Extreme weather events such as floods, fires, and droughts are becoming more frequent, and severe climate disasters are unavoidable. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “We are hurtling towards disaster, eyes wide open. It’s time to wake up and step up.” Guterres said that limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C is still possible but will require a 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. However, current policies will lead to a 2.8°C temperature rise by the end of the century, which “spells catastrophe”.
Time is Running Out!
According to ERA5 data, November 17, 2023, was the first time that global surface temperatures exceeded 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Furthermore, 2023 has been the hottest summer (June-August) since weather records began in 1940.
This year's conference will be the first review of the progress of countries since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. It is also the first time a Faith Pavilion will be introduced, highlighting the efforts and appeals of faith organizations regarding climate issues.
Due to appeals from multiple organizations, this year's conference is expected to be mostly vegetarian. To promote climate-friendly food and host a carbon-neutral conference, COP28 UAE will offer 1.5°C-aligned menus throughout the event, with at least two-thirds of the menus being vegan or vegetarian.
This year, Tzu Chi will have ten representatives joining from the United States, Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan. Tzu Chi will be collaborating with over twenty organizations on various activities, including ten forum discussions, two interfaith dialogues, a prayer ceremony, a three-day general exhibition, and two interview programs.
After years of effort, the food system, especially plant-based diets, has become a crucial topic. Tzu Chi will connect diverse organizations and units to discuss how to have greater access to healthy plant-rich diets from multiple perspectives and practical experiences.
This year, the conference will be setting up a Faith Pavilion, aiming to protect the Earth through the power of faith. As a Buddhist representative and as part of the Environmental Faith Committee, Tzu Chi will be organizing various interfaith activities and dialogues regarding its role in combating climate change as a faith-based organization.
This year, Tzu Chi has five representatives below the age of 35, coming from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan. Each representative will have the opportunity to speak and interact at side meetings, including discussions on climate change and its effects on women.
Learn more about the events and talks that Tzu Chi will be participating in at the COP28: COP28 - Tzu Chi Center