A great number of world leaders is expected to announce their concrete plans to fight against climate change in line with the 1.5°C threshold at United Nations (UN) Climate Change Action Summit on Sept. 23 and millions of people prepare to have strikes worldwide amid the growing tensions due to the attacks on Saudi oil sites.
The climate change considered as the biggest problem of the 21st century, is a global issue in scope and scale as it impacts weather patterns that threaten food production, rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding and even migration.
Experts warn that the world needs to take action to tackle the impacts of the climate change and limit the increase of global warming at 1.5°C level.
The last year's report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found out that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.
Thus, a great number of leaders and policy makers as well as activists gather to amplify the fight against the climate change at the UN Climate Change Action Summit starting on Sept. 23.
The summit coincides with a turbulent period in terms of world geopolitics owing to attacks on two facilities of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco.
The attacks led Saudi Arabia to cut 5.7 million barrels per day (mbpd) of oil production -- more than half of the kingdom's oil output of 9.7 mbpd which triggered jumping of oil prices more than %10 in a day.
Thus, the UN Climate Action Summit will take place amid the tensions on oil that has a great responsibility in increasing the carbon emissions as well as other fossil fuels.
However, prior to the summit, millions of people in almost 120 countries are going to have 2,500 strikes to attract attention to the gravity of the issue on Sept. 20. Additionally, 3,615 events planned in 1,637 cities of 123 countries during the week of 20-27 September.
In New York, schools will let students leave class to attend the events on Sept. 20.
Young activist Greta Thunberg is one of the significant figures leading the strikes with the youth and the children but workers, unions and families will also support them in the strikes.
Thunberg is going to address UN after taking part in the strikes.
- Eyes on China
High level representatives from over 60 countries and 70 international companies -- including oil and gas companies -- will attend the summit. Over 60 multinational companies will deliver new strategic plans in line with the 1.5°C threshold.
The UN expects China to explain how it will meet mid-century decarbonization target.
The world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gas, China, announced earlier that intends to ramp up climate action by increasing its climate targets. The country also pledged to publish a long term decarbonization strategy of which details are not clear yet.
The blustering winds in geopolitics heavily deriving from the US-China trade war also contributes to the tensions prior to the summit. Furthermore, a number of other developments including India's focus on Kashmir and Brexit can lead to distraction of focus on the climate action.
Additionally, governments have been told they must bring a concrete climate action plan to get a speaking slot during the summit. The UK, France, Germany, India, China, Indonesia, Russia, Chile, Finland and a number of small islands are among those lined up to announce their new plans.
The leaders of the European Union will deliver their 2030 and 2050 plans.
Despite the turmoils in the world, the summit is expected to voice the urgency for the climate action and updating commitments of countries under Paris Climate Agreement ahead of 2020.
The nationally determined contributions of the countries under Paris Climate Agreement is currently not enough to limit the increase of global warming with 1.5°C.
While previous estimates focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by 2°C, the IPCC report shows that many of the adverse impacts of climate change will come at the 1.5°C mark.
The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya