Trends Research and Advisory released a new study in English that reviews the milestones of the Conference of the Parties to the UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE at its twenty-eighth session of COP28. The upcoming summit shall be held in Dubai Expo City from November 30 to December 12, 2023. The paper is issued within the context of TRENDS’ keeping up with the UAE’s preparations for holding the COP28 and in line with TRENDS’s programs on the environment and sustainable development.
The study was prepared by the Research & Advisory Sector at TRENDS, entitled: “The Road to COP28: How the UAE Can Contribute to Strengthening International Climate Action.” It reviews the Global effects of climate change, the international efforts to contain the effects of climate change, from COP1 to COP27 and the most significant challenges facing international climate action. The paper indicated the UAE's commitment and role in global climate action. It includes some recommendations for the success of the UAE's role in COP28, especially in relation to lowering the baseline Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to achieve net zero by 2050.
The Study gave a detailed account of the UAE’s experience in climate commitment and protecting the environment from the effects of pollution and harmful carbon emissions. It mentioned the significant obstacles to the manifold task of achieving targeted carbon neutrality by different countries of the world. The study covered the possible role assigned to the UAE to raising the world's hopes towards the desired climate transformation by 2050.
The study affirmed that climate change has become the most significant challenge ever facing humanity, and its dangerous impacts draw a dark future for humanity unless the world moves quickly and effectively to make up for lost time.
The events of 2022, like those of the past ten years, have underlined the apparent need to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimize the detrimental impacts on human and natural systems. Human-induced climate changes have increased the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including droughts, forest fires, unprecedented heat waves, hurricanes, floods and other phenomena, and have already caused mass destruction in a number of regions of the world.
The study mentioned that the effects of climate change now cover all aspects of human life without exception; no country, people, or region is excluded from these effects. Climate change poses real dangers. The impact of climate change on marine ecosystems, freshwater, wildlife, food security, infrastructure, health and well-being, economies, and even cultures worldwide has become more apparent than ever.
The paper added that the impact of climate change also harms the physical and mental health of people. Climate-related extreme events have also affected the productivity of all sectors of agriculture and fisheries, with negative consequences for food security and livelihoods.
The Study covered the international efforts to contain the effects of climate change: From COP1 to COP27. The world was alerted to climate change at a relatively early stage. However, there is a general consensus that the world has not moved in time. If the significant countries – especially industrial ones – had responded and taken proactive steps early, the situation might have been much different, and the world may not have reached the current stage. Still, there have been international efforts to deal with this challenge.
The paper explained the most significant challenges facing international climate action. A look at the long path of international climate action reveals certain obstacles in the way of international cooperation, which have led to dragging negotiations and higher costs of addressing climate challenges.
The major challenges facing the world today include the weak international commitment to fulfilling funding pledges and monitoring climate action compliance. Other challenges include managing the Loss and Damage Fund, the concurrence of global crises, and the US-China rivalry, which constitutes a significant dilemma in the way of international climate action. In addition, there is a factor related to the capabilities of the Indian economy, which is one of the world’s leading sources of carbon pollution, and the vast funds needed for international climate action.
In conclusion, the paper gave some recommendations for the success of the UAE's role in COP28. The prominent UAE moves in the coming months leading up to the next summit in Dubai are as follows:
- Identifying accurately those international issues and determining the reasons for their postponement, the most important international actors, and the available options to address each issue.
- Mobilizing regional and international efforts to reach a clear vision of resolving the outstanding climate issues from COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
- The UAE could call for developing an international mechanism for regular follow-up and early warning against expected gaps in climate compliance levels between the world’s countries and regions.
- The UAE could also advocate the development of an ‘international climate observatory’ to measure and monitor the financing commitment of the top economies in climate pollution, especially in North America and East and South Asia.
- Developing climate diplomacy tools.
- It would also be helpful for the UAE’s climate diplomacy to focus on enhancing opportunities for China’s participation at the level of heads of state to overcome one of the most critical obstacles in the way of international climate action, namely the outstanding issues between the US and China on the climate issue.
- It is suggested that the UAE urgently conceive an international action program to determine a unified global carbon price through economic and statistical standard methods.
- Regionally, it is essential for the UAE to lead efforts to enhance regional cooperation as a temporary alternative to achieving climate goals and elevate the negotiating position of the regions least responsible for generating gas emissions.
- It is recommended that the UAE supports innovative methods of engagement between the public and private sectors locally to increase national capacities for compliance and adherence to climate goals.
- Supporting technology rationalization and increased efficiency in the use of fossil energy along with support for plans for shifting to renewable energy.
- It is proposed that mechanisms be developed to market the UAE’s achievements in dealing with the climate issue during COP28, as well as showcase the UAE’s various environmental outputs and success in developing indicators of sustainability and transformation in the new and renewable energy sector.
The study entitled “The Road to COP28 explains how the UAE Can Contribute to Strengthening International Climate Action?”