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COP28 Confronts Fossil Fuels During Hottest Year in Recorded History

Nov 30 2023 - 2023 is going to be the hotest year recorded on Earth for some 125,000 years.

September and October set shocking records for monthly global temperature highs.

We have witnessed devastating storms and floods.

Contrasted with extreme drought and wildfires.

The melting of Antarctic sea ice is accelerating.

Within the next decade, the Arctic risks total loss of late summer sea ice.

Drought and deforestation in the Amazon could turn the rainforest into a savannah.

At this point, our target of reducing gas emissions by 45% from 2010 levels is unachievable.

A roadmap to accelerate climate action is desperately needed when delegates for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP, meet again over the coming weeks.

But, instead of phasing out fossil fuels, big and wealthy nations are actually doing the opposite.

In the words of the UN Secretary General, they are “literally doubling down on fossil fuel production”.

In the top 10 countries responsible for carbon emissions, including the United States and Canada, India leads for coal, Saudi Arabia for oil and Russia for gas as well.

China, the world’s largest emiter of greenhouse gases, approved the equivalent of two new large coal plants a week in 2022.

In the best judgment of the scientists on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world has a “rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all”.

Their predictions are ominous: “The choices and actions implemented in this decade will have impacts now and for thousands of years”.

They said the same thing last year, but few listened then.

Cuts in emissions must be deep and immediate, and that is the crux of COP28.

Our leaders must phase out fossil fuels – and do so fast – for the sake of our future.

And as the IPCC Chair reminded everyone: “We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming.”

Either way, the trend is clear, and so are the actions needed.

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