Unprecedented heatwaves wreaked havoc in different parts of the world in July and August of last year, triggering disruptions such as forest fires, water and food shortages, and deadly hurricanes. These events have propelled a global push for effective climate solutions, culminating in COP28, scheduled to take place at Expo City in Dubai from November 30 to December 12.
This conference signifies a pivotal moment in climate change mitigation, building on the groundbreaking Paris Agreement (COP21) of 2015. The Paris Agreement, a legally binding accord, aimed to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius and strive for a 1.5-degree increase above pre-industrial levels.
Key provisions of the Paris Agreement include addressing greenhouse gas emissions, devising adaptive solutions, mitigating environmental impact, and compelling industrialized nations to facilitate the transition to a carbon-free economy. The agreement also outlines two five-year review processes, with the first global stocktake commencing at COP28 to measure progress toward climate commitments.
Notably, the United Nations, in September 2023, emphasized the urgency to recalibrate the course in response to the climate crisis. Estimates from the Copernicus Climate Change Service indicated that August 2023 was 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial period average.
Recognizing the gravity of the climate crisis, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted the formidable challenge of constraining global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This task is particularly daunting for developing nations, which face hurdles in securing necessary funding and grappling with the implementation of carbon emission reduction commitments while shifting towards clean energy.
Addressing the health risks associated with air pollution, the World Health Organization brought attention to an alarming annual toll of seven million premature deaths in September 2021. The practical guidance provided by the WHO’s Air Quality Guidelines serves as an effective tool to combat this widespread global problem.
The United Nations emphasized energy’s central role in the climate challenge, underscoring the need to reduce emissions by nearly half by 2030 and achieve zero emissions by 2050. Fossil fuels, responsible for over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions, must be replaced by clean, accessible, and sustainable renewable energy sources, which currently contribute to 29% of global electricity production.
(Inputs from ANI)