Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

14 Dec 2023

Some climate progress

Posted by Michael Keating

It was perhaps the best we could hope for. The 198 countries at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai agreed for the first time that the world has to transition away from fossil fuels by 2050 to stop the growing damage from climate change. Many countries wanted stronger language, such as an explicit commitment to phase out or even phase down fossil fuels. The final statement also called for global renewable energy to be tripled and the rate of energy efficiency improvements doubled by 2030. The reality is that emissions may keep increasing. More than 400 oil and gas projects were approved globally in the last two years based on data from Rystad Energy consultants.

Renewable energy is growing fast but fossil fuels, coal, oil and natural gas, still provide nearly 82 per cent of the world’s energy. Renewables, including hydro-electricity, provide just over 14 per cent of power while the remaining 4 per cent is from nuclear reactors, which emit no greenhouse gases. The annual conference on dealing with climate change came during the hottest year since accurate records began more than a century ago. Around the world tens of millions suffered from heat waves, drought, forest fires and floods. A warmer climate is causing the spread of tropical diseases. Previously, the UN’s IPCC climate expert panel has said emissions need to be slashed by 43 per cent this decade to limit global warming to 1.5C, the goal set at the Paris climate summit in 2015.

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