New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) Over the course of the next two weeks at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, parties (governments), negotiators, business leaders, civic society organisations, among others, will gather to assess global efforts to advance the key Paris Agreement aim of limiting global warming to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
As the climate crisis worsens around the world, COP28 that begins on Thursday must be a decisive moment to act on climate commitments and limit global warming.
The governments will take decisions on ways to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and on adapting to the impacts of climate change, on Loss and Damage, a fund for vulnerable countries hit hard by natural calamities, and on the means to help countries green their economies and build resilience to climate change through finance, technology and capacity-building.
After Glasgow in 2021, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the annual climate change conference, the second in three years.
The 28th edition of the Conference of Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will run till December 12.
Today, 195 parties (194 states plus the European Union) have joined the Paris Agreement. A latest report from UN Climate Change finds national climate action plans remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Even with increased efforts by some countries, the global stocktake (GST) report shows much more action is needed now to bend the world’s emissions trajectory further downward and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The latest science from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that GHG emissions need to be cut 43 per cent by 2030, compared to the 2019 levels.
This is critical to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century and avoid the worst impacts of climate change, including more frequent and severe droughts, heatwaves and rainfall.
On the eve of COP28, President Designate, Sultan Al Jaber said, “We need to reduce the gap between ambition and action. Those who promised, must deliver. Those who pledged, must act. I will hold every country and every stakeholder accountable to keep the 1.5 degrees C target within reach. I aim to achieve the highest ambition in the Global Stocktake decision.
“Despite all of the noise you hear, in fact that noise is helpful, because it helps you to focus on the task at hand. We feel that the prospects of an extraordinary outcome are at hand…and we will step up to deliver it.”
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell said, “On the eve of the COP28, the problem is clear: Business-as-usual is breaking our planet. At COP28, leaders must get to work fixing it. We are ready to help them deliver.”
The first part of the high-level segment for delivery of national statements by heads of state and government will take place from December 1 to 2 during the World Climate Action Summit.
The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) report is a stark warning ahead of COP28: If governments want to keep the 1.5 degrees goal alive, doubling efficiency progress this decade is crucial.
Its Energy Efficiency 2023 market report, published on Wednesday, showed that to achieve ‘net zero’ emissions from the energy sector by 2050, which is essential to limit global warming, annual improvements in energy efficiency need to double — rising from a level of two per cent in 2022 to more than four per cent per year on average between now and 2030.
In 2023, global energy intensity improved by 1.3 per cent, well below what is needed to achieve this target.
“The world’s climate ambitions hinge on our ability to make the global energy system much more efficient. If governments want to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal within reach while supporting energy security, doubling energy efficiency progress this decade is critical,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
“The findings of this report are a stark warning to the leaders gathering shortly at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai that they all need to commit to stronger action on efficiency and to deliver on it.”
Regarding India’s position at COP28, the country is not mincing words on its energy security needs and reliance on coal to meet its peak power demand which crossed 240 GW this year.
India’s coal production has seen a considerable increase in the last 10 years. From about 565.7 MT in 2013-14, it has reached 893.08 MT in 2022-23. It is expected to touch 1,012 MT by 2023-24 and 1.5 billion tonnes by 2030.
It has been acknowledged by both private and public sector experts that the environmental impacts associated with underground coal mines are lesser when compared to opencast mines. In India, the increase in coal production has largely come from opencast mines. It is held that opencast coal mines often result in deforestation, displacement and pollution issues. In the past 10 years, the share of underground coal mines in India’s total coal production has come down from close to nine per cent in 2013-14 to about four per cent in 2022-23.
According to India’s targets, the coal from underground mines will rise to 99-100 MT in FY28, which will be less than 10 per cent of the overall coal production of the country.
India has supported the ambition for global tripling of renewable energy targets by 2030 at the G20 Leaders Summit.
With more than 60 nations rallying behind this, along with support from the US, the EU and the UAE, this can be a COP28 victory if all 195 nations agree to it.
India is committed to ramping up its renewable energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030 as per its updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). While India is transitioning to a larger share of clean energy sources, it needs to source finance to support development of green energy corridors and an improved grid infrastructure to support the growth. The G20 New Delhi Leaders Declaration has underlined the need for $5.8-5.9 trillion in the pre-2030 period for developing countries to meet net-zero targets. Should we expect anything earth-shaking from COP28, public policy research think tank Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) CEO Arunabha Ghosh told IANS, “To be successful and not be talk shops, climate negotiations need to fulfil three purposes: Set the agenda and targets, put in a process for their implementation, and monitor enforcement and progress. “The year 2023 has underlined clearly why the UN’s Conference of Parties can no longer kick the can of climate justice, climate action and climate finance down the road. It has been the hottest year on record, with floods, droughts and wildfires, as well as a geopolitically turbulent one.”
“The GST will be a report card to our collective pledges so far,” he said. The first-ever GST is set to conclude at the end of this year. The GST is a process for countries and stakeholders to see where they’re collectively making progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and where they’re not. The nations will take a decision on the global stocktake at COP28, which can be leveraged to accelerate ambition in their next round of climate action plans due in 2025.