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Frontline Climate Areas of Focus Leading to COP28

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8th Oct 2023

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In the time zone between UNGA in New York and COP28 in Dubai, emerging frontline narratives are taking shape. Distilled from conversations and the moving climate zeitgeist, here's what to expect as the world prepares to convene this December to work further on climate action. 

1. Equitable Sustainability

As AI and other technologies deepen the divide between technology owners and the rest of us, a growing sense of reliance on new technology to get us out of our climate jams present a new aspect of consideration: will solving for climate issues create a more or less equitable future?  This issue is at the heart of a long running climate justice narrative that seeks to shift the cost of climate adaptation from the global south to the financially advanced north, but also goes much farther in the ways and means by which we address climate chaos. When funding solutions or adaptations, deciding what can be saved and what should be sacrificed, and in thinking about how we adapt to a rapidly warming world, one question should be at the heart of decisionmaking and funding: will it result in a more equitable world or one that is less so? 

2. Methane

As much as the world has focused on carbon dioxide as it seeks to create a unified and comprehensive approach to tackling climate, the growing issue of methane emissions and their individually larger contributions to warming per ton should be addressed more seriously. Capping methane emissions and seeking to slow the release of terra methane need to be given much higher priority, as the emerging and predictive feed back loops for runaway methane emissions throw most calculated scenarios into catastrophe overdrive. These and other GHG need urgent attention, solutions and awareness. 

3. Deep Sea Mining

Over the last 18 months the issue of deep sea mining and the International Seabed Authority (ISA)'s lack of participatory oversight has gained significant traction. While the world needs to 4X its acquisition of particular minerals to power the EV revolution, the attempt to source these materials by dredging seabeds poses significant risks to the aquatic food chain. By destroying life at the bottom of the seas through deep seabed mining, chain reaction die-offs from phytoplankton and the upward marine ecosystem risk devastating consequences for ocean life, the planet's oxygen production cycle and more. 

4. Biodiversity Credit Systems 

Financial types are practically giddy with glee about the emergence of biodiversity credits and other financial metrics designed to value nature in the markets. While some calculations indicate the nature produces over $50 trillion annually in resultant GDP, it doesn't get much credit for the contribution, as it is currently viewed almost entirely as an externality in economic systems. Bringing value calculations to nature could help protect large swaths of valuable nature and nature based systems, creating pools of capital and incentives for their protection. On the other hand, not everything should be a market, and incentives being created risk privatizing something that should be a common resource for all, with huge potential for abuse and inequities. A transparent, ground up, commons based framework for these projects should be a central condition for their creation.

5. Global Carbon

COP28 is a funding COP - where a lot of focus will be on how to stitch together the existing carbon markets into a trillion dollar network that can finally power the green economy transitition and drive global climate and habitat protection. Evidence shows that a half earth model (protecting half the earth for nature) is necessary for long term survival of humanity and a chance at sustaining the life giving aspects of nature. Carbon markets need to do their part in this by funding protection with real initaitives that value local communities who can play a role in their protection.

The Hub Culture Climate Pavilion at the Future Mobility Hub is a place to tacklet these and other topics during COP28. Hosted by Supercool with dozens of partners including Hedera, UNGC and others, it is poised to bring solutions to the next level of integration and application. Open from 30 November - 12 December, 2023, with ongoing activity afterwards. Get involved.