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COP28: Opportunity or Disillusionment?

In a world where climate crises are increasingly evident, COP28 faces a significant responsibility: will the decisions made here truly open the door to a sustainable future, or will inconsistencies and ambiguities lead to stagnation?

As leaders and delegates from around the world converge in Dubai, the twenty-eighth United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) has sparked both expectations and questions.

This year's designation as the "Food COP" marks a significant step toward including food systems in climate change discussions. However, the notable presence of major players in the agricultural industry raises questions about the true direction of the conversations. The proposed solutions focus on strategies that do not contradict the industrial agriculture and livestock model, while calling for a just transition. It seems that corporate power is overshadowing small farmers, fishermen, and indigenous communities, essential for an equitable transition.

Once again, the strategy of "multipartisanship" has been uncovered, where corporations play a role in climate decision-making. COP28 is affected by the presence of economic interests that could hinder the implementation of specific actions. Is real climate action taking precedence, or are commercial narratives seeking to escape stricter regulations being allowed?

It is positive that Spain commits to the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA); however, concerns arise about the lack of clarity in the COP28 document regarding oil and gas. The absence of specific references to these fossil fuels creates a void in climate intentions. Is a commitment to the progressive reduction of fossil fuels being avoided? Unclear interpretations could hinder climate action and undermine the impact of seemingly beneficial commitments.

The lack of certainty regarding the reduction of all fossil fuels, according to scientist Joeri Rogelj, raises significant concerns. COP28 faces the task of issuing a precise statement on the future of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. The fact that only coal-fired power generation is eliminated without reduction raises questions about compatibility with a low-carbon future. Are political ambiguities clouding the science? Lack of precise definitions could allow vague interpretations that may be detrimental to climate change.

Activist demonstrations emphasize the importance of more courageous and transparent climate measures. COP28 is surrounded by over 2,400 advocacy groups, yet there is concern about the presence of those attempting to weaken the Paris Agreement rather than strengthen it. Criticism arises over the analogy of inviting the tobacco industry to a lung cancer conference: are those opposing climate goals being allowed to influence decisions?

The 2023 UNEP Emissions Gap Report has dampened expectations of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. According to projections, the temperature will increase between 2.5 and 2.9 degrees Celsius. An unavoidable question is whether the discussions at COP28 are truly addressing the magnitude of the challenge we face due to the mismatch between the goals of the Paris Agreement and reality.

A recent Oxfam report reveals an uncomfortable truth: the wealthiest 10% in the world is responsible for 50% of carbon emissions, while the poorest half contributes only 7%. Although emitting the least, they suffer the most. This imbalance raises significant questions regarding global cooperation and the importance of gradually phasing out fossil fuels. Are climate inequality and the risks faced by the poorest countries being adequately addressed during negotiations?

The focus on "financing deficits" at COP28 is being critically reviewed. Besides the lack of funds, what truly exists is inadequate allocation and outdated perceptions of risk and profitability. Since the Paris Agreement, the world's top 60 banks have invested $5.5 trillion in the fossil fuel industry, a fact contradicting the climate crisis. Are true financial inequalities being addressed, and are investments with a negative impact on the environment being hindered?

Although COP28 focuses on energy transition and adaptation, proposals and policies must go beyond empty words. The creation of a loss and damage fund at COP27 is a significant step forward; however, doubts exist about which countries can receive financial aid, and there are no concrete examples. It is clear that robust structures for a fair transition, both globally and nationally, do not seem to be established, and grandiloquent words may remain just that—words without tangible actions.

In a world where the consequences of the climate crisis are increasingly apparent, COP28 holds significant responsibility. Will the decisions made in this place truly open the door to a sustainable future, or will inconsistencies and doubts lead to stagnation? Each decision made in Dubai will have a significant impact in the coming decades due to its importance and urgency. The hope lies in COP28 leaving a legacy of real climate actions, not just words, beyond headlines and promises.

While COP28 presents itself as a crucial occasion, inconsistencies and questionable business tactics generate uncertainty about the true intention behind the negotiations. As the world hopes this conference marks a significant shift in the direction of global climate action, the need for clear decisions based on science and not on individual interests becomes more urgent than ever.

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