Delegates attend COP28 at Expo City Dubai Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

The world leaders and stakeholders are meeting in Dubai for COP28. This time, the expectations of this international event are different and more realistic. They are based on the data of the first-ever global stocktake, which will show the progress and gaps of the countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

According to Simon Stiell, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, the latest IPCC report shows that the global average temperature has already increased by 1.1°C or 1.2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, and that the world is on track for about 2.5°C of warming by the end of the century even with current pledges to reduce emissions. He also said that the global emissions need to be reduced by 43% by 2030 to achieve the 1.5°C goal.

However, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released a report that the current carbon-cutting policies are so inadequate that 3°C of global heating is likely to be reached this century. In order to get on track for a 1.5°C increase as aimed by the Paris Agreement, more than 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent must be cut from the projected total by 2030.

More op-eds by Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi

This tonnage represents about 42% of global emissions and is equivalent to the output of the world’s five worst polluters. The UN Secretary General warned several times that the present trend is pushing the world into a serious global warming and a hellish future.

He also called upon leaders to upgrade their commitment during the ongoing COP28 and start serious discussions and solid actions. Therefore, COP28 can make a huge difference in giving the future a positive option.

An attendee inside a panel session on day three of the COP28 climate conference at Expo City in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.
An attendee inside a panel session on day three of the COP28 climate conference at Expo City in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Some of the ways that COP28 can consider in order to avoid the hellish scenario of 3°C of global warming are:

• Fast-tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030, by promoting the use of renewable energy sources and pushing for alternative resources and materials to improve the conservation of the existing resources. Also, improving the energy efficiency and conservation should be an integral part of any discussion and negotiation.

• Delivering money for climate action from richer countries, and specifically those countries that caused the global warming that the globe is fighting today, to the most vulnerable and least developed countries.

• Focusing on nature and people by restoring and protecting the ecosystem and biodiversity and enhancing the resilience of communities and livelihoods. Also, addressing the loss and damage caused by climate impacts.

• Engaging people as active participants and empowering all stakeholders, particularly youth, women, indigenous people, and civil society as a whole.

These are some ways that COP28 can make a difference and help the world to achieve the Paris Agreement goals and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The UN must also engage research institutions, innovation centers, and scientists, in order to evaluate the causes of climate warming, and also the activities that have the potential of warming up our atmosphere.

Also, investigating the possibility of heat exchange between the atmospheric layers. Science has always been the tool of development and innovation, and can be the final source of solutions.

Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi is a former UAE minister of Infrastructure Development and for Climate Change and Environment