COP28 centrepiece


THIS year will mark a pivot shift from Paris to Dubai. The first Global Stock-take will provide a moment of reckoning and an opportunity for an honest reality check. Since Paris, forecasts of future warming are lower, renewable energy and cost of clean technologies have fallen, and countries are more aware of the need to invest in preparedness. However, this mixed progress does not meet the criteria of staying within the safe threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

COP28 is taking place this year in a month when the global temperature has for the first time exceeded the 2°C for two days above preindustrial average. It is an ominous sign that the spectre of a burning planet is not merely a future deterministic scenario but happening in the here and now.

The negotiated decision and political declaration constituting the GST response at COP28 may well be the last chance to send a clear systems transformation signal to guide all actors to shift from the current incremental progress to transformational levels of implementation. Working towards an ambitious balanced package would include energy transition and investment goals of tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency, while phasing out fossil fuels and setting the stage for a more ambitious and inclusive round of Nationally Determined Contributions.

With modelling costs of adaptation estimated at $215 billion per annum this decade, and international public finance flows 10-18 times lower than the need of developing nations, reaching an agreement on scale, access and affordability for domestic adaptation priorities, estimated at $387bn, will pose the biggest challenge. The ambitious package will also require oper ationalising the Loss and Damage Fund, advancing progress on reform of the international financial architecture, protecting natural capital, and recognising the centrality of food systems in meeting climate goals.

Hosted by the UAE, COP28 has shone a spotlight on fossil fuels, highlighting the role of the oil and gas industry in the stymying efforts of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency have clearly closed the door on fossil fuel expansion, emphasisng the need for accelerating fossil fuel phase-out, tripling renewable energyto over 11,000GW by 2030, doubling energy efficiency from 2022 levels by 2030, and reducing methane emissions by 75 per cent in the energy sector to align warming with the target of 1.5°C.

Finance will dominate the discourse, increasing pressure on ministers to give a clear political signal that the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) is significantly bigger in size, inclusive and fit for purpose. Currently, 25 countries have pledged $9.3bn compared to the last replenishment total of $10bn from 32 countries. COP28 can play a role in advancing efforts for unlocking greater magnitudes of investments and unlocking new finance from innovative sources, including taxes and levies and contributions from rich and high emitting countries.

The following are some of the negotiated outcomes needed as next steps: • Framework to close gaps in Global Goal onAdaptation and raise political visibility.

• Operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund, with next steps to establish it.

• Converge on core elements of multilayered NCQGs to lay the basis of decisions at COP29.

• Strengthen action on Article 2.1c of the Paris Agreement.

• Finalise rules and acknowledge the need for more action under Article 6.8.

• Take substantive decisions on mitigation ambition and process decisions to link the 2024 Global Dialogue to GST implementation Parties will be looking at the UAE for clarification on the way forward to help guide political discussions on GST outputs and more details from the High Level Committee on key messages to inform GST outcomes. This will require the parties to work together to build momentum on achieving a specific language in the GST decision on solutions that have the potential to plug thecurrent implementation gap. Means of implementation serving as key enablers for developing countries to meet their mitigation and adaptation targets will require ramping up action for transformations across all countries, sectors, and systems to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

COP28 is also due to publish the first iteration of a roadmap for future food systems from the Food and Agriculture Organisation. It will be vital to set milestones for fair sustainable food systems and also ensure that the biggest emitters of agricultural methane and mineral fertilisers agree to absolute cuts in methane and 50pc nitrogen reduction in farming practices by 2030.

So far, trends and positions taken by the parties at meetings in the run-up to the climate summit don`t provide hope for a satisfactory outcome in December. The UN secretary general`s alarming statements about a burning planet followed by summit meetings on polar regions drawing attention to the crisis in the cryosphere, and reports about the planet crossing six out of nine planetary boundaries, represents critical thresholds that divide the desirable and undesirable regimes in social-ecological systems.

As we prepare for COP28, it would be wise to reassess the strategy for climate engagement.

The need for tandem and parallel climate diplomacy has never been more urgent. Regional ownership, collective efforts and looking for solutions closer to home can pay rich dividends. Remaining entrapped in a cycle of conflict at a time when we need peace and stability to invest in human security, will accelerate and exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the making.

The one planet, one people agenda with the moral mandate of leaving no one behind, needs to move beyond mind-stretching perspectives to concrete actions. The GST offers a chance to strengthen synergies for harmonising development with security. The way forward is a common roadmap to enhance implementation by party/ non-party stakeholders. COP28 has the opportunity to seed a new narrative that can turn the tide of global climate action.

The wnter is chief executive of the Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change.

aisha@csccc.org. pk

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