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The Global Stocktake at COP28 will serve as a crucial litmus test to assess the commitment of nations to the Paris Agreement. The extent to which politically significant outcomes emerge from this evaluation will determine whether countries adhere to the accord. It’s success hinges on countries intensifying their efforts to combat climate change and providing increased support, as well as presenting more ambitious national climate plans by 2025.

Moreover, at COP28, the adoption of new commitments that expedite crucial actions over the next decade will be paramount. This pivotal moment presents an unparalleled opportunity to avert catastrophic consequences and attain a future that is both brighter and safer.

Why is transformational change so urgent?

The global impact of deadly and financially burdensome climate disasters is reverberating across nations, endangering lives and disrupting livelihoods, cultures, infrastructure, and economies. However, the brunt of these crises is disproportionately borne by those who bear the least responsibility for their occurrence – children, women, indigenous communities, and individuals already marginalized due to poverty and systemic biases.

The Earth has already experienced a temperature increase of at least 1.1°C since pre-industrial times. Distressing floods and storms have displaced over 20 million people annually since 2008, while climate change is projected to plunge an additional 32-132 million individuals into extreme poverty within the next decade alone, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Regrettably, major economies and industries have persistently disregarded the scientific warnings, neglected their commitments to address climate change, and evaded calls for more ambitious action. The current trajectory of climate pledges places us on a course for a catastrophic 2.5°C of warming by the close of the century, with particularly dire consequences for vulnerable countries.

As far back as 1982, an internal memo from Exxon acknowledged that mitigating the greenhouse effect necessitated significant reductions in fossil fuel consumption. Despite this knowledge, subsequent years witnessed the funding of extensive campaigns to deny climate change by the very same entities.

Despite the blaring alarm bells and code reds, major emitters continue to pollute our skies, poison our oceans, and devastate our land and biodiversity. 

  • If nothing is changed, existing and planned fossil fuel infrastructure alone will emit enough carbon pollution to breach the 1.5°C temperature goal. (IPCC)
  • We have lost between 3 and 4 million hectares of primary tropical forests each year for the past two decades, including 3.75 million hectares in 2021. (GFW)

To achieve the transformation required to address the climate crisis we must pull levers across all sectors and go all-in to slash global emissions, boost climate finance, increase resilience and adaptive capacity and address vulnerabilities.

  • To help halve emissions by 2030, the world needs to (State of Climate Action):
    • Phase out unabated coal in electricity generation six times faster
    • Increase the share of EVs in in passenger car sales five times faster
    • Expand zero-carbon sources of electricity 6 times faster
    • Reduce the annual rate of deforestation 2.5 times faster
    • Scale up climate finance more than 10 times faster (reaching USD 5.2 trillion per year by 2030)

There is very little time left to course correct and avert total climate catastrophe. 

  • WRI’s State of NDCs report finds that if fully implemented, the latest round of countries’ NDCs will reduce 2030 emissions by 5.5 gigatons further than the initial round of climate commitments, which amounts to a 7% emissions cut from 2019 levels (WRI). But countries need to reduce emissions 6 times more this decade (by 43%) to keep the 1.5°C goal within reach (IPCC)

Available Solutions for a Safer, Greener World: A Reality?

The world has reached a pivotal moment where cost-effective climate solutions are no longer a distant dream but a tangible reality. The rapid decline in the cost of renewable energy technologies is a testament to this progress. For instance, since 2010, solar photovoltaic electricity costs have plummeted by an astounding 85%, while both onshore and offshore wind electricity costs have been slashed by approximately half (WRI). This remarkable trend paves the way for embracing these sustainable alternatives on a large scale.

In addition to the advancements in renewable energy, electric vehicles (EVs) have emerged as a compelling option, economically speaking. In many markets, EVs now compete favorably with their fossil fuel-powered counterparts in terms of cost (State of Climate Action). This affordability factor has the potential to drive a substantial shift towards cleaner transportation, reducing emissions and mitigating climate change.

Furthermore, the availability of existing adaptation options provides another avenue to significantly mitigate climate risks (IPCC). By implementing these measures, societies can proactively address the challenges posed by a changing climate, bolstering resilience and safeguarding vulnerable communities and ecosystems.

The upcoming Global Stocktake holds immense promise as a platform to capitalize on these readily available solutions, emphasizing the need for urgent and widespread implementation. It is crucial that we seize this opportunity, mobilizing resources, and accelerating the adoption of these solutions at an unprecedented pace. The time to act is now, as we collectively strive towards a safer and greener world