Go Green: Understanding the Importance of COP28

By Tom Last

Some of you might have noticed there has been some mention of COP28 in the news lately.  However, with everything that is going on in the world, it has not garnered as much attention in the media as it normally would receive at this time. But what is COP28 and why should we care? Well, because it is something that significantly affects all of us.

From November 30 to December 12, representatives from nearly 200 countries attended the Conference of Parties (COP28) organized by the United Nations and held in Dubai this year. Basically, every country in the world is represented at the COP28, including 30,00 delegates, 70,000 overall attendees from government officials, business leaders, consumers and even gas and oil industry executives. Many COP28 executives feel the fossil fuel lobbyists have no place in the climate negotiations, as these climate arsonists cannot be trusted to help put out the fire or deliver what is needed to fight climate change, as they continue to reap the billions in profits related to the fossil fuel industry.

These conferences have been occurring annually since 1995 and the main goal of the COPs is to take action to limit greenhouse emissions and reduce global warming. A key goal that was established at the COP of 2015 in Paris was to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (or 2.7 Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial temperatures. Why is limiting the global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius important? Because scientists have warned that temperatures at and above that level will cause the most disastrous climate conditions such as scorching temperatures, punishing droughts, and more extreme storms (e.g., hurricanes, cyclones, flooding caused by atmospheric rivers, etc.). Already, it seems we cannot turn on the news these days without some report of a climate catastrophe event. Think about how much these disasters are costing our economy now and how much more it will cost in the future.

Here are some of the key themes of this year’s COP28 and their meaning.

  • Discussing the progress made since the Paris 2015 COP
  • Fast tracking the move to clean energy sources (e.g., solar, wind, biomass, geothermal) to slash greenhouse emissions before 2030.
  • Delivering money for climate action from richer to poorer countries and working on a new deal for developing nations.
  • Making COP28 the most inclusive ever.
  • Focusing on nature and people.

The importance of COP28 and achieving its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions cannot be understated especially with this last September being the warmest recorded month globally by ‘The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’ (NOAA) in the long history of it recording global temperatures. The September recording was no anomaly as the 2023 temperature overall is the highest ever recorded and this year will most likely end as the warmest year on record. In addition, scientists have projected a future temperature increase of well above 1.5 degrees Celsius. Therefore, we need the COP to be successful now more than ever to ensure a livable world for your grandchildren or your future grandchildren.

If you want to do your part in fighting climate change, then try to put into action some of the following.

  • Plant a tree on your property or donate one through the Nature Conservancy (Plant a Billion).
  • Switch to energy saving lightbulbs (LEDs).
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and shaving.
  • Reduce your ‘meat’ intake, especially beef, and go vegetarian as often as possible. Try not to waste food.
  • Drive less, use mass transit, carpool, bike and walk more.

By following these simple steps outlined above, you will reduce your carbon footprint and help the world avoid reaching the global warming temperate increase of 1.5 Celsius. Let’s all do our part NOW.

Remember there is no Planet B!

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