Climate pessimism and optimism: we need to decide

Will COP 28 be the worst ever?

Although the UAE (the Emirates) has the most diversified economy in the region, having invested oil money in health, education, infrastructure, business and tourism and reduced its dependence on oil, an investigation published in The Guardian, reveals that the fossil fuel business chief there and chairman of the upcoming COP 28 to be based in Dubai, Sultan Al Jaber, is planning a gas and oil exploration expansion. It will be the third largest fossil fuel expansion plan in the world, behind only Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Besides this farce that makes a mockery of the COP and the fight against fossil fuel emissions, the Emirates is considered a country with a low standard regarding human rights and freedom of speech for individuals, groups, or the press.

Thus, the Emirates has a huge conflict of interest regarding COP28 and is a potentially hostile environment for any discussion of climate, environmental justice and fair and equitable sustainable development.

Cause for optimism

There is hope, however, as The Guardian highlighted in the Down to Earth newsletter (06/04/2023). This involves the latest IPCC report which has a chart showing the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in both effectiveness and projected costs: invest in solar and wind power, increase energy efficiency in buildings, stop destruction of forests and other ecosystem and restore these habitats, and reduce methane emissions. There are also other simple and cost effective options that can be applied, such as reducing red meat consumption in rich countries, using public transport and bikes instead of using electric vehicles, among others. These measures, also highlighted in the IPCC press release, can help us achieve the target of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial average (Climate Action Tracker 2022).

What is still lacking unfortunately is political will to implement these measures, all of which can be achieved with existing technology.


Climate Action Tracker (2022). The CAT Thermometer. November 2022. Available at: Copyright © 2022 by Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute. All rights reserved (2023) Science tells it how it is: we have the tools to solve the climate crisis

The Guardian (2023) Revealed: UAE plans huge oil and gas expansion as it hosts UN climate summit

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2023) Urgent climate action can secure a liveable future for all – IPCC

Featured image above: Pexels Free Photos.

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