Modern global climate agenda and contemporary challenges

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Present climate’s state-of-the art in the world is a sobering reminder that the global community is far below its abilities to tackle climate changes. One of the reasons is that the solution is hampered by the inclusion of several other global challenges. Besides, the global “climate consensus” is too difficult to reach due to dramatic differences among the states in reducing growing emissions and the needs for clean energy. 

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC was adopted in 1992 with the ultimate aim of preventing dangerous human interference with the climate system. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol and 2015 Paris Agreement build on the Convention.
The “Earth Summit-1992” was the largest gathering of world leaders with 117 heads of state and representatives of 178 nations attending. The ‘Earth Summit’ has had many previous great achievements, such as, e.g. the Rio Declaration and its 27 universal principles, the UNFCCC, the Convention on Biological Diversity; the Declaration on the principles of forest management; as well as the diplomatic conference declarations, are the “instruments” that are formally not binding.
The Stockholm and Rio Declarations are outputs of the first and second global environmental conferences, i.e. the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm (in June1972) and the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in June1992.
The Paris Agreement and the “parties” to the UNFCCC’s frameworks (that has deposited their instruments of accession) account presently in total for at least 55 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the latest COP28 consensus at the end of 2023, just like the Paris Agreement, is not legally binding; therefore, there is nowadays a pressing need to define a roadmap for this transition and ensure a swift and effective global implementation of the emissions reduction by all nations.
For example, COP28 successfully mobilized over $85 billion in financing; however, it is clear that even this amount falls short of rebuilding trust and translating the intentions of reducing emissions into tangible effective actions. For example, recent COP28 in the UAE concluded the first ever Global Stock Take, GST, which represented a mid-term review of progress that the UN member states were making towards implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, a kind of “modern climate consensus”.
The GST committed countries to limit temperature’s increase to below 2°C and targeting 1.5 °C compared to the pre-industrial era; besides, the final GST’s text called the global community to “transition away” from fossil fuels.

Global Stock Take’s accounts
The Global Stock Take, GST has envisioned several priorities for national governance:
a) The need for “deep, rapid and sustained reductions” in greenhouse gas emissions; it calls for the member states to contribute to “transitioning away” from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly and equitable manner, as well as accelerating action through the present decade, so as to achieve net-zero by 2050. The latter shall be performed “in keeping with the science” and innovations.
b) Tripling the global capacity of renewable energy and doubling the annual rate of energy efficiency improvements before 2030.
c) Significantly curbing non-CO2 emissions, with a particular focus on reaching near-zero global methane emissions by 2030, which is about 80 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in the short run.
d) Phasing out inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels (those that do not address energy poverty or facilitate just transitions), as soon as feasible and possible.

The global community has acknowledged interdependence between the two vital agendas: i.e. the nature and climate strategies, by launching a series of initiatives with an initial commitment of $1.7 billion to meet climate and biodiversity goals. In view of political-economy, about half of average national GDP presently comes from natural resources (air, water, human capacities, nature quality, etc.). Therefore, by “loosing nature”, many businesses, which are dependent on it directly and/or indirectly, would undermine their supply chains and clients; hence, it is high time to evaluate economically and financially the available natural resources in political economy.

= Maritime actions. Although it is the world’s largest carbon sink, which absorbs 90% of the warming generated from climate change, investment into ocean action remains the least funded of the UN SDGs. The COP-28 summit provided an opportunity to bolster “blue solutions”, including 21 countries joining the Mangrove Breakthrough, to restore and protect 15 million hectares of mangroves world-wide by 2030, which can hold more than four times more carbon than tropical forests. During the COP28 summit, it was successfully mobilizing over $2.5 billion to bridge the substantial funding gap in nature conservation and restoration for climate resilience.


