The president of COP28, Sultan Al Jaber, has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
I am signing off until our next encounter. Thank you for taking the time to read.
Cop28, it shows:
At the global level, there are a minimum of 918 protected areas that currently have or are planning to have fossil fuel extraction projects within their borders. This amounts to a total of 2,337 active or proposed ventures for extracting oil, gas, and coal within legally designated protected areas.
At least 50.8 Gt of potential CO2
According to projections from the industry, the extraction of emissions from oil, gas, and coal reserves within protected areas is expected to exceed the combined annual emissions of the US and China by more than three times over the course of their lifetimes.
², 200,000km², and 100,000km²
The three largest basins of tropical forests, measuring 300,000km², 200,000km², and 100,000km² respectively.2
Around 14% of the total area of protected areas (PAs) is shared with oil and gas blocks.
The complete report, created by Earth Insight, the Leave it in the Ground Initiative, and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, is available here.
The Cop28 conference has underscored the necessity of phasing out fossil fuels in order to meet the temperature goals set by the Paris agreement.
According to Professor Johan Rockström, who leads the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research in Germany, there is no other scientific communication that suggests we should not phase out the use of fossil fuels.
The report by the scientists was released in Dubai following the Guardian’s disclosure that the Cop28 president had recently stated there was insufficient scientific evidence to support the necessity of phasing out fossil fuels in order to stay below 1.5C. Sultan Al Jaber, who is also the CEO of the UAE’s national oil company, made this statement before the summit.
The topic of whether the 198 nations at Cop28 should choose to eliminate or reduce the use of fossil fuels is a highly debated matter at the summit and could greatly impact its outcome.
The latest findings indicate that it is necessary to quickly and carefully eliminate the use of fossil fuels in order to meet the goals set in the Paris agreement. The report suggests that Cop28 should take decisive actions towards making firm commitments to gradually phase out all fossil fuels.
According to Rockström, it is evident that action must be taken during the Cop28 meeting to address the elimination of fossil fuels on a global scale. Up until now, our efforts have fallen short and have put us in a risky position of straying from the goal set by the Paris agreement, which is to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
According to Dr Ploy Achakulwisut, a member of the UN secretary general’s climate action team from the Stockholm Environment Institute, it should not be a contentious issue to commit to eliminating all fossil fuels in order to maintain a 1.5C temperature limit, as demanded by science.
“If a descriptor such as ‘unabated’ is utilized, it must be precisely defined with thresholds based on scientific evidence. Developed nations should take the lead in transitioning to renewable energy and offer assistance to less developed countries.”
Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, who oversees the Cop meetings, expressed support for the report. In a press release, he stated that the “Ten new insights in climate science” report is a valuable resource for decision-makers during a crucial time in the climate calendar. Stiell emphasized the importance of incorporating scientific findings from reports like this into ambitious and evidence-based action plans, especially during this decade of urgent climate action.
A team of prominent climate experts from Future Earth, the Earth League, and the World Climate Research Programme created the report.
The United Nations is likely regretting their choice to appoint the leader of an oil company as the head of a climate conference.
Could this have been a major error or a clever strategy to reveal the true intentions of the fossil fuel industry amidst the petrochemical pollution in Dubai?
The leader of Cop28 must review reports on climate science.
Further criticism of Al Jaber’s statements, this time from a scientist who has contributed to multiple United Nations studies on the effects of global warming and methods to mitigate them, particularly beyond the 1.5°C threshold. Joeri Rogelj, a professor of climate science and policy at Imperial College London, stated:
The President of the COP does not believe that there is evidence to support the idea that fossil fuels must be gradually eliminated in order to reach a 1.5°C temperature increase. I highly suggest that he seeks out the most recent IPCC report. This report, which was unanimously approved by 195 countries including the UAE, outlines various methods for limiting warming to 1.5°C – all of which imply a gradual reduction of fossil fuels in the first half of the century.
“Could this potentially lead us back to the Stone Age? Definitely not, unless it’s just for seeking relief from a scorching heatwave. Recent research has revealed that eradicating extreme poverty has minimal effect on worldwide emissions. It is estimated that it will only contribute to less than 5% of emissions until 2050, and possibly as little as 0.5%.”
