World leaders take stock of climate action plans at COP28 The disaster in Derna, Libya, was yet another example of what climate change is doing to the weather across the world (File Picture)

Kudzanai Sharara in Dubai, UAE

World leaders, including heads of state and governments as well as civic leaders, will gather here from Thursday until December 12 for the 28th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference Conference of The Parties (COP28).

The Conference of the Parties refers to the United Nations’ annual conference on climate change and this year it is being held for the 28th time with the first meeting having been held in Berlin in 1995 while Egypt hosted the 27th edition in Sharm El Sheikh last year.

Dubai will host this year’s event at Expo City.

Member states use this annual conference to assess progress in dealing with climate change and map the way forward.

The negotiating parties include governments that have signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The most known landmark action plans ever made at a COP meeting are the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

The Kyoto Protocol, ratified in 1997, is a landmark international treaty in which signatories agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and was in place for an extended period up to 2020.

The Paris Agreement or the Paris Climate Accords is an international treaty negotiated in 2015 at COP21.

Its agreement was to limit the increase of global temperatures to 2°C while pursuing efforts to stay within 1.5°C.

The target however has been elusive as temperatures continue to soar.

This year is already going down as the hottest on record, according to scientists.

 The year has been characterised by extreme weather from record Greek wildfires to Libyan floods.

Between July and September, multiple wildfires were recorded in Greece with temperatures going beyond 41.0 °C.

One of the blazes that the Greek government attributed to the “climate crisis” was described as the largest in the EU since 2000, when the European Forest Fire Information System (Effis) began recording data.

In September tropical Storm Daniel caused Libya’s deadliest flooding for over a century destroying homes, hospitals, roads and power lines. Thousands of people were reported dead while thousands more went missing.

Scientists at World Weather Attribution, a grouping supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies found that human-caused climate change made heavy rainfall in north-eastern Libya up to 50 times more likely to occur than it would have been in a world not experiencing human-caused climate change.

The scientists were quoted by Reliefweb saying there was up to 50 percent more intense rain than there would have been in a comparable rainstorm in a pre-climate change world.

Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was also quoted by Reliefweb saying:

“The disaster in Derna (Libya) is yet another example of what climate change is already doing to our weather. Obviously, multiple factors in Libya turned Storm Daniel into a human catastrophe; it wasn’t climate change alone. But climate change did make the storm much more extreme and much more intense and that resulted in the loss of thousands of lives.

“That should be a wake-up call for the world to fulfill the commitment on reducing emissions, to ensure climate adaptation funding and tackle the issues of loss and damage.”

With such climate-related calamities recorded across the globe, COP28 will feature the first-ever global stocktake (GST), which will provide a comprehensive assessment of progress since the Paris Agreement.

The GST takes place every five years for a two-year running period and the first one began at COP26 and will conclude at COP28.

Findings from the UN global stocktake synthesis report released in October this year indicate that the world is not on track to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

The objective of the global stocktake will thus be to align efforts on climate action, including measures to bridge the gaps in progress.

Hope is that parties at COP28 will come up with a roadmap to accelerate climate action.

COP28 will, however,  kick off with a World Climate Action Summit on December 1 and 2, which will convene heads of state and government alongside civil society leaders.

This unique-to-COP28 event is intended to serve as a platform for major announcements and build momentum for the rest of the summit.

Negotiators will also work on getting the loss and damage fund (established at COP27) up and running and agreeing on a framework for the Paris Agreement’s global goal on adaptation (GGA)

This year’s conference will also spotlight climate adaptation initiatives, as well as mitigation. These will fall under four key themes: health, water, food, and nature.

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