Will COP28 be “yet another climate conference” or the conference that makes the difference? This question was addressed by Professor of Environmental and Climate Physics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Constantinos Cartalis, in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency released on Sunday.
Cartalis, who is a member of the European Scientific Advisory Board for Climate Change, noted that COP28 was officially the largest climate conference ever held, while 2023 was the warmest year on record and the warnings from the scientific community about global warming were becoming ever more urgent.
He noted that the conference was taking place against a backdrop of negative developments and statistics, such as the recent UN report showing delays in the implementation of national plans for reducing emissions, including by the world’s 20 largest and fastest-growing economies.
“Unless this is reversed, this will lead to a temperature increase of 3C within the current century,” Cartalis warned, noting that there had been an increase in emissions that set a new record in 2022, while 2023 looks set to end with yet another, though smaller, increase.
Cartalis also reported record levels of subsidies for fossil fuels by numerous states in 2023, creating conditions that risked the locking in of investments that should have long ago been phased out, while several countries had lifted restrictions on fossil fuel extraction, leading to another rise in emissions.
He said COP28 should, among others, end with a strong message for greater energy efficiency and faster assimilation of renewables, clear commitments to abolish subsidies and to phase out fossil fuels by 2050, as well as stricter targets to make up for the lost time and keep the temperature rise below 1.5C.