According to reports, the drought has resulted in over 200,000 cases of diarrheal disease due to reduced river levels resulting in poor water quality.
The organizers of Cop28 are revoking credentials and forcibly removing individuals. “I am at a loss for what to do, as nothing can excuse genocide. Climate justice cannot exist without social justice,” stated 33-year-old Monica Flores Hernandez of Climate Trace, a non-profit organization based in Puerto Rico.
The protest, which lasted an hour, was the biggest one yet during Cop28. It concluded in a similar manner to how it began, with organizers reading off the names of a small number of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli bombs since 7 October. As a journalist for the past 16 years, I have covered numerous protests, but I have never witnessed such an emotional response from the organizers, journalists, and participants. Rania Harrara, a Unicef youth advocate and member of the MENA feminist taskforce, reminded everyone that these names belong to real people with their own hopes and dreams. She urged everyone not to forget them.
The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) states that they will have a crucial part in guaranteeing the overall achievement of the treaty.
The updated text examines suggestions on how to incorporate forest conservation into the regulations for the carbon market, or if it should be left out.
After becoming functional, major polluting countries like the UK and Saudi Arabia will have the option to buy carbon credits from nations with significant carbon-storing areas like Brazil and Indonesia in order to fulfill their own domestic goals.
Companies are currently purchasing carbon credits in preparation for a potential emerging market. One company in the UAE has already entered into agreements for forested areas larger than the land mass of the UK.
Unfortunately, carbon markets are highly contentious and intricate aspects of global climate policies. There are concerns that lax regulations on determining carbon credits could lead to countries exchanging meaningless emissions reductions in order to fulfill their NDCs, while the Earth continues to heat up. On the other hand, there are also worries that overly strict rules could hinder the flow of climate finance.
One important issue to consider is which countries are permitted to engage in trade. If a country chooses not to extract oil, should they receive carbon credits? If a state undertakes significant reforestation efforts or helps electrify another country’s transportation system, how should this be measured? The list of potential concerns is extensive, and negotiators must find a solution.
Dr. Simon Evans from Carbon Brief has the most recent negotiating texts on carbon markets and a tracker to monitor their advancements, if you are interested in reading them.
Sultan Al Jaber, president of Cop28, has disputed the claim that there is no scientific evidence supporting the need to phase out fossil fuels in order to limit global warming to 1.5C.
Several other experts in the field of climate science are refuting Al Jaber’s statements, noting that he also holds a position as the leader of an oil corporation.
global temperatures from passing the point of no return. Seen from this perspective, the human race will be destroyed by greed and stupidity. The orcs win.
However, there is a more positive perspective to consider. In the past three decades, there has been a growing integration of environmental concerns into policy decisions. The adoption of net-zero targets, commitments to phase out fossil fuels, investments in renewable energy and electric vehicles, and the use of economic indicators beyond just growth are all indications of progress. In fact, in the field of economics, the most significant intellectual advancements since the end of the Cold War have been focused on environmentally-friendly concepts such as de-growth and the circular economy.
Check out Larry’s complete thoughts on Tolkien, capitalism, and industrialization in this article.
A large group of individuals, primarily dressed in white and representing various climate justice organizations, have gathered to demand a ceasefire at a Palestinian solidarity demonstration. According to UNFCCC regulations, flags and references to specific countries are not allowed. The event began with two young organizers reading the names of over 15,000 Palestinians who have been killed by Israel since October 7th, their voices filled with sorrow as they listed the names of innocent victims including infants, children, and the elderly. The atmosphere is peaceful yet impactful, with performances of poetry and clicking fingers to express emotions. “We stand here as a united movement to denounce the occupation, the apartheid, and the world’s silence,” stated Gina Cortés, an organizer from Colombia.
According to Asad Rehman, the creator and leader of the Global Campaign for Climate Justice based in the UK, individuals who advocate for climate justice have come together from various parts of the globe because they see the struggles of Palestinians, as well as black, brown, and indigenous communities, as reflections of their own past, present, and future. They witness the impact of colonization and the sacrifice of people and lands. Despite claims of limited funds for climate finance, Rehman criticizes the Western world for spending billions on weapons instead.