Global warming is. a present reality, with rising sea levels and extreme weather causing disasters worldwide. The United Nations holds the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) to discuss strategies, and this year marks the 28th edition (COP28), hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, one of the world’s largest oil-producing countries, with nearly 200 countries in attendance.
Taiwanese illustrator BLUE, who has recently been focusing on sustainability issues, has been closely following COP28. In a previous interview with 《The Icons》 titled “Arousing Societal Awareness of Sustainability through Illustrations, Taiwanese Illustrator BLUE: Aspires to Leave an Inhabitable Living Environment for My Son,” he discussed his early works’ strong emphasis on current events, with the birth of his child, he became increasingly concerned about sustainable education.
He particularly worries about global issues such as climate change affecting the living environment for his child and the next generation. Consequently, he has started using his art to convey sustainable ideas to the world.
“I hope sustainability is not just a slogan but something that can be implemented in our daily lives, providing a livable environment for the next generation,” says BLUE. He believes that in the face of the impacts of extreme weather, each individual has the capability and responsibility to contribute to slowing down climate change.
Nations Gather at COP28 to Combat Climate Change
“In 2015, COP21 established the Paris Agreement, aiming to control global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. To achieve this climate goal, global carbon emissions need to decrease by 43% by 2030, 60% by 2035, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This target poses significant pressure on oil-producing or developing countries,” notes BLUE, who is well-versed in sustainability issues. He shares the key points he observed at COP28.
According to a recent study in the journal “Nature Climate Change,” the average temperature over the past decade has risen by 1.14 degrees Celsius compared to the 19th century, reaching 1.26 degrees Celsius last year. If the current pace of burning fossil fuels continues, global warming is projected to surpass 1.5 degrees Celsius by early 2029.
Facing uncontrolled global warming, BLUE emphasizes, “To defend the 1.5-degree line, we must stop burning fossil fuels, or island nations like Taiwan will face the crisis of their homes being submerged by the ocean.” BLUE also mentions the documentary “Melting Greenland: Save the Marshall Islands,” screened at COP28, which vividly portrays the imminent threat of the Marshall Islands being submerged due to rising sea levels.
However, COP28 did not include the phase-out of fossil fuels in its resolutions. Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), including Saudi Arabia and Iraq, led opposition to such measures. COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber even stated, “There is no scientific evidence that gradually phasing out fossil fuels can achieve global climate goals.”
This stance sparked strong opposition from European and island nations. BLUE finds such statements hard to accept. Originally scheduled to close on December 12, COP28 extended discussions after protests from various countries and eventually reached a resolution to transition away from all fossil fuels.
Action is Needed Now
Regarding COP28’s resolution, BLUE points out, “This is the first time in COP history that the issue of fossil fuels has been addressed. We have finally taken a significant step.”
What impact does COP28’s resolution have on Taiwan? “The largest source of Taiwan’s carbon emissions is energy, and the main source of electricity is still fossil fuels, accounting for over 80%,” says BLUE. While there may be limited individual efforts in energy transition, BLUE believes there is still much that can be done.
“I recently bought a GOGORO electric scooter, not just because it looks good but also because of its environmental friendliness,” BLUE shares his efforts in energy conservation. He also reduces the use of disposable items, especially those made of plastic, stating, “These are opportunities for educational moments I can provide for my child!”
“Additionally, for Halloween this year, I made Minecraft costumes with my son using IKEA cardboard boxes. Our Christmas gifts are also DIY. Through playful moments with my son, I let him know that the Earth is sick, and now he can be a little soldier, and in the future, a hero saving the world,” BLUE encourages parents to cultivate awareness of caring for the Earth early on through enjoyable activities.
“Climate change is a significant issue, and while individual efforts may seem insignificant, when combined, they can make an impact and urge businesses and governments to make changes,” BLUE urges everyone to start taking action now for the sake of the next generation’s living environment.
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