Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The reflection of the difficult balance between climate security and economy

The Dubai Climate Summit, COP28, has reached its midpoint, which is a true reflection of the difficult balance between guaranteeing climate security and the economic interests of the 198 countries called to agree on the steps to follow to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. . After a day of rest, the conclave will enter its “political phase” with the hope of a lot of CO28, ending with a clear message about the beginning of the end of the era of fossil fuels “without adjectives. ”

On the table, all options remain open after the publication of a draft of one of the most sought-after documents of this summit: the one that should close the first review process of what has been achieved since the Paris Agreement and what is left to achieve its goals, known as global balance. It ranges from the equal and progressive elimination of all fossil fuels to doing nothing to the elimination of coal only without CO2 capture and storage (CCS) technologies to bring it to zero.

Without a doubt, in the negotiation of what the final message will be, each country’s reliance on coal, oil, and gas will be re-evaluated. The EU defends the end of the use of all fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) in the energy sector before 2050 because there are already competitive technologies to replace them. For other devices, it supports that they will continue to be used only if it is CCS. The US is advocating for “some” phasing out by 2050, leaving CCS fuels only for sectors that are difficult to decarbonize (aviation, steel, etc.).

Saudi Arabia and Russia (the second and third largest producers of crude oil after the United States), China (the largest emitter), or India (relying on coal) do not publicly show their cards, although voices reporting “outside the microphone” spoke about their strong opposition to “putting in writing” references to the end of fossil fuels, which are primarily responsible for the climate crisis.

In this context, the climate scientist Joeri Rogelj, one of the advocates of limiting warming to 1.5 °C at the end of the century compared to the pre-industrial era, warns that only talking about the end of fossil fuels with no mitigation is “no. at all consistent with a low carbon future.”. The “suggestions” in the text about the future use of fossil fuels are “scientifically weak” because what is being tried to achieve in order to maintain the 1.5 degree goal “is that all fossil fuels will clearly decrease this time.”Century,” he said. .

Currently, CCS fossil fuel production is “minimal” and no technologies have been developed on a global scale, so its mere mention at COP28 does not give a clear message about the future of coal, oil, and gas. to guide the nations. According to the IPCC group of climate experts, current policies will lead to a warming of 3ºC by the end of the century, twice what is desired, so it is urgent to accelerate the reduction of emissions.

After the start of a historic agreement for the creation of a loss and damage fund to compensate countries with fewer resources and, in turn, more exposed to the effects of climate change, the “technical” part of the summit took place in the middle of a barrage of “alliances, declarations, and initiatives” filled with non-binding promises of climate action and billions of dollars.

Among these promises, the commitment of 123 countries to triple install renewable capacity and double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030, that of 138 countries to include health in their climate plans, or that of 52 major oil companies that will have zero standout net emissions in 2050,. At the monetary level, the parties committed 726 million dollars for losses and damages, more than 3.5 billion for the Green Climate Fund (mitigation and adaptation), and 133.6 million for the Adaptation Fund, between endless multi-million dollar ads.

With the issue of loss and damage—one of the biggest needs of the Global South with financing—resolved, the parties focused most of their efforts on solving the crossroads of how to accelerate emission reductions. to 2030/2050 to ensure the safety of the planet’s climate while protecting their respective economies. Two other central issues in the climate debate, financing and the need to adapt to the effects of warming, seem to have been moved, at least in front of the public.

In the background, the echoes of the new controversies surrounding the president of the COP28 and director of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Sultan Al Yaber, who will appear at the front, appear in a press conference with the president of the IPCC, Jim Skea, to explain that he believes in science and that he considers it inevitable to abandon fossil fuels.

What is certain is that, compared to last year’s summit in Egypt (COP27), there is more “confidence, hope, and optimism” in the atmosphere of the possibility of leaving Dubai with a message that gives governments and companies the “tin-aw signs” that the beginning of the time of the end of gasoline has arrived. And all, with the backdrop of a steady trickle of reports warning that 2023 will be a record year for temperatures and emissions, at a summit where, for the first time, doctors, religious leaders, mayors, and subnational leaders are called to join forces. .

World Nation News Desk
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