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Since 1906, the global average surface temperature has increased by more than 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius). Global warming refers to the long-term increase in Earth’s average surface temperature due to human activities, primarily the emission of greenhouse gases. The Earth’s atmosphere contains gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), which trap heat from the sun and maintain a suitable temperature for life. However, human activities, such as burning fossil fuels for energy, deforestation, and industrial processes, release large amounts of these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The increased concentration of these gases enhances the natural greenhouse effect, trapping more heat and causing the planet to warm up. This phenomenon has far-reaching consequences, impacting ecosystems, weather patterns, sea levels, and biodiversity. The rise in global temperatures contributes to the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, leading to a rise in sea levels and threatening coastal communities.

Climate change began in correlation to the increased industrialization habits that began back in the 1860s. However, the effects of climate change have been most noticeable since the 1950s, when industrialisation began to occur at a newfound rapid pace. Scientists discovered the phenomenon of climate change after measuring the surface temperature of various oceans, and were able to correlate the significant increase with the growing rates of urbanization, industrialisation, and human consumerism.

Global warming also intensifies extreme weather events, including heat waves, hurricanes, droughts, and floods, disrupting ecosystems and affecting human societies. The consequences of global warming are not only environmental but also socio-economic, with vulnerable communities facing increased risks and challenges. Mitigating global warming requires concerted efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transition to sustainable energy sources, and implement strategies for climate adaptation. Addressing this complex issue is crucial for the well-being of current and future generations, as we strive to create a sustainable and resilient planet.

Global climate change refers to significant and lasting alterations in Earth’s climate patterns over an extended period. While closely related to global warming, which specifically addresses the increase in average surface temperatures, climate change encompasses a broader range of shifts in weather conditions, including temperature variations, precipitation patterns, and the frequency and intensity of extreme events.

Human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes, release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat, leading to an overall warming of the planet and disrupting established climate patterns. The consequences of global climate change are diverse and can manifest as rising sea levels, altered precipitation patterns, more intense storms, and shifts in ecosystems and wildlife habitats.

Joint cooperation

The impacts of climate change are felt globally, affecting communities, economies, and ecosystems. Coastal areas face the threat of inundation, agricultural practices are challenged by changing growing seasons, and biodiversity is at risk as species struggle to adapt to new conditions.

Addressing global climate change requires international cooperation and concerted efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transition to renewable energy sources, and implement adaptive strategies. A comprehensive approach is necessary to mitigate the current and future impacts of climate change and create a sustainable and resilient future for the planet.

In fact, the World Health Organization, also known as WHO, have declared the global temperature rise and excessive act of burning fossil fuels to be one of the greatest threats to global health. Therefore, the increase of the global average surface temperature not only has an effect on the climate system, but on human health. Fossil fuels, carbon dioxide, and various greenhouse gas emissions have made climate change a more predominant problem in our society, and it has given climate change the power to ultimately impact the way we approach sustainable business and daily lifestyle habits – such as by paying more attention to the global average temperature and ways to reduce emissions. Climate change is occurring due to our increased industrial activity, urbanization, and high-carbon emitting pleasures like travel and the rapid acceleration of consumerism for products like fast fashion. These activities deplete unnecessary resources, while also worsening pollution with the extensive use of fossil fuels that perpetuate even more greenhouse gas emissions – which all aids to maintain climate change to be the crisis that it is. Climate does not only threaten human life, but various animal species on the planet as well. Rising temperatures, specifically in the Arctic region, have caused ice glaciers to melt and in turn have threatened all forms of life that dwell in cold environments. Many animals have been left with no choice but to flee their natural habitats. Also, climate change has affected plants, trees, and flowers – as they are no longer following their natural life cycles due to these spontaneous shifts in weather patterns.

Climate change in 2023 and the years to come is only expected to get worse. For example, there is a 93% chance that one of the years between 2022 and 2026 will be the warmest year to date; breaking the previous record held by 2016. This has already happened in summer 2023, with multiple record-breaking temperatures around the world having been recorded. This proves the previous forecast that the average global temperature for the five year period between 2022 and 2026 is projected to be higher than the previous five year period between 2017 and 2021. The worst projection for climate change in 2023, is that the chance for the average global temperature to rise above 1.5°C has increased to almost 50% for the next five year period between 2022 and 2026.

2023 alone has already seen numerous new concerning effects of climate change: such as with the Canadian wildfires that spread smoke all the way to the US and even across the pond to Paris. These expected, worsening predictions for climate change in 2023 will not be the pique of global warming misery. As long as we continue to emit extreme amounts of greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, climate change will continue to worsen.

In 2023, there are several treaties, conferences, and initiatives taking place in order to measure, monitor, and mitigate climate change. Here are just a few of the many measures being taken and implemented to improve the state of climate change in 2023 and the years to come.

COP27 with UNFCCC/ The Conference of Parties, otherwise known as COP, is an annual meeting where global leaders discuss the current most imperative threats to climate change – and debate the best approaches on how to fix those specific problems that are causing climate change, as well as other climate challenge issues around the world.

The UNFCCC, otherwise known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – is an international treaty that seeks to mitigate the detrimental effects of human activity on climate change. The UNFCCC, alongside other global leaders, attends the Conference of Parties every year to discuss climate change. COP27 last year in Egypt helped to develop the Loss & Damage fund – which will help more vulnerable countries to be financially supported as climate change wrecks have on society. This year’s COP28 was held in Dubai from Nov. 30 till Dec. 12, 2023.

