This week remained elusive in terms of the new developments in the global affairs. Announcement of ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war last week generated a hope that this temporary ceasefire could eventually result in calling off the ongoing war. Though the ceasefire continued, the war does not seem to be ending any sooner. On the other hand, if wars were not enough to increase the tensions of the global leaders, the UN weather agency has now warned about the extreme climatic changes that the world could experience in the next couple of years while declaring 2023 as the hottest year on record. The UN’s COP28 climate summit startedin Dubai this weekto discuss climate change and find effective strategies to mitigate this critical global issue. Why the leaders are still not understanding the related repercussions; and why they are not able to understand the magnitude of this critical issue remain a pertinent question.
Thankfully, Israel and the Hamas militant group have further agreed to extend the ceasefire. The ceasefire was extended after Israeli government was given a list of women and children for release. This much needed extension in the humanitarian hiatus in the war would allow the release of more hostages, and provide a prospect to both sides to think through if they can stop the war. Though momentary, this ceasefire brings a sigh of relief for many who are suffering immeasurably in the war.
Global Leaders Convene at COP28 in Dubai for Climate Solutions
Wars could be an inevitable reality for the realists; however, the solutions can be found through multilateral efforts as the liberals suggest. In this multilateral, multi-polar world, nations at least stand together for some critical issues such as climate change. The UN’s Climate Change Conference, COP28, started in Dubai this week where various stakeholders are set to discuss strategies and solutionsto alleviate climate change.
COP or ‘Conference of the Parties’ is an initiative that was started in 1995 in Germany with COP1. ‘Parties’ are basically the governments that have signed the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC). The annual COP summits involve the participation of these signatory governments to discuss and find out comprehensive solutions to address the global challenge of climate change. From COP1 to COP28, the member nations have travelled a long journey to find comprehensive solutions for climate change.
In past few COP conferences, it was experienced that be it about the climate finance, or about contributing stringently towards the net-zero emission target through national policies for climate change containment, there seems to be a divide between the developed and the developing nations. While the developing nations are given ambitious targets, the mighty nations need to work actually on the objectives related to climate change containment holistically for being the biggest emitters of Carbon in the world, historically. A classic example is the US.
The US is the biggest carbon emitter country in the world. Despite being a global power and a highly developed nation, it is facing the looming threat against its survival today because of the continuous rise in temperature. It has become mandatory for the US to achieve the objective of net-zero emissions and minimize its carbon footprint. US has been working as one of the forerunners on the global agenda of climate change containment. However, it was observed that Trump administration preferred business over sustainability and took many such decisions that debilitated the efforts of the US towards climate change containment. One such decision that shocked the world was to exit from the Paris Agreement. Although it was reversed when Biden took oath as the new President of the US.
The major powers have their own preferences, priorities and difference of opinion on COP, and for that matter the overall strategy of climate change containment. On the other hand, the emerging powers like India, Brazil and China have also expressed their concerns over areas such as climate finance and their emission goals. Here seems a divide between the global North and South that needs to be taken care of.
Basically, collaboration is the key to get the solutions. However, this can be achieved only when the rivalry among the nations can be at least parked, if not be eliminated completely, keeping the prioritized global objectives such as climate change containment in view. Considering each other’s priorities and compulsions to come up with a collaborative model would be ideal, but knowing the nature of dynamic global politics, and individual national interests, major as well as emerging powers can contribute individually to fulfil the prioritized goals of COP. For example, if countries like the US, Japan, Russia, Britain and so on fulfil the financial goal related to climate finance set during COP, many developing and underdeveloped nations would be able to contribute effectively towards achieving the aim of net-zero emissions by agreed timeframe. Working in the direction of carving a collective and collaborative pathway is the key to the success of COP. Hope at least on this particular issue, the world stands united.
(The author is Professor, School of International Studies, JNU).