This year, in 2023, the Conference on Climate Change took place in Dubai, a global gathering addressing crucial challenges for our planet. This event not only focuses on environmental preservation but is also deeply embedded in the heart of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Efforts are already underway to facilitate the transition toward a more sustainable, egalitarian, technological, and innovative future, where work and production methods will change forever. The ultimate goal is to transform cities into "Smart Cities."
After days of debates and negotiations, it is the first time that explicit discussions have taken place regarding the tangible transition and future elimination of fossil fuels, with a projected shift towards 2050. "The transition to abandon fossil fuels in energy systems, fairly, orderly, and equitably, accelerating action in this critical decade to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050."
Various politicians have expressed their views, arguing that while this agreement represents a significant step forward, it is not a definitive victory on the finish line. The agreements are not binding or obligatory per se, depending heavily on awareness in private and public sectors, as well as cooperation between them. The role of new companies presenting sustainable production methods will be crucial, as well as consumer awareness.
In Germany, there are already applications where consumers can search for each product's brand to understand its origin and production conditions, promoting conscious consumption. Synergistic work between the public and private sectors will be necessary to carry out this transition. Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, emphasized that this result in Dubai marks the beginning of the end of the era of fossil fuels.
Danish Climate Minister, Dan Jørgensen, acknowledged the irony of being in an oil-rich country advocating for moving away from oil. However, he also noted that the transition will take time and require preparation to face the climate consequences. U.S. Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, announced the intention to update long-term strategies based on initiatives established in the Global Balance.
Chinese Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Zhao Yingmin, underscored that climate action must combine ambition and pragmatism. UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared that the gradual elimination of fossil fuels is inevitable, urging action before it's too late, given the ongoing reality of climate catastrophes.
What was specifically agreed upon? According to the official UN page:
The Loss and Damage Fund to help vulnerable developing countries cope with climate change came to life on the first day of COP, with commitments totaling $3.5 billion to replenish the Green Climate Fund's resources.
Over $150 million was allocated to the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund.
The World Bank will increase by $9 billion annually to finance climate-related projects in 2024 and 2025.
These three points are crucial, providing a real source of funding to address this social issue in underdeveloped countries like Argentina. There is a significant opportunity to establish collaborations between the public/private university sector, research areas, provincial representatives, and international organizations to receive funding.
Nearly 120 countries supported the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health, accelerating actions to protect people's health from growing climate impacts.
Over 130 countries joined the COP28 Declaration on Agriculture, Food, and Climate, supporting food security while combating climate change. Agriculture was a point of tension, especially for Latin American countries, due to the EU's new framework seeking to ensure that exports do not cause deforestation. Argentina, being an agro-exporting country, needs to develop projects from agricultural engineering.
66 countries committed to reducing refrigeration-related emissions by 68% from today, although this is not binding or obligatory.
COP28 has finally focused on the true culprits of the climate crisis: fossil fuels. The aim is to eliminate coal, oil, and gas from the production system. However, the countries responsible for 80% of global pollution, such as the U.S., China, and Europe, continue this production without limits or control.
Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Policy Strategy for the Climate Action Network, argued from a realistic and raw perspective about what this meeting represented. He pointed out that the resolution has legal loopholes that offer the fossil fuel industry numerous escape routes, relying on untested and unsafe technologies. Additionally, he highlighted the hypocrisy of rich nations, expanding fossil fuel operations while talking about the green transition.
Developing countries still dependent on fossil fuels are left without solid guarantees of adequate financial support in their "urgent and equitable transition to renewable energy." Although COP28 recognized the financial deficit to address climate impacts, the final results fall disappointingly short of compelling rich nations to meet their financial responsibilities.
This leaves much to reflect on the exploitation by developed countries, the massive destruction they caused, and the vulnerability of the poorest and least developed countries in the face of the environmental crisis.
What role does Argentina play in the context of COP28?
Argentina will remain within the Paris Agreement during Javier Milei's current presidency. Under this agreement, the country committed not to exceed net emissions of 349 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) by 2030. The real challenge lies in reducing fossil fuels and agro-industrial emissions in terms of mitigation.
Fossil fuels represent around 60% of electricity generation in Argentina, a percentage intended to be reduced to 35% by 2030 through the expansion of renewable energies, according to the Transition Energy Plan presented this year. The energy sector is responsible for 45% of the country's emissions. Argentina needs to focus exclusively on the agro-export and electrical sectors, investing in academic research to present solution projects and obtain funding from the World Bank and the Fund.
In conclusion, it is necessary to generate international collaboration, seek international support to implement mitigation and adaptation measures, conserve forests and use soil sustainably, promote and develop clean technologies and renewable energies, and invest in knowledge and education to propose projects that highlight Argentina internationally on this issue through innovative proposals.
Bachelor of International Relations, Victoria Lujan Garimaldi.
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