Dubai, Dec 7 (IANS): To help the world get on a path that ensures the global temperature rise is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius as per Paris temperature goal, at least 40 nations presented a new strategy to coordinate its climate foreign policy efforts across several sectors.
The governments unveiled the long-anticipated initiatives to drive climate action in cities, spanning buildings, waste, transport, water, and nature as the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) that is taking place in Dubai enters the second week with countries must prioritize ending the fossil fuel era.
Over 40 ministers have met during the COP28 Multilevel Action, Urbanization, Built Environment and Transport Day, held in partnership with United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion.
The announcements include the 'Cement and Concrete Breakthrough' and 'Buildings Breakthrough' -- part of the broader suite of 'Breakthroughs' from COP26 in Glasgow and COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh -- which mobilize governments to finance solutions that are critical to healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable human settlements.
Other announcements include a tool for tracking and measuring methane emissions from waste, which is set to go live in 20 global megacities, and a tool to enable policymakers to measure the benefits of 15-minute cities.
These announcements build on commitments made during the Local Climate Action Summit (LCAS) held at the beginning of COP28, which saw more than 60 countries launch the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships for Climate Action (CHAMP) initiative and announce nearly $$500 million in climate finance for urban infrastructure.
The central objective of the 2015 Paris Agreement is its long-term temperature goal to hold global average temperature increase to "well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels".
The landmark accord calls for governments to adopt national plans to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. "Meeting the aims of the Paris Agreement and keeping 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach depends on the leadership and support of the world’s mayors and governors," Sultan Al Jaber, the COP28 President, said.
"That is why at COP28 we have empowered leaders and communities by launching CHAMP and working with organizations like UN-Habitat and Bloomberg Philanthropies to recognize and support the important roles cities and their leaders can play in addressing climate change."
The outcomes of Wednesday include: The Buildings Breakthrough, launched with the support of 27 countries, is led by France and Morocco.
The partnership aims to make 'near-zero and resilient buildings' the new normal by 2030, addressing the fact that the building sector alone accounts for nearly 40 per cent of global energy-related CO2 emissions, 50 per cent of extracted materials, and one-third of global waste.
The Cement and Concrete Breakthrough was launched by Canada and the COP28 host UAE, along with an inaugural cohort of endorsing countries that include Britain, Ireland, Japan and Germany. The initiative strives to make clean cement the preferred choice in global markets, with near-zero emission cement production established and growing in every region of the world by 2030.
The Waste to Zero initiative is a voluntary coalition made up of governments of all levels, NGOs, and the private sector to decarbonize the waste management sector and transform waste into resources. It’s an official initiative under the UAE’s 'Year of Sustainability' and spearheaded by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), Abu Dhabi Waste Management Company (Tadweer), and Roland Berger.
For cities, which are producing more than 70 per cent of emissions, C40, a network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities, is increasing actions to accelerate the adoption of the 15-minute City (15MC) -- highly liveable, walkable, and people-oriented cities.
The Green and Thriving Neighborhoods programme created in collaboration with Urban Partners provides deep support to more than 40 cities to help them turn the 15MC into reality through the implementation of concrete pilot projects.
C40 also launched a tool to measure the impacts of 15MC with Novo Nordisk. The Healthy Neighborhoods Explorer, created with Novo Nordisk’s Cities will enable policymakers to measure how 15MCs significantly reduce emissions and offer residents better health.
"By building resilience in cities, we can really trigger a process which will help all of us to live a more sustainable life," says Simone Sandholz from United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS).
At the COP28, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patrica Scotland, has launched a toolkit to help governments rapidly decarbonise their oil and gas sectors and implement strategies to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The Field Development Plan (FDP) Toolkit adopts a project-based approach for countries to expedite well-known decarbonisation solutions.
These include avoiding flaring and venting, methane leaks, use of renewable energy, improved efficiency, and carbon capture.
Speaking at an event on the margins of COP28, the Secretary-General said: "We need to inject urgency into our actions to deliver the drastic emissions reductions required to avert the catastrophic consequences of climate change. "Rapid decarbonisation in the oil and gas sector is technically feasible and by using the new toolkit, governments can take action in a relatively short-time span."
Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change (UNFCCC), Simon Stiell, was categorically clear in saying on Wednesday that at the end of the “next week, we need COP28 to deliver a bullet train, to speed up climate action.
"We can only overcome the climate crisis by ditching business-as-usual."
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)