= Food systems are an impact multiplier for a just and equitable transition, accounting for 30% of global emissions, rising costs and nutrition issues. The COP28 summit placed this issue as a core part of the new climate action agenda, announcing the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action with the support of 134 countries (representing 70% of the world’s land), with commitments to include emissions from agriculture and farming into their national climate action plans.
From its side, the World Economic Forum launched the “First Movers Coalition for Food”, creating aggregated market demand for sustainably produced and low-emission agricultural commodities. The initiative, which is championed by the UAE and a growing coalition of corporate and research partners, aims to de-risk upfront investment, with its 20 current member states promising a combined estimated procurement commitment of $10-20 billion by 2030.

Outlook for global business
There are already some hints regarding challenges to entrepreneurship that the World Economic Forum has revealed. Among them are for example, some transformative “provocations” for corporate strategies: e.g. making corporate governance grasping national political-economy’s changes for existing business model and/or long-term strategies. As to the big multi-nationals, they have “to be trained in synthesizing” the new global order already under formation’s process, including new growth opportunities, world-trade’s compliances and analysis of emerging supply chains. Finally, both the big companies and SMEs have “to track the foreign policy strategy of the country where their headquarters are situated”, as well as transforming relationships with the greatest global powers, e.g. the US, China, EU, etc.
Contemporary governance systems have to understand the present socio-economic situation and modern challenges to re-assess the role of existing and available national resources, forces and factors likely to shape long-term decisions in order to formulate policies which could bring wellbeing to people.
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Other global projections
Recent annual World Economic Forum in January 2024 attracted attention to other numerous issues, such as: the urgency to accelerate global climate actions, enhancing national contributions, urgent transition from fossil fuels, tripling the renewable energy capacity by 2030, significant climate pledges, the advances of the global “loss and damage fund”, and the just climate-energy transition, etc.
Moreover, the emphasis on nature-based solutions and the climate-health nexus signals a shift towards a more holistic and inclusive approach to climate actions. Hence, the global community’s expectations towards more cross-sector collaborations, in fostering inclusivity in the world-wide pursuit of a desired 1.5°C, which is “leaving no one behind”.
Besides, much work is to be done by national governments: e.g. the global governance has to control the process of revising national contributions by 2025 in accordance with the modern SDGs and climate conferences guidelines.
World Economic Forum suggested that international organizations, global companies, relevant civil society and academic institutions, as well as national governments to take active actions in reaching numerous declarations on climate change during last three decades. Speeding closer to 2030, the global community, and the European Union, in particular, shall adopt critically vital (though often quite complicated and controversial) decisions in modernising existing political-economy’s patterns in national development.

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Energy efficiency in Europe
Using less energy strategy, and using it wisely, represent key instruments for clean, secure and affordable energy; it is an important component of the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan.
Energy efficiency’s concept helps reducing overall energy consumption and is therefore central to achieving the EU’s climate ambition, while enhancing present and future energy security and affordability.
The Energy Efficiency Directive, recently strengthened as part of the Fit for 55 legislative package, established the “energy efficiency first” concept as a fundamental principle of EU energy policy, giving it a legal standing for the first time. It also significantly raised the EU’s ambition with new EU-level target to improve energy efficiency by about 12 percent by 2030, with a stronger social emphasis on people affected by energy poverty.

On energy efficiency directive in:

The EU has adopted a far-reaching guiding principle “energy efficiency first” to complement other EU socio-economic and political objectives, particularly in the areas of sustainability, climate neutrality and green growth.
While taking full account of security of supply and market integration, this principle aims to ensure that: a) only the energy really needed for the development is produced; b) investments in stranded assets are avoided, and c) demand for energy is reduced and managed in a cost-effective way.
Additionally, this principle emphasizes both the need to reduce fossil fuel consumption and the importance of reducing unnecessary energy production: reducing energy demand can help control the level of investment needed for the transition towards renewables. Moreover, it supports a more sustainable approach to the use of limited resources and increases the resilience of the EU’s energy system. Both the public and the private sector are therefore encouraged to invest in energy efficient production, ahead of other, more complex or costly solutions to the energy transition.
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