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Climate Change and the Global Green Growth Institute

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is present in the atmosphere as an element of the earth’s carbon cycle (the natural circulation of carbon among the atmosphere, soil, plants, animals, and oceans). CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities. The way to compare greenhouse gases is by using a conversion factor, known as the Global Warming Potential (GWP), which uses a time scope of 100 years.

The GWP allows for the evaluation of the impact of different gases on global warming; it measures how much energy the emission of 1 ton of a specified gas absorbs over a stated period compared to the emission of 1 ton of CO2. In other words, it is the heat absorbed by any greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, expressed as a multiple of the heat that is likely absorbed by the same mass of CO2 (in the case of CO2 the GWP = 1). For other gases, it depends on the gas and the time structure. Methane is a simple gas that consists of one carbon atom with four hydrogen atoms. Since a ton of methane absorbs more heat than a ton of CO2, methane has a larger GWP. Due to methane spending less time in the atmosphere than CO2, the GWP for methane will equal the duration of the review period. If methane is stated as a factor of 25, it means that methane is a greenhouse gas with 25 times the global warming potential of CO2. More than ninety percent of direct global emissions contain gasses with methane. According to Princeton University, methane emissions will increase as the earth warms. Speaking at the launch of the State of the Global Climate report of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres, emphasised the fact that climate change is accelerating, which ‘proves that it is moving faster than the efforts to address it’. He highlighted plans for a post-global warming world by calling on governments not to support fossil fuel industries that contribute to global warming.

Waste prevention, reuse, and recycling can also play a considerable role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; recycling is the least favorable option of the three. We need to redefine our perception of ‘cycle’ and ‘recycle’; the concept addresses the fact that recycled articles need to return to us in order for it to be a full cycle. Thus far, the melting of glaciers and sea ice has been the most visible effect of climate change. A new study in Science Advances implies that as glaciers melt, the redistribution of mass causes the earth to shift and spin faster on its axis. Although ice sheets have been moving since the end of the last ice age, a 2016 study discovered that the present century’s global warming has been the reason for ice sheets to move faster. In fact, due to faster global warming, the research confirmed that rivers of ice moved 10 to 15 times faster than they would have moved if the climate had not been unstable. In the latter part of the 19th century, Glacier National Park in Montana had 150 glaciers; today, there are only 26 glaciers. The loss of glaciers can weaken and burst icy dams that hold back glacier lakes and avalanches caused by unstable ice can bury villages and cause the loss of human lives. Sea levels can also rise drastically from melting ice sheets and glaciers. In 20 years, global warming should reach about 1 degree Celsius, which would be the warmest the Earth has been; the United Nations warns that we are heading for an increase of 3 degrees Celsius in global warming! New calculations portray that (between 1906 and 2005) Brazil, China, Germany, India, Russia, the UK, and the US were responsible for over sixty percent of global warming. If the phenomenon continues, cities will be drowned!

Launched in 2008, the Covenant of the Mayors (CoM) Initiative is a European Commission inspired project that involves local authorities (cities and societies) to go further than the objectives of the EU energy guidelines and implement sustainable energy parameters to achieve a minimum of twenty percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. During 2016, in order to avoid a significant raise in global temperatures, the Paris Agreement was signed within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by more than 190 countries in Paris, France to reduce emissions that cause climate change. The Paris Agreement is a contract between nations around the world (including the European Union) to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. Cities (supported by city networks) have created brave commitments to signify that they support the Paris Agreement. Also during 2016, the CoM joined forces with another city proposal – the Compact of Mayors. The result was the movement Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy which is the world’s biggest interest group for local climate and energy battles (the third pillar of the scheme ‘energy poverty’ will be expanded in the future). According to Mayor de Blasio, New York City’s Green New Deal, it is a bold and daring project to attack global warming from all sides. It involves solid action at city level, legislation, and new investments that should warrant almost 30 percent reduction in emissions by the year 2030.

The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) is an international, inter-governmental organisation (inaugurated during 2012 at a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development) with a mandate to support and promote green and sustainable economic growth in developing economies. Qatar (in the Republic of Korea) was one of the first sixteen member countries that signed the Establishment Agreement.

Since 2017, the GGGI hosted a project in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The initiative was held at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to involve public and private sector stakeholders as well as international organisations. This platform, known as Global Green Growth Week 2017, was aimed at releasing Africa’s Green Growth Potential and to generate solutions for sustainable growth in Africa and abroad. Dakar (the capital of Senegal) is one of the main seaports on the western African coast; this is where Global Green Growth Week 2018 took place (jointly organised by GGGI, The Government of Senegal, the Korean Embassy in Senegal, IRENA (the International Renewable Energy Agency) and ECREEE (the ECOWAS [Excellence of the Economic Community for West African States] Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) to share experiences regarding best practices in the new green growth economy and to strengthen collaboration between countries. To promote the evolution of renewable energy, the third ‘green growth’ conference of the GGGI (Global Green Growth Week 2019) was held in Seoul (the Republic of Korea). The conference gathered, among others, professionals and experts from more than forty countries.

As from 2019 (in light of the unprecedented urban, economic, and social progress of Qatar in past decades), GGGI and the Qatar Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME Qatar) launched a cooperative program that concentrates on activities to promote environmental stability in Qatar. The Qatar embassy of Seoul currently consists of 153 foreign bodies (embassies and consulates) namely 112 embassies, 27 consulates, 12 consulates general, and 2 representative offices. As of 2020, GGGI Director-General Dr. Frank Rijsberman informs that GGGI’s mission in Qatar is focused on climate change adaptation and green growth planning and implementation; to support economic diversification and environmental development (as specified in the Quatar National Vision 2030 – the project that was launched during 2008 to reform Quatar into an advanced society competent to achieve sustainable development by 2030).

Also in 2020, the State of Qatar and the GGGI signed a Host Country Agreement (HCA) to open a country office in Doha to strengthen collaboration between them. Due to the safety protocols of the current pandemic, the signing took place by means of a virtual ceremony, with the attendance of representatives from the GGGI headquarters in Seoul and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar (MoFA Qatar) in Doha. A representative for GGGI accentuated that it is a key target of GGGI in Qatar, that they look forward to a prolonged collaboration with stakeholders, and that the GGGI will support the State of Qatar to promote developmental and environmental sustainability (at the level of the United Nations Agenda 2030). The UN Agenda 2030, or merely known as Agenda 2030, is the commitment to globally eliminate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030 and to warrant that nobody is omitted; the adoption of Agenda 2030 was a prominent goal which provides for a global vision towards sustainable development for all. In response, a representative for the State of Qatar emphasized that Qatar already supports climate action and environmental sustainability through many projects, but they look forward to promoting mutual collaboration in this area (thereby supporting the goals of QNV2030).

Since the 19th century, many researchers working across an extensive range of academic disciplines have added to a higher understanding of the atmospheric and global climate system. From the 20th century, major climatic scientists raised alarm about global warming and human-induced (or ‘anthropogenic’) climate change. Countries have different views on how to continue with international policies and long-term goals with regard to climate agreements and how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the year 20

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Lynette Barnard

I studied a Bachelor of Science degree with subjects such as Nursing, Psychology, Sociology, Anatomy, Microbiology and Physics while undergoing training as a student nurse at an academic hospital.
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