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COP28 - Burning coal, oil and gas - the culprits of climate change

COP28 - Burning coal, oil and gas - the culprits of climate change

Given the recent Ziegler One Knowledge Base Library article, (exclusively accessible to registered users), the commemoration of the MARPOL anniversary and the commencement of the U.N.'s COP28 summit, we decided to delve into the origins of climate change.  Through research, it becomes evident that there has been awareness of this issue as early as the 1800's.

Nevertheless, prior to delving into that, let's take a closer look at some of the key aspects as the COP28 summit commenced on Thursday, November 30, 2023:

  1. Global Stock take

  2. Food Security

  3. Loss and Damage Compensation

  4. Climate Finance

  5. Fossil Fuels

  6. The COP Presidency

  7. Carbon Capture and Storage

  8. Clean Energy Capacity

  9. Health

Two important aspects to closely monitor:

  • As the 70,000 delegates anticipated to participate in COP28 arrive in the vibrant Emirati city of Dubai, governments are gearing up for extensive discussions on the possibility of unanimously phasing out the global reliance on CO2-emitting coal, oil, and gas for the first time. The combustion of these fuels is the primary driver behind the phenomenon of climate change.

  • Considering the significance of finance in the ongoing discussions, the proposal put forth by the United Arab Emirates' COP28 presidency on the eve of the summit suggests the adoption of a new U.N. climate damage fund. This development has instilled a sense of optimism among certain delegates, who believe that this could potentially be one of the first agreements to be reached in Dubai.

Returning to the historical background of climate change:

1800s - During a period of approximately 6,000 years before the industrial era, global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) remained relatively stable at around 280 parts per million ("ppm"). However, it was during the 1890s that Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, conducted calculations to determine the temperature effect of doubling atmospheric CO2 levels. His findings demonstrated the direct correlation between burning fossil fuels and the subsequent warming of our planet. This groundbreaking research paved the way for a deeper understanding of the impact of greenhouse gases on our climate.

  • 1938 - Drawing upon historical weather data, British engineer Guy Callendar presents compelling evidence that temperatures are indeed increasing in tandem with rising CO2 levels, leading him to hypothesize a direct correlation between the two.

  • 1958 - American scientist Charles David Keeling embarked on a systematic measurement of CO2 levels at Hawaii's Mauna Loa Observatory. This groundbreaking endeavor resulted in the creation of the renowned "Keeling Curve" line graph, which vividly illustrates the continuous increase in CO2 concentrations over time.

The modern era of climate negotiations began in the late 20th century as concerns about the impact of human activities on the Earth's climate gained widespread recognition. Here is a brief overview of milestones in UN climate negotiations since their inception:

  • 1988 - The IPCC was established by the United Nations to evaluate scientific information on climate change, shaping international climate policy.

  • 1992 - The UNFCCC was adopted during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, establishing a framework for intergovernmental efforts to address climate change.

  • 1997 - The Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty, set emission reduction targets for developed countries, but the United States did not ratify it.

  • 2001- The Marrakech Accords were achieved during COP7 in Marrakech and offered the necessary guidance for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

  • 2009 - The COP15 summit in Copenhagen aimed to generate a global climate agreement but fell short of a legally binding treaty. Instead, the Copenhagen Accord outlined voluntary emission reduction targets and offered financial aid to developing nations.

  • 2010 - During the COP16 summit in Cancun achieved advancements, including establishing the Green Climate Fund to aid developing countries in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

  • 2015 - The COP21 summit in Paris resulted in a momentous agreement known as the Paris Agreement. This groundbreaking agreement aimed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement included commitments from both developed and developing countries.

  • 2018 - During COP24 in Katowice, the international community adopted the Katowice Climate Package. This package consists of detailed guidelines that outline the implementation of the Paris Agreement, including rules pertaining to reporting and transparency.

  • 2019 - The UN Climate Action Summit, which took place in New York, had the primary goal of mobilizing political will and fostering increased ambition in addressing climate change. This summit served as a crucial precursor to the 25th COP held in Madrid.

  • 2021 - COP26 in Glasgow was a pivotal event for countries to strengthen their dedication in tackling climate change. The summit placed a strong emphasis on crucial aspects such as climate finance, adaptation measures, and initiatives to curb global temperature rise.

In conclusion, international climate negotiations are ongoing, and future COP meetings will continue to play a crucial role in advancing global efforts to address climate change. The history outlined here provides a comprehensive overview of major milestones in the development of international climate policy, highlighting the progress from the initial recognition of the issue to the establishment of key agreements and commitments.

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