World leaders will be gathering at Expo City, Dubai from Nov 30 to Dec 12 for the 28th annual United Nations (UN) climate meeting (COP28) to discuss how to limit and prepare for future climate change.
The COP28, or the 28th Conference of the Parties under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), hosted by United Arab Emirates this year, will look at ways to set global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial level, stipulated by the landmark Paris Agreement signed in 2015.
On Oct 31, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said in a Facebook post, he would lead a delegation to the World Climate Action Summit in December, to be held alongside COP28 in Dubai.
In June, Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad has reportedly said, Malaysia will focus on energy transition and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) at the COP28.
Besides that, the country will also be focusing on its preparation to execute matters relating to carbon markets, climate financing, biodiversity conservation and climate adaptation, he added.
During 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has called on developed countries to fulfil their commitment of mobilising US$100 billion annually to support the climate ambitions of developing nations
According to the Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (MGTCC), an agency under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC), Malaysia is expected to host a strong Malaysian delegation comprising more than 200 delegates, including ministers, government officers, subject matter experts, private sectors representatives, and other relevant organisations.
Malaysia will also have a presence through a dedicated Malaysia Pavilion, which will showcase Malaysia’s thought leadership and proposition to about 40,000 delegates expected to attend the global conference, it said in a statement.
Besides the usual cohort of dignitaries, diplomats and negotiators from 198 countries, also taking part will be scientists and representatives from conservation and environmental groups during the COP28.
“Malaysia is proud to showcase our unwavering commitment to climate action through the Malaysia Pavilion. It serves as more than just a physical structure; it stands as a tangible demonstration of Malaysia’s commitment and dedication to address climate change,” said Nik Nazmi at the recently held soft launch of the Malaysia Pavilion @ COP28.
Malaysia’s Pavilion at COP28 will be led by the NRECC and the MGTCC as the implementing agency.
EVERY DEGREE CELCIUS MATTERS
Since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, climate COPs have focused on its implementation and progress towards its aims of restricting global warming to ‘well below 2 degrees Celcius’ and ‘pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels.’
However, scientists have consistently raised concerns about the need to reduce global temperatures at every climate COP, as both natural and human systems are sensitive to climate warming to varying degrees.
Echoing this concern, Malaysian Society of Marine Sciences (MSMS) President Affendi Yang Amri emphasised that even a slight temperature increase can have a significant impact on the Earth’s ecosystem.
He said that “scientific evidence shows an average increase of one degree Celsius above local annual maximum seawater temperature levels would render more than 90 per cent of the world’s coral reefs unable to recover from increasingly frequent marine heatwaves.”
“Increased CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere is one of the causes of our changing climate and is problematic for coral reefs.
“The ocean acts as our carbon sink, absorbing 25 per cent of our CO2 emissions and 90 per cent of the heat generated from these emissions.
“Many people don’t realise that the ocean is a ‘silent hero’ in capturing the Earth’s heat, but right now, the ocean has reached its limit; sea temperatures are rising drastically, unconsciously affecting marine ecosystems, including coral reefs,” said the Universiti Malaya’s coral reef ecologist in a recent interview with Bernama.
Coral Reefs at Pulau Bidong
He explained that coral reefs are at the nexus of the climate, biodiversity, and food security crises, supporting communities, hosting a quarter of all marine species, and providing protein to an estimated of one billion people.
“The collapse of coral reefs on a global scale, predicted by scientists to occur by 2050 unless dramatic action is taken, would have a devastating, almost unthinkable impact on food security, livelihoods, and coastal protection.
“That’s why we as the scientists always appeal during every climate COPs not to allow a temperature increase beyond one degree, as every incremental rise poses a threat to the entire Earth’s ecosystem,” he said.
THE GLOBAL STOCKTAKE
A major focus of discussions at COP28 will be the first Global Stocktake, which is expected to be concluded in Dubai next month.
As a mechanism laid out under the groundbreaking Paris Agreement inked back in 2015, the Global Stocktake is an assessment of the collective progress of governments in achieving the long-term goals under the agreement, which is to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels, and to aim for a rise of only 1.5 degrees Celcius.