The two-week-long conference got underway with the World Climate Action Summit, which brought together 154 Heads of States and Government. Parties reached a historic agreement on the operationalization of the loss and damage fund and funding arrangements – the first time a substantive decision was adopted on the first day of the conference. Commitments to the fund started coming in moments after the decision was gaveled, totaling more than USD 700 million to date. This United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) closed with an agreement that signals the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era by laying the ground for a swift, just and equitable transition, underpinned by deep emissions cuts and scaled-up finance. In a demonstration of global solidarity, negotiators from nearly 200 Parties came together in Dubai with a decision on the world’s first ‘global stock take’ to ratchet up climate action before the end of the decade – with the overarching aim to keep the global temperature limit of 1.5°C within reach.

The global stock take is considered the central outcome of COP28 – as it contains every element that was under negotiation and can now be used by countries to develop stronger climate action plans due by 2025. The stock take recognizes the science that indicates global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut 43% by 2030, compared to 2019 levels, to limit global warming to 1.5°C. But it notes Parties are off track when it comes to meeting their Paris Agreement goals.

The stock take calls on Parties to take actions towards achieving, at a global scale, a tripling of renewable energy capacity and doubling energy efficiency improvements by 2030. The list also includes accelerating efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power, phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, and other measures that drive the transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, with developed countries continuing to take the lead. In the short-term, Parties are encouraged to come forward with ambitious, economy-wide emission reduction targets, covering all greenhouse gases, sectors and categories and aligned with the 1.5°C limit in their next round of climate action plans (known as nationally determined contributions) by 2025.

There was more progress on the loss and damage agenda with an agreement also reached that the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the UN Office for Project Services will host the secretariat of the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage. This platform will catalyze technical assistance to developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Parties agreed on targets for the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) and its framework, which identify where the world needs to get to in order to be resilient to the impacts of a changing climate and to assess countries’ efforts. The GGA framework reflects a global consensus on adaptation targets and the need for finance, technology and capacity-building support to achieve them.

Is it possible to reverse climate change?

Since climate change began, several new technologies have been developed like carbon capture and storage systems. These machines strive to mitigate further carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere and help to combat climate change. As revolutionary as this is, the environmental damage made to the problem isn’t reversible.

Even with many companies and countries around the world striving to reach net-zero emissions, it still isn’t enough to reduce global temperatures overall. It is unreasonable to expect all individuals, companies, governments, and communities on Earth to cease all industrial activities that emit excessive amounts of carbon or greenhouse gas emissions. Mitigating climate change requires several approaches given the Earth’s average temperature and further warming of the planet. The most reasonable approach is to utilize both carbon offsetting methods and preventative measures to reduce global warming to stabilize the rising temperatures of the planet.

Takeaway of the Summit :
  • It reinforced the 1.5C goal and recognized it would require a 43% emissions cut by 2030 and 60% by 2035 relative to 2019 levels. It implies a major increase in targets and policies when countries submit new commitments in 2025.
  • Countries backed a call for global renewable energy to be tripled and the rate of energy efficiency improvements doubled by 2030.
  • A statement that global emissions should peak by 2025 was dropped. China, among others, objected to this despite evidence it may be on track to peak its own emissions by then.
  • Language backed by fossil fuel interests found its way into the text, including “transitional fuels” – seen as a code for natural gas – and “carbon capture and utilization and storage”.
  • Little progress was made on climate adaptation and finance, which the deal acknowledges will need trillions of dollars in support.
  • A loss and damage fund to help the most vulnerable repair the damage from climate breakdown was operationalized – a major step forward – but significant work remains to build its capacity.

Many developed countries had joined the most vulnerable in publicly pushing for a phase-out of coal, oil and gas. The European Union said there was a “supermajority” in support for the idea, but many wealthy countries wanted it only to apply to “unabated” fossil fuels – those where the emissions from burning them are not captured. Saudi Arabia and a few allied countries objected to the inclusion of any reference to reducing the production and consumption of fossil fuels in the text of a potential deal. After the deal, a Saudi Arabian representative reportedly said the texts agreed “do not affect our exports, do not affect our ability to sell”. OPEC, the group of oil producers of which Saudi Arabia and UAE are both members, congratulated the Cop on the “positive outcome”.

The pact also had rewards for oil producers, in the form of a clear acknowledgment that technologies exist that can reduce the climate impact of oil, natural gas and coal – mainly by capturing carbon dioxide produced when fossil fuels are burned to prevent the emissions entering the atmosphere. Embedded in a list of actions that countries should take to fight climate change was: “Accelerating zero- and low-emission technologies, including, inter alia, renewables, nuclear, abatement and removal technologies such as carbon capture and utilization and storage.” Carbon capture has been around for a long time, but it remains very expensive in certain applications, and has never been proven at the vast global scale that would be needed to have an impact on climate change. Even the delegations that appeared happiest with the accord had issues with it. The main one was the absence of any additional financing to help developing nations with the huge cost of transitioning away from fossil fuels. Money to help poor, climate-vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change was also lacking. Adaptation is really a life and death issue.

The UN climate summit clinched an early victory related to money at the start of the talks, when delegates adopted a new fund to help poor nations cope with the loss and damage caused by climate disaster. The United States, the European Union, and scores of other countries were generally pleased with the outcome of the talks, saying the deal maintained a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degress Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average. Getting there will be tough – requiring cutting emissions nearly in half in just six years, and to net zero by 2050. The draft calls for countries to do so, but the Alliance of Small Island States is concerned it will not happen. AOSIS representative Anne Rasmussen from Samoa said the alliance felt the draft failed to deliver “the course correction that is needed”.

The next summit i.e. COP 29 would be held next year in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The author, Mr. Nazir Ahmed Shaikh, is a freelance writer, columnist, blogger and motivational speaker. He writes articles on diversified topics. Mr. Shaikh can be contacted at