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Pressing global crisis

Manila Standard

Climate change, a pressing global crisis that transcends national boundaries, will come under sharper focus for two weeks in Dubai starting end of this month.

The crisis requires the decision-making processes of more than 70,000 delegates, including heads of state and of governments as well as world leaders from 197 countries, the European Union and thousands of non-government organizations, to build consensus.

Experts say they will also need to facilitate progress on climate action, and will have to debate over the phasing out of fossil fuels and a new climate damage fund for the Global South – expected to take center stage — in the negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from Nov 30 to Dec 12.

This follows the release of the first Global Stocktake report in September, conducted every five years, designed to evaluate the world’s progress toward meeting the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and recommend steps to address shortfalls.

The report shows alarming results: Countries are far from reaching the Paris Agreement goals, and the window within which the world can still limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is “rapidly narrowing.”

To reach that goal, nations would have to slash global greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent by 2030 and 60 percent by 2035 compared with 2019 levels.

This year has earned the moniker as the hottest on record, with historic heatwaves hitting the United States, China and southern Europe this summer.

Experts and leading climate change scientists have attributed their intensity almost entirely to the burning of fossil fuels.

In July, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization called for governments to adopt heat action plans to “protect hundreds of thousands of people dying from preventable heat-related causes each year.”

Climate change “is an existential threat,” said Niklas Hohne, founder of the climate non-government organization NewClimate Institute and a former member of the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“But the warming alone doesn’t make people move…What makes people move is that we can do it, we have the options and that’s actually the case…It’s not hopeless at all,” he said.

Much is expected from the Dubai conference. The world is watching.

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