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World Leaders walked the grand open-air, flag, and tree-lined Al Wasl Plaza in the Blue Zone in Expo City, Dubai, today to kick off the World Leaders Summit.  

If there was any doubt yesterday, it is certain today. Whether or not world leaders commit to a fossil fuel phase-out is the BIG QUESTION of COP28. 

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened today’s summit siding with calls to phase out fossil fuels. He did not parse words: “The 1.5°C warming limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning fossil fuels. Not reduce. Not abate. Phase out.”

Notable, too, was a tweet from  Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, adding to the pressure on President Biden to commit to phasing out fossil fuels.

Important to know: Limiting the warming of our planet’s atmosphere to no more than 1.5 degrees Centigrade is essential to avoid climate catastrophe. 

Source: United Nations.

According to the UN, based upon the consensus of climate science, “If global warming exceeds 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, there will be more heat waves, longer warm seasons, and shorter cold seasons. At 2°C of global warming, extreme heat would more often cross critical tolerance thresholds, devastatingly impacting agriculture and human health.”

Every fraction of a degree increase in warming can be measured in millions of human lives at risk. That is why we must not only commit to phasing out fossil fuel extraction and burning but also take aggressive action to cut methane and other greenhouse gases from existing pollution sources.

What’s Next? Tomorrow is another BIG DAY. The US national pavilion will open at 9 am local time. Earthworks will co-host a press conference with participation from Earthworks’ Senior Policy Advocate and a close partner and impacted community activist, John Beard, from Port Arthur Community Action Network (PACAN). 

Saturday’s COP28 theme is also METHANE. President Biden has yet to finalize EPA rules to #cutmethane. Maybe tomorrow will be the day.

Stay tuned.

US Climate Action Network Event, Friday. From right to left: Brenna Two Bears, Indigenous Environmental Network; Sheila Bearfoot, Wisdom Keepers Delegation; Collin Rees, Oil Change International; Russel Armstrong, Hip Hop Caucus; and Ben Goloff, Center for Biological Diversity.