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COP28 at critical juncture

The UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, in Dubai faces a critical juncture as it reaches its midpoint. Initially marked by a historic agreement to operationalise the Climate Fund, optimism has given way to frustration over political manoeuvring. UN Climate chief Simon Stiell expressed disappointment, urging delegates to prioritise ambitious climate action over “lowest-denominator politics.” The conference’s primary goal, addressing ‘loss and damage’ for vulnerable nations, is now at risk due to political posturing. While major emitters committed to net-zero, their actions lag, jeopardising the 2023 emission reduction target

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The UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, in Dubai faces a critical juncture as it reaches its midpoint. Initially marked by a historic agreement to operationalise the Climate Fund, optimism has given way to frustration over political manoeuvring. UN Climate chief Simon Stiell expressed disappointment, urging delegates to prioritise ambitious climate action over “lowest-denominator politics.” The conference’s primary goal, addressing ‘loss and damage’ for vulnerable nations, is now at risk due to political posturing. While major emitters committed to net-zero, their actions lag, jeopardising the 2023 emission reduction targets. Despite COP28’s early success in making the Climate Fund operational, doubts loom over climate adaptation and fossil fuel containment. The slow progress on the Climate Loss and Damage Fund, agreed upon in COP27, paints a grim picture. Hopes for halving emissions by 2030 are dwindling, emphasising the gap between good intentions and practical outcomes.

Stiell cautioned against complacency, stating that the COP28 deal’s initial success is merely a starting point, emphasising the need for enhanced transparency and genuine efforts to fund global climate action. He stressed that “good intentions won’t halve emissions this decade or save lives now.” As COP28 approaches its midpoint, Stiell outlined his vision for the future climate talks, asserting that serious financial progress is crucial for tangible results. The Global Stocktake (GST), designed to assess long-term climate goals, faces challenges. Stiell criticised the starting text as a “grab bag of wish lists,” urging a focus on substantial outcomes to save lives and achieve the 1.5-degree goal. The Global Stocktake’s role under Article 14 of the Paris Agreement is crucial for steering climate action in the right direction.

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However, concerns arise as the COP28’s first half lacked the expected emphasis on a robust response to its objectives. Stiell implored negotiators to sift through pledges and declarations, identifying meaningful commitments. He stressed the urgency of COP28 delivering a “bullet train” for accelerated climate action, emphasising the need to utilise existing technologies, solutions, and tools. The conference’s progress by its midpoint includes financial pledges for the Climate Fund, support for global healthcare systems, and commitments to reduce cooling-related emissions. Key topics of discussion encompassed phasing out fossil fuels, building climate resilience, and providing financial aid to vulnerable nations. In parallel, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) issued alarming reports. The first warned of impending “planetary collapse” if immediate action isn’t taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The second confirmed the 2011-2030 period as the warmest decade on record, attributing it to escalating emissions imperilling polar ice caps and mountainous regions. As COP28 enters its crucial second phase, the world watches anxiously, hoping for decisive actions that match the urgency of the climate crisis. The focus must shift from political posturing to substantive measures that ensure a sustainable future for humanity and the planet. The urgency at COP28’s midpoint demands a swift departure from political brinkmanship to concrete action. The world’s climate future hangs in the balance as the conference teeters between potential progress and stagnation. As the Global Stocktake struggles to find substantive responses, negotiators must rise above wishful posturing. Simon Stiell’s call for a “bullet train” of climate action echoes the sentiment that time is running out. Governments and negotiators must seize the available technologies and solutions to pave a path towards a sustainable, resilient future for our planet.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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