Dr Sally Uren, CEO at international sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, outlines what she wants to see at COP28 – and what needs to happen in order for it to be a success.
What am I hoping will come out of COP28, and what am I expecting to see? Firstly, agreement of the mechanics of the ‘Loss and Damage’ fund. It’s critical that rich nations that have already emitted a disproportionate share of carbon now channel financial capital to rapidly developing nations to ensure these economies are powered by renewable energy. Personally, I think the fund needs a more compelling name that speaks to the positive intent behind its purpose. Maybe a ‘Just Transition Acceleration Fund’?
Secondly, we need acceptance: to accept the interconnections of climate, health, and nature; and the connections between climate and justice and health equity. It’s only by accepting these interconnections can we truly deliver the systemic change that is needed. In a world where the words climate change have become highly politicised, health and nature offer a different route into the same solutions.
I also want to see activation of private and public sector partnerships. Let’s step over the distrust and cynicism: again, systemic change needs true and determined collaboration across systems.
There were a few successes at COP last year. There was some bold programming that featured the inclusion of a Food Day, not to mention paving the way for the first Health Day at COP28. It’s so important to bring all these agendas together, particularly climate and health. Health can bring a very human face to the climate narrative, in turn making it even more compelling.
COP27 also saw brilliant mobilisation of the private sector. They were present in huge numbers. Yes, there was still some greenwash about, but the private sector presence and voice (and $$) is critical. And of course, there was the basis for the ‘Loss and Damage’ Fund. There was one major, glaring failure though: back peddling by some nation states on their commitment to a 1.5C limit. Remember too that it was just a limit, not a target.
What needs to happen in order for COP28 to be a success? Cooperation and care. For and across generations, if we care about the young people in our lives, we cannot allow any more back peddling. Cooperating with all communities and all voices – not just the ones with money and power – will also make back peddling harder.
In the end, I believe what will determine whether COP 28 is a success or not is how decent we can be as humans. What happens next is ultimately a very human story; and whether we can be courageous enough to do what we all know needs doing.
About Forum for the Future
Forum for the Future works in partnership with business, governments and civil society to accelerate the shift towards a just and regenerative future in which both people and the planet thrive. Forum is focused on enabling deep transformation in three game-changing areas: how we think about, produce, consume and value both food and energy, and the purpose of business in society and the economy.
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