Takeaway point from International Conference on climate change

Dr Vivak M Arya, Tamanna Sharma
UN climate conferences are annual, high-level government conferences with a focus on climate action. The Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COPs) is another name for them (UNFCCC). On March 21, 1994, the UNFCCC convention came into effect in an effort to stop “dangerous” human intervention with the climate system. With 198 countries having ratified it, its membership is almost universal now. The convention is expanded in 2015 by the adoption of the Paris Agreement. The international community geared up for another crucial United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 28, where world leaders, scientists, activists, and stakeholders gathered to discuss and negotiate strategies to combat the pressing challenges of climate change. The 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, or COP28, was held in Expo City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from November 30 to December 12, 2023. More than 70,000 individuals attended COP28, including journalists, youth activists, business executives, representatives of indigenous communities, and delegates from UNFCCC member states.
Following the momentum of previous conferences, COP 28 aims to build on the achievements of its predecessors and take significant steps towards a sustainable and resilient future.
a) Loss and Damage fund: On the first day of the summit on 30 November 2023, landmark agreement to create a “loss and damage” fund to compensate for the effects of climate change on poor states. These includes “National response plans; addressing insufficient climate information and data; and promoting equitable, safe and dignified human mobility in the form of displacement, relocation, and migration, in cases of temporary and permanent loss and damage”. The World Bank will initially manage the fund, and a board with a varied geographic representation will be appointed. The host nation, the United Arab Emirates, pledged to contribute $100 million to the fund initially, and by United States ($24.5 million), Japan ($10 million), Germany ($100 million), and the United Kingdom ($75 million).
b) Phasing out of fossil fuels: It was for the first time in history of COP summits, the global agreement specifically called for a shift away from fossil fuels. Additionally, the statement “called on” countries to take stronger measures to reduce their emissions. The goal was to “accelerate and significantly reduce non-CO2 emissions globally, including in particular methane emissions by 2030. Reforming fossil fuel subsidies is a crucial component to assisting in the shift away from fossil fuels, which was committed at the end of COP 28. The new agreement pledges to “as soon as possible, phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transitions.”
c) Public health considerations: The impact of climate change on public health was discussed for the first time at COP28. The World Health Organisation urged health ministers to become the main advocates for climate action by promoting climate finance that protects human well-being and setting an example with healthcare systems that are climate-friendly. According to estimates, vulnerable countries facing climate-related damages by 2030 could end up spending up to $580 billion. In the past, also, experts appealed UNFCCC to include public health in all climate talks and decisions, stating that human health was crucial to the future of a sustainable climate.
d) Agriculture: It is widely acknowledged that the resilience of agriculture and food systems, as well as the capacity of many, particularly the most vulnerable, to produce and access food in the face of rising rates of hunger, malnutrition, and economic strains, are being threatened by unprecedentedly negative climate impacts, these sectors urgently need to adapt and change in order to meet the demands of climate change. It was pledged that Prior to the convening of COP30, pursue wide, open, and inclusive engagement to integrate agriculture and food systems into National Adaptation Plans, Nationally Determined Contributions, Long-term Strategies, National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, and other relevant strategies, as appropriate within our national contexts.
Rethink or refocus public policies and support for agriculture and food systems to support initiatives that boost resilience, productivity, livelihoods, nutrition, water efficiency, and the health of people, animals, and ecosystems while lowering food loss and waste, ecosystem degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions. The main focus should be on assisting workers in the food and agriculture sectors, particularly women and young people, whose livelihoods are at risk due to climate change, in maintaining inclusive, decent work by using suitable strategies, such as raising, modifying, and diversifying income. The key objective should be on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing soil health and biodiversity that will help to maximise the positive effects of agriculture and food systems on the climate while mitigating their negative effects. Other strategies to achieve this include promoting sustainable aquatic blue foods and minimising food loss and waste as well as conserving, protecting, and restoring land and natural ecosystems.
At COP28, India unveiled the Green Credit Initiative, an international forum for collaborative exchange of cutting-edge environmental policies and tools. The two main goals of the initiative are afforestation and water conservation. This initiative’s primary goal is to encourage large corporations and private companies to engage in voluntary environmental activities such as waste management, sustainable agriculture, water conservation, and tree planting in order to improve the nation’s climate-related problem
Conclusion: As the world braces for the challenges posed by climate change, COP 28 emerges as a pivotal moment for global cooperation. The primary cause of climate change has come to light as a result of COP 28, and for the first time, a fair transition away from fossil fuels is a firmly negotiated. COP28 can demonstrate that multilateralism continues to be the most effective way to address global issues in our shattered and divided world. The conference has provided a platform to showcase and discuss innovative technologies that can contribute to sustainable development and climate mitigation.The success of this conference will depend on the collective commitment of nations to prioritize the well-being of the planet and future generations over short-term interests.
(The authors are from SKUAST-Jammu)