UN Climate Change executive-Secretary, Simon Stiell in a statement on Tuesday said the conclusion of the first global stocktake at COP28 is where nations can regain momentum to scale up their efforts across all areas and get on track with meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“The stocktake is intended to inform the next round of climate action plans under the Paris Agreement (known as nationally determined contributions, or ‘NDCs’) to be put forward by 2025, paving the way for accelerated action.
“Every fraction of a degree matters, but we are severely off track. COP28 is our time to change that and to show the massive benefits now of bolder climate action: more jobs, higher wages, economic growth, opportunity and stability, less pollution and better health,” he said.
Malaysia has set a target to cut carbon intensity against gross domestic product (GDP) by 45 per cent by 2030.
UN Global Compact Network Malaysia and Brunei executive director, Faroze Nadar said the recent technical dialogue synthesis report of the Global Stocktake assessment phase recently has been concluded and one of the highlights is that the global emissions are not in line with keeping warming to 1.5 degrees.
“Urgent and deep emissions reductions are required across the board. There is a rapidly narrowing window of action, and we cannot delay any further.
“Besides that, increased and transformational adaptation action as well as efforts to avert, minimise and address loss and damage are urgently needed to reduce and respond to the increasing impacts.
“Availability and access to support, particularly finance, remains a prime enabler for climate action, as well as enhancing cooperation across levels and sectors remains a priority for advancing the Paris Agreement,” he said during his speech of Global stocktake (GST) high level dialogue, in line with Asia Pacific Climate Week 2023 in Johor Bharu recently.
A major focus of discussions at COP28 will be the first Global Stocktake, which is expected to be concluded in Dubai next month
He said as the Global Stocktake is now in the political outcome component phase, by examining the outcomes of the technical dialogue synthesis report, the nations can identify gaps, best practices, and opportunities for improvement.
He urged all stakeholders to utilise this platform and deliberate on ‘What a strong and ambitious Global Stocktake outcome entails’.
“This platform is also crucial for defining and positioning the region to implement the global stocktake outcome, by sharing experiences, lessons and good practices.
“The outcome of the GST shall, inform and guide the Parties in updating and improving their NDCs, to allow for a correction of course, ratchet up the level of ambition, and enhance international cooperation for climate action,” he said.
Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) co-Focal Point, Lim Kai Sin said it is crucial to respect youth’s climate knowledge, passion and perspective, as well as to include youth participation in climate policies to bridge intergenerational gaps on this important international climate summit.
Lim will be representing MYD to COP28 in Dubai together with her counterparts – researcher Kieran Li Nair, and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia postgraduate student Yashirdisai Sampasivam to bring forth the voices of the Malaysian youth on this international platform.
She believes that youths have a vital role to play in the fight against climate change.
A group of youth from Fridays For Future (FFF) participated in Climate Strikes lead by climate activist, Greta Thunberg (fourth from right)
“It is very important to translate international climate issues into a local context to engage the Malaysian youth.
“As youth delegates, we must identify significant agenda issues pertinent to Malaysia and advocate for the benefits of our country while directing positive change.
“To secure a sustainable future, it is crucial that we continue building upon existing accomplishments, raising our voices to fight for revolutionary change,” she said, adding that her focus area will be on Just Transition and the Global stocktake during COP28.
The final year environmental engineering student of Harbin Institute of Technology hopes that COP28 will lay a strong foundation and provide a roadmap for all parties to deliver a commitment to a rapid and equitable phase-out of fossil fuel, while simultaneously setting clear and ambitious goals for renewable energy deployments and energy efficiencies.
Since 2015, the MYD has played an active role in supporting Malaysian youth delegates to COP as representatives.
MYD was founded in 2015 to represent Malaysia’s youth climate movement and raise awareness of climate policies among the public. It was recently appointed to the Climate Change Advisory Panel under the NRECC.
According to MYD, the COP28 delegates will follow the negotiations, co-host side events as well as network with stakeholders and provide social media followers with daily updates.