By Sazzad Haider
After much suspense and excitement, the climate conference COP 28 officially concluded in Dubai on 12 December 2023 with hope for the optimists and despair for the pessimists. In fact, it is difficult to term the achievement as neither ultimately successful nor ultimately unsuccessful.
Despite all these dramas, a hopeful decision has been made to phase out the use of fossil fuels by laying the ground for a swift, just and equitable transition, underpinned by deep emissions cuts and scaled-up finance. The conference agreed to reduce the production and consumption of such fossil fuels, achieving this is the primary requisite to attain net zero emissions by 2050.
The Cop 28 has signaled the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era. The conference also has taken up the world’s first ‘global stocktake’ to ratchet up climate action before the end of the decade with the overarching aim to keep the global temperature limit of 1.5°C within reach.
The global stocktake can now be used by countries to develop stronger climate action plans due by 2025.
The stocktake indicates global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut 43% by 2030, compared to 2019 levels, to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
In the short-term, Parties are encouraged to come forward with ambitious, economy-wide emission reduction targets, covering all greenhouse gases, sectors and categories and aligned with the 1.5°C limit in their next round of climate action plans (known as nationally determined contributions) by 2025.
The fossil fuel such as coal, oil, and natural gas, formed energy sources results in the production of global warming gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane.
The decision to give up using of fossil fuel has unveiled the milage for
new century, new high-tech industries and stretch out investment. The scientists, policymakers have emphasized the renewable such as solar energy as substitute of coal and other fossil fuels and are also cheaper.
The renewable energies are ensuring the real energy security, stable power prices and sustainable employment opportunities.
However, $4 trillion annually needs to be invested in renewable energy including technology and infrastructure until 2030 if we want to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Fossil-fuel subsidies are the biggest challenge for the world’s shift to renewable energy. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about $5.9 trillion was spent on subsidizing the fossil fuel industry in 2020 alone, including through explicit subsidies, tax breaks, and health and environmental damages that were not priced into the cost of fossil fuels. That’s roughly $11 billion a day.
Fossil fuel subsidies are both inefficient and inequitable. Across developing countries, about half of the public resources spent to support fossil fuel consumption benefits the richest 20 percent of the population, according to the IMF.
Introducing the renewable energy not only cuts emissions, it also contributes to the sustainable economic growth, job creation, better public health and more equality, particularly for the poor and most vulnerable communities around the world.
Undoubtedly, COP-28 has signaled the end of the ‘fossil fuel era’ that has prevailed for several centuries. Therefore, COP-28 can be described as the most productive climate conference ever held. Interestingly, this conference was successfully held in one of the world’s leading fossil fuel producing and refining country. But there will be many ups and downs in the effective end of fossil fuel era
After the information technology revolution, the renewable energy revolution is starting. Renewable energy sector is now waiting for technological development, huge investment and manpower.
It is expected that the corporate moguls investing in the fossil fuel sector will now rush to invest in the renewable energy sector and focus on making up for the loss of investment in the fossil fuel sector. If their tendency to soak up the damage is not curbed, renewable energy will be another burden for most people of the world.
About the author:
Sazzad Haider is a writer, journalist and filmmaker living in Bangladesh. He edits The Diplomatic Journal.