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Towards a sustainable future: COP28 could mark the end of the fossil fuel era

As the COP28 conference is coming to a close, we need to recognise its strategic importance: the spotlight is on the future of our climate and how this will affect the lives of the youngest among us.

Today more than ever, it is clear that the world is aware of the urgency of committing to decisive actions to mitigate the impact of climate change, but although there have been positive decisions and actions in recent years, the road ahead is still rather long.

The climate problem

Last year witnessed a disturbing series of climate-related disasters, even in areas of the world not usually affected by catastrophic events.

This highlights not only the fragility of our societies, but above all the urgent and undisputed need to implement rapid, tangible and extremely effective solutions.

The push towards a shift away from fossil fuels – even if promising and acknowledged at the conference – is only a first step.

The time has come to act with determination and with a sense of urgency never seen before, so that we can move towards a transition that is not just a change in technologies, but a real and concrete transformation towards fairer, greener and cleaner practices.

An example? The incentivised adoption of systems for the production of renewable energy at both domestic, corporate and public administration levels. Think of a city where public lighting is powered by one or more micro wind generators, or buildings and offices powered by a mix of solar and wind power.

Designing green cities is therefore possible. If the initial investment may seem prohibitive, in the face of the climate problem there is no longer any excuse.

We need to invest, no ifs or buts.

What is COP and why is it so important?

The Conference of the Parties, better known by the acronym COP, is much more than a simple international meeting. It is the beating heart of a global mobilisation, an irreplaceable forum where government representatives from every corner of the planet converge with a common objective: to formulate and agree on effective measures to counter the impetuous advance of climate change.

It provides a unique platform for negotiations and exchanges of ideas focused on how to improve our collective responses to the environmental challenges we are facing.

During the last edition COP28, there was an unprecedented emphasis on the importance of integrating the perspective of younger generations into decision-making mechanisms. It was a clear recognition that today’s choices shape the world our children and grandchildren will live in.

Loss and damage

Technological innovation and strategic financing are two fundamental pillars in the war against the climate crisis, a fight that knows no borders and takes place on many fronts.

In this context, Italy’s announcement regarding the generous commitment of 100 million euros towards the Fund for losses and damages caused by climate change emerges not only as a gesture of international solidarity, but also as a symbol of a tangible commitment towards those who are more exposed to the devastating effects of this crisis.

Transition is the New Code Word

As we reflect on the progress achieved since the unforgettable COP Paris 2015, it is impossible not to notice that the scenario has transformed dramatically.

The wind is blowing in the direction of renewable energies, which are increasingly establishing themselves as a pillar of the green economy thanks to their growing accessibility and economic convenience.

The qualitative leap, however, was more marked in the way in which these issues became priorities in the international political scenario. New regulations and stricter policies on emissions are tangible proof of a change in collective consciousness, a promise towards a more decisive and incisive action.

On the COP28 front, a new mantra clearly emerged: transition.

The Paris Agreement had already started a new path, but the new debate focused even more on the need to abandon fossil fuels, no longer just as a possibility, but as a decisive imperative.

Innovation and future challenges

Finally, speaking of eco-friendly technologies, the dialogues within COP28 revealed a stimulating picture of innovations and new challenges to face.

Sectors that are notoriously difficult to decarbonise, such as the heavy industrial ones, require a dedication to adopting low-emission technologies that can play a crucial role in this defining decade.

And despite the progress made to date, continuing on this path of progress requires a significant and proactive investment from the private sector, as well as a radical change in policies that – until recently – gave fossil fuels an advantage.

Future steps, therefore, must be targeted and guided with a clear vision and with the aim of a complete transformation towards a sustainable infrastructure.

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