The next UN climate conference must achieve success

Switzerland must set itself ambitious goals at COP 28 in Dubai: Phasing out the use of fossil fuels before 2040 and increasing climate financing. The fund for damage to countries in the South also needs to be implemented quickly.

Additional commitment is needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C. «Industrialized countries like Switzerland must lead the way», demands Sonja Tschirren, Head of the Climate and Organic Agriculture Dossier at SWISSAID, in the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28). At the current pace, the eleven most advanced countries would need 220 years to transition to a carbon-free economy with an average temperature rise of 1.5°C. (link). «Our planet cannot afford this snail's pace», adds Tschirren.

2023 is the hottest year since weather records began

2023 will go down in history as the hottest year since weather records began. Heatwaves, floods, fires, hunger, epidemics: The consequences of global warming for health and biodiversity are alarming, especially in the poorest countries of the South, where only small amounts of CO2 are emitted. In 2021, the African continent produced only 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Europe, on the other hand, emitted almost twice as much (7.5%) and North America even 16.5%, as SWISSAID knows.

Switzerland receives poor marks

Switzerland needs to make more of an effort: Its CO2 footprint is 12 tons per capita per year, while the global average is 6 tons. The financial center, imports, waste: there are numerous starting points for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. «We need to reduce our own emissions more quickly instead of trying to offset them in other countries or reduce them with immature technologies», says Tschirren. And she adds: «At international level, the phasing out of fossil fuels must be achieved well before 2040 and financial support for the poorest countries must be increased so that they can adapt to climate change.»

Loss and damage fund must become operational

The loss and damage fund agreed at the last COP, which is intended to support the countries of the South in dealing with the damage caused by climate change, must now become operational. Here, too, Switzerland can lead the way by contributing to its implementation and financing an initial part, SWISSAID demands.

The UN Climate Change Conference 2023, COP 28 for short, is the 28th UN Climate Change Conference. It will take place from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai/United Arab Emirates.