COP23: Day Seven

Day Seven of COP23 looks at what can be done in industry, forestry, and human health in the final day before the big talks on implementing the Paris Agreement begin.

Global industries will play a vital part in reducing carbon emissions around the world. A lot is already being done through the ‘We Mean Business’ campaign that allows businesses to commit to climate action and the renewable energy 100 (RE100) that aims for businesses to run entirely off renewable energy. Over the course of COP23 more and more businesses have committed to both campaigns and there are more set to do so before the end of the climate conference. The alliance of American businesses that are at COP23 also made a statement reinforcing their commitment to helping transition the global economy to a carbon-free economy.

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Similar to oceans, forests are a huge carbon sink. Forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere and generally make the air healthier for us to breathe. As global carbon emissions have increased, evidence suggests that forests have become healthier themselves. However, we are now emitting more carbon than forests and oceans can absorb, increasing global ocean and air temperatures. Deforestation is also a huge problem around the world. In south-east Asia, there are huge amounts of deforestation affecting forests with many being cut down for rubber and palm oil plantations.

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Carbon emissions and air pollution are having detrimental effects on human health, just go to cities in China and India to see the thick smogs that shroud them. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UNFCCC secretariat signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to tackle the challenges of ensuring public health against the impacts of climate change. The MoU looