COP28: a rundown of the event so far

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Pressure is piling at COP28, currently taking place in Dubai, coming off the back of an intense year full of protests and very polarising statements.

One of the most poignant quotes was from the UN Chief António Guterres’ who said we are in “the era of global boiling” which is now being plastered over banners and signs as they circle Expo City, all of them fearing the worst.  

European Union scientists have announced that 2023 would be the warmest year on record, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said that November had become the sixth record-breaking month in a row. 

To add fuel to the fire, C3S claimed that November contained two days that were two degrees warmer than pre-industrial levels and that not one such day had ever been recorded in history.  

Samantha Burgess, deputy head of C3S, said: “2023 has now had six record-breaking months and two record-breaking seasons.

“The extraordinary global November temperatures, including the two days that exceeded two degrees above pre-industrial, mean that 2023 is the warmest year in recorded history.”  

C3S director Carlo Buontempo added: “As long as greenhouse gas concentrations keep rising, we can’t expect different outcomes from those seen this year.

“The temperature will keep rising and so will the impacts of heatwaves and droughts.” 

The COP28 president, Sultan Al-Jaber, cast doubt on the effectiveness of eliminating fossil fuels to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.  

Al Jaber is the chief executive of Adnoc which is the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company. 

In response, the UN’s Mary Robinson, who spoke directly to Al Jaber, asked him to commit to phasing out fossil fuels.

She said that cracking down on fossil fuels “is the one decision the Cop28 can take and in many different ways.

“Because you’re head of Adnoc, you could actually take it with more credibility.”

Al Jaber responded and said: “I’m not in any way signing up to any discussion that is alarmist”

“There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuels is what is going to achieve 1.5C”  

He continued saying: “Show me the roadmap for a phase-out of fossil fuels that will allow for sustainable socioeconomic development unless you want to take the world back into caves.”  

The fallout from this year’s heatwaves is starting to create a cause for concern as record-breaking wildfires have occurred all over the Northern Hemisphere according to a report released by C3S.  

In Canada, which broke the record in late June for wildfire smoke emissions released in a single year, wildfires began raging in May and continued to burn for five months, according to ABC News.  

Last month, roughly 120 dolphins died in the Amazon River from extremely hot waters which hit 36 degrees Celsius.

The Mamirauá Institute in a statement said that the mass death was “certainly connected to the drought period and high temperatures.”  

Sultan Al Jaber has called for a “phase down” in fuel usage, meaning a reduction over time, but not a complete end but, the EU and other groups are expected to continue to push for a full “phase out.”  

As it currently stands recent estimates suggest the world is currently on track for about 2.4C to 2.7C of warming by 2100, although the exact numbers are uncertain. 

A report by the UN Environment Programme claimed that there are already more fossil fuels currently being extracted than could ever be burned if the world is to limit warming to 1.5C.  

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