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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


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International Insight: COP28: what happened, and what should

Sindhuja Pannuri
From Europe to Asia, South America to Africa, and all the way to Australia, Wingspan staff reporter Sindhuja Pannuri provides her insight on international events in this weekly blog.

As world leaders converge on Dubai, UAE, for the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), the urgency to address the deepening climate crisis is palpable. Amidst the grandeur of the gathering, the challenges are stark: a planet reeling from the impacts of climate change, geopolitical tensions, and economic disparities threatening to impede collective action. The key question at COP28 is whether the world can muster the will and resources to chart a sustainable path forward.

Prime Minister Orpo of Finland is depicted in attendance at COP28. The conference will take place in Dubai this year from Nov 30 to Dec 12, 2023.
(FinnishGovernment, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Crux of the Matter: A World Divided

Even as the conference kicks off, two undeniable truths set the stage. First, the most vulnerable communities are already bearing the brunt of climate change, and without decisive action, their suffering will intensify. Second, the global community remains deeply divided on geopolitical and economic fronts, hindering collaborative efforts to combat climate change.

The arithmetic is straightforward but staggering: the world requires a whopping $3.8 trillion annually to avert climate catastrophe, with a third earmarked for emerging and developing economies. Currently, only 16 percent of this colossal sum is being met. COP28 serves as a crucial juncture for the world to rally behind ideas capable of significantly increasing investments in both development and climate action.

Global Disparities in Response

While affluent nations like the United States, European Union, and China embark on ambitious green initiatives, the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with conflicts in various regions, has widened the gap between wealthy and less wealthy nations. Developing countries, burdened by mounting debt and rising interest rates, struggle to mount responses comparable to their richer counterparts.

Global efforts, though well-intentioned, have fallen short. China’s $100 billion commitment to its Belt and Road Initiative and other initiatives have drawbacks. Development support to Africa declined in 2022, and previous climate commitments, such as those from Copenhagen and Paris, have not been fully realized. The urgency is evident in the slow-moving processes, like Zambia’s protracted debt relief qualification through the G-20’s Common Framework.

Paths to Progress: Bold Solutions and Collaborative Action

Amid the challenges, a coalition of global leaders, experts, activists, and philanthropists has rallied behind transformative ideas. Initiatives like the Bridgetown Initiative, the Vulnerable 20 Group (V-20) Accra-Marrakech Agenda, and the African Leaders Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action present a beacon of hope. Progress has been made with the pilot of climate-resilient debt clauses at the World Bank and the establishment of a Resilience and Sustainability Trust at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

However, more needs to be done, and COP28 offers a unique opportunity to take transformative actions. Three key paths could unlock the necessary resources and momentum for change:

  1. Mobilizing Capital for Emerging Economies: Increase concessional contributions to developing economies, particularly in the Global South. Multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank, should enhance lending with longer tenures and lower interest rates, fostering development and climate resilience. Revise outdated capital adequacy rules at institutions like the World Bank to unlock additional lending through modern risk management techniques.
  2. Escaping High-Cost Debt: Reform and expand the G-20 Common Framework for debt treatments, involving new bilateral lenders and providing reliable timeframes. The IMF could adjust timelines, allowing countries to borrow more today, with differential treatment for debt incurred from critical climate investments.
  3. Technology Access for Development: Ensure developing economies have access to transformative technologies, particularly in renewable energy. Promote public-private-philanthropic partnerships, leveraging successful models like the Global Energy for People and Planet initiative.

As COP28 unfolds, the world stands at a crossroads. The conference’s agenda encompasses critical discussions on phasing out fossil fuels and establishing a loss and damage fund. The international community must grapple with the stark realities presented in the U.N. report.

In the face of daunting challenges, COP28 offers a unique opportunity to demonstrate bold ambition, reignite development progress, and address the looming climate crisis. The world is watching, and the decisions made in Dubai will shape the trajectory of global efforts to combat climate change in the years ahead.

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About the Contributor
Sindhuja Pannuri, Staff Reporter
Sindhuja (Sindhu) Pannuri is a senior entering her second year of Wingspan staff. At school, she is captain of the varsity debate team and President of Youth and Government. In her free time, she reads books to escape reality and enjoys boxing in the ring. She’s so excited for what this year will hold!

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