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Climate Ambition Summit 2023 Seeks New, Tangible And Credible Climate Action


The UN’s push for the global-level climate summit seeks to achieve breakthrough in the ambitious target of limiting global temperature rise by 1.5 degree Celsius by the target year 2050 and possibly a complete halt to GHG emissions by the target year 2100.


By Salam Rajesh

At the close of last year, United Nations secretary-general António Guterres announced an ambitious ‘Climate Ambition Summit’ to be held later in September this year, with the expressed focus on generating “new, tangible and credible climate action” to “accelerate action at the mid-way point” of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Climate Ambition Summit will convene alongside the SDG Summit which is also slated for September 2023.

Taking another step forward, Guterres stressed that the UN would also push for a ‘Climate Solidarity Pact’ which would take to task ‘all big emitters’ to “make an extra effort” in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions keeping in track with the 1.5 degree Celsius goal, and to provide support for all those who need it.

Big-time ‘emitters of GHG’ have usually been referred to the industrialized nations as in the United States, and several European countries that are primarily being held responsible by the world community for the extensive use of fossil-fuel to feed the industrial setups, and the establishments of large scale commercial farming, ranching, and plantations that are seen as important sources of GHG emissions.

Industries and big-time companies that are engaged in oil and natural gas exploration and exploitation, mining, commercial plantations, and cattle ranching in huge scales, are primarily seen as the defaulters in contributing towards the escalation in the level of pollution globally, ultimately leading to rise in the heat stress worldwide.

Heat stress is already a big problem in many parts of the world, and several nations including South Asian countries are already in the grip of heat wave with lives already lost as temperatures soar beyond 40 degree Celsius in the several parts of India, with the northeastern parts of the country not an exception to this process. Schools in Tripura and West Bengal shut down for a week due to the persisting heat wave.

The UN’s push for the global-level climate summit seeks to achieve breakthrough in the ambitious target of limiting global temperature rise by 1.5 degree Celsius by the target year 2050 and possibly a complete halt to GHG emissions by the target year 2100.

Urging leaders from governments, businesses, cities and regions, civil society, and finance to actively take part in the summit, Guterres stressed that, “They must pay a non-negotiable price of entry in the form of credible, serious and new climate action and nature-based solutions that will move the needle forward and respond to the urgency of the climate crisis. There will be no room for back-sliders, green washers, blame-shifters or repackaging of announcements of previous years”.

The UN’s secretary-general while highlighting the establishment of a new funding proposal at the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, last year, pointed out that the fund would provide assistance to developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in responding to “Loss and Damage”.

Determined to make 2023 a year for peace and action, to advance the SDGs, address inequalities, and ‘deliver a livable planet to our children and grandchildren’, Guterres noted that, “Geopolitical divides have made global problem solving ever more difficult. The cost-of-living crisis, growing inequalities, and skyrocketing debt service payments have made life miserable for many, but this is not a time to sit on the sidelines. This is a time for resolve, determination, and hope”.

Douglas Broom writing for the Reuters in 2021 observed that, “Global sea levels are rising and some of the world’s greatest cities could be underwater by the end of the century, if action to protect them is not taken quickly”.

Broom’s reflection finds some truth in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s recent forecast that by the end of this century, sea levels could be as much as 1.1 metres high than they are today and severe flooding events will become a regular occurrence in low-lying cities.

The threat of sea level rising and low-lying countries going under water steadily had caused nations to press the alarm-button, and many nations are already looking for the means to tackle this issue. For instance, Indonesia is reported to be gradually shifting its national capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan which is ‘safer’. Jakarta is reported to be ‘sinking’ steadily with each passing year, and so is the problem with Venice in Italy and the Sundarbans in Bangladesh.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2020 had fairly warned that because of the faster than predicted melting of polar ice caps, the number of people vulnerable to rising sea levels – 190 million – was three times higher than the previous estimate. At this estimated figure the risks to human lives is enormously huge, and the threat extends to losses in properties and other assets which could turn millions homeless and render them steep in poverty.

The threats on the ground is high, and it is for this one pervasive reason why the United Nations seeks to push through with a global consensus on meeting the climate deadlines, or face certain deaths and destruction due to ‘climate change impacts’, albeit the human-induced climate change.

Broom reflected in his reporting that, “Climate change poses an urgent threat demanding decisive action. Communities around the world are already experiencing increased climate impacts, from droughts to floods to rising seas. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report continues to rank these environmental threats at the top of the list”.

“To limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, it is essential that businesses, policy-makers, and civil society advance comprehensive near- and long-term climate actions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change”.

That precisely is what Guterres is also referring to on his push for the Climate Ambition Summit in September later this year, hoping to secure the world community’s commitment on a targeted push to achieve the common goal of limiting the ever rising global temperature, a threat that is already impacting lives and properties around the world today.

(The writer looks at environmental stories through the journalistic lens. He can be reached at [email protected])

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