that we have solutions put in place already such as cheaper renewable energy sources and the production of electric cars; We therefore just have to have more countries globally switching towards these and leaving fossil fuels in the past. Working with nature is our best chance at saving our planet as shown by nature itself absorbing 54% of our greenhouse emissions over the past 10 years.

Looking forward to the future, what progress will be made for future generations based off our actions and agreements from COP28?


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