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Countries will have to mobilize the necessary means to change the trajectory on which they are committed and which will lead them, if nothing changes, to exceed the critical threshold of global warming. 1.5 degrees Celsius.

COP28 on climate change: what you need to know | COP28: climate summit in Dubai

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Dubai hosts the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change until December 12, 2023.

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After a summer of extreme weather events that served as reminders that the climate is spiraling out of control and out of control, world leaders are gathering in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for the COP28 on climate change. Here are the issues that will be at the heart of the negotiations.

The time has come for the 196 signatory countries of the Paris Agreement, of which Canada is a part, to be held accountable. Are they contributing enough to the global effort to limit global warming to 1.5°C or less? The COP28 in Dubai is an opportunity to take stock of the measures adopted in the world since 2015.

Under the Paris Agreement, countries had to submit a target for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and detail the plan to achieve it, called “nationally determined contributions”. (CDN).”

Adopted at the COP21 on climate change in Paris, the Paris Agreement is a binding text that states that countries must keep the increase in global average temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Signatories must also continue their efforts to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5°C above current levels pre-industrial.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), crossing the critical threshold of 1.5°C could disrupt the climate for good and lead to serious and irreversible changes.

COP28: climate summit in Dubai

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For the increase in average temperatures not to exceed 1.5°C, GHG emissions would have to be reduced by 43% by 2030, according to the IPCC.

However, despite the updating of the climate action plans established by the countries, these prove to be insufficient: all at most they would reduce GHG emissions by 2% by the end of the decade, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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The federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, will participate in COP28. He was appointed co-facilitator to support the presidency in its search for consensus between countries.

Canada is no exception; the government would be on track to fail to meet its target of reducing emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

Since 2015, Canada has made historic progress, but it is also insufficient, notes the executive director of the Climate Action Network Canada, Caroline Brouillette. A coalition of environmental organizations, including the Network, believes that Canada should aim for a 60% reduction to ensure it does its fair share, living up to its historic responsibility in climate change.

The country is also experiencing a significant delay between the target of its climate plan and implementation.

Between the objectives [of Canada] and what materializes on the ground, there is a gap.

A quote from Caroline Brouillette, Executive Director of the Climate Action Network Canada

In her most recent Emissions Gap Report 2023< /em>, the United Nations Environment Program estimates that Canada has a gap of 27% to fill, which ranks it among the countries for which this gap is the largest, underlines Ms. Brouillette.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">To remedy this, environmental groups and many climate and energy experts are calling on Canada to bring the sector into line oil and gas – the most polluting in the country – which is responsible for 28% of GHG emissions. Unlike other economic sectors, this one has increased its emissions since 1990.

The Trudeau government must still honor its promise, made at COP26 in Glasgow, in 2021, to impose an emissions cap on production oil and gas. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, told Radio-Canada that the regulation would be “ready in time for COP28”.

Unresolved at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the issue of fossil fuels will once again be at the heart of discussions in Dubai.

Au At the end of the negotiations, in 2022, the countries agreed to essentially reiterate the commitment made during COP26, namely to gradually reduce the production of electricity from coal and electricity. phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

In order to strengthen this commitment – ​​notably by including fossil fuels such as oil and gas – countries will advocate for an explicit mention in favor of an exit from fossil fuels can be found in the final declaration.

Several countries, including Canada, the United States, Australia and the European Union, are calling for an exit from fossil fuels without mitigation measures (unabated), such as carbon capture and storage technologies. According to this definition, these States are therefore distinguished from those which demand the total abandonment of fossil fuels.

Currently, these technologies allow the sequestration of approximately 0.1% of the planet's CO2 emissions. This is why several organizations are wary of this solution which, according to them, could perpetuate the use of polluting energies.

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COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber during a conference at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition, October 2023.

At the other end of the spectrum, countries like China and Russia are united in their opposition to the elimination of fossil fuels.

As host of COP28, the United Arab Emirates – the world's 7th largest oil producer – urged countries to find common ground. According to the presidency, COP28 must result in a gradual reduction of emissions linked to fossil fuels, rather than a reduction in oil, gas and coal production.

A few days before the opening of the summit, the presidency found itself in embarrassment after the BBC revealed that the country intended to benefit from COP28 and the arrival of 70,000 participants, including lobbyists from the oil and gas industry, to discuss possible contracts linked to fossil fuels.

The president of the COP28 rejected these allegations. A man of many hats, Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber is both the Emirati Minister of Industry and Advanced Technologies and the CEO of the largest oil company in the United Arab Emirates, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company . The latter intends to increase its production by 2030.

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Like the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Russia, Canada, the world's fourth largest oil producer, plans to extract even more oil in the next year, going against calls for reductions recommended by climate experts.

The president of COP28 has increased calls to encourage governments to triple their renewable energy production capacity and double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. These elements are essential to support the most energy-intensive sectors in their transition.

Under this scenario, total renewable energy production is expected to increase to 11,000 gigawatts by the end of the decade. By 2022, states around the world had generated a total of 3,629 GW, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). This was triple the levels seen in 2010.

G20 countries, including Canada, responded to the call from the COP28 presidency by committing to accelerate their efforts in this area. Earlier this month, Washington and Beijing vowed to put aside their differences in pursuit of concrete, concerted climate actions, including increasing wind and solar power. /p>

More than sixty countries will support the addition of a mention to this effect in the final declaration.

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Two weeks before the opening of COP28, the United Arab Emirates inaugurated the Al-Dhafra complex, one of the largest solar power plants in the world.

According to IEA projections, climate policies will significantly change the way people source electricity over the coming years. Photovoltaic solar energy and electric vehicles should be the vectors that will propel this new economy, made necessary by the electrification of buildings, transport and industries.

Without marking the end of fossil fuels, this transformation could mean that a peak in demand for coal, oil and gas could be reached by 2030.

What about the historic promise on which COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh concluded? In 2022, countries left Egypt promising to establish a loss and damage mechanism so that wealthier states pay for irreversible damage caused to more vulnerable nations.

The countries of the South, which have historically contributed less to the climate crisis, nevertheless find themselves on the front line and suffering the worst consequences.

Since COP27 , a committee met to determine the form that this mechanism will take, the countries that will contribute to it and those that will benefit from it.

Following difficult negotiations between countries of the North and countries of the South, members proposed that a fund be temporarily hosted by the World Bank. A series of conditions associated with this decision will have to be approved at COP28 to make everything operational. Rich countries particularly want to see polluting countries, such as China and Saudi Arabia, contribute to the financing.

The EU Climate Action Network has suggested that a tax on fossil fuels be introduced to cover the costs associated with loss and damage. This solution could generate nearly 210 billion US dollars, according to the organization.

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Code of war, funding is lacking and still imposes itself on the COP agenda.

Long before an agreement was reached on the issue of loss and damage, the richest nations agreed in 2009, in a separate commitment, to pay US$100 billion a year to support the countries of the South in their fight against climate change. However, they have failed to keep their promise, year after year.

Based on preliminary data – and which has not been made public – , the OECD recently indicated that rich countries will have fulfilled their commitment from 2022, two years behind the initial schedule.

The financing gap is also evident in the adaptation file, where the needs of developing countries are 10 to 18 times greater than what is provided in international aid.

In 2021, funding amounted to US$21 billion. This is far from the 387 billion that should be mobilized each year, according to the UN, to implement the most pressing adaptation measures.

At COP28, negotiators should adopt a framework to ensure climate change adaptation targets are met.

The summit will be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

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