Africa-Press – Kenya. • Countries now realize that if they do not fight climate change, their economies will not survive, climate expert Huseyin Toros tells Anadolu
• ‘All global stakeholders support the fight against climate change because they have to,’ says Toros
• Positive change takes time so it will be difficult to suddenly quit 150-year-old habits, according to Turkish academic
As the globe reels from a seemingly endless series of catastrophic environmental disasters, the stage is set in the UAE for the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference, or COP28.
There are a range of topics that world leaders, policymakers and environmental stakeholders will address in Dubai, from financing the sustainability transition to commitments on meeting previous emissions reduction goals.
According to Huseyin Toros, a meteorologist and climate change expert, the need for collaborative and effective action could not be more pressing as countries’ own economies and that of the entire globe is now at stake.
“Every country knows that their economies depend on the fight against climate change,” Toros, a professor at Türkiye’s Istanbul Technical University (ITU), told Anadolu.
“Because if they do not fight climate change, their economies will not survive. Their economic development will stop and they will suffer inevitable damage.”
With their own financial future on the line, he believes countries will be more willing to act and have “a positive attitude in the fight against climate change.”
“All global stakeholders support the fight against climate change because they have to,” he said.
“The Green Deal in Europe is the most obvious example,” he added, referring to the European Commission’s initiatives that aim to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050.
However, Toros emphasized that all countries have to strategize their climate change fight “according to their own future plans and economic processes.”
‘Difficult to suddenly quit 150-year-old habits’
According to the UN, COP28 will underline the need “to preserve a livable climate,” while emphasizing that the production of coal, oil and gas “must rapidly decline.”
Another key aim is to ramp up the use of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro and geothermal energy, with the UN saying that the capacity of renewables needs to triple by 2030.
Financing and investments for adaptation and climate resilience “need a quantum leap,” according to the UN.
What COP28 aims to achieve “is not an easy task,” Toros said, pointing to humanity’s decades of dependence on fossil fuels and unfettered consumption of electricity and water.
“Positive change takes time. In other words, it is a difficult process to suddenly quit 150-year-old habits,” he said.
About the goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C (34.7F), set at 2021’s COP26 with the Glasgow Climate Pact, the academic said it can only be achieved “in a gradual manner.”
“There is no way that we can just leave our habits behind overnight. What should be done is to gradually decrease our carbon footprint,” Toros said.
“We are witnessing an increase in efforts to intensify the use of renewable energy all around the world. I believe that, within the scope of the EU Green Deal, such efforts will further intensify especially in Europe from 2026 onwards.”
COP28 a ray of hope?
Emphasizing the importance of global conferences such as COP28, Toros said they can “result in an acceleration in the efficiency in the use of natural resources,” particularly the shift to renewable energy.
The expert hailed Türkiye as a successful example of this shift, saying the country now “gets half of all its energy from renewables such as hydroelectricity, solar, wind and geothermal energy.”
He also emphasized the crucial role that every single individual can play in the fight against climate change.
“We have to forfeit some of our luxuries, that’s for sure,” he said, citing the practice being promoted in European countries of keeping central heating at certain temperatures in households.
Toros said the growing popularity of carbon neutral products is also an encouraging sign, adding that the next step will be restrictions on entry of fossil fuel-powered vehicles to city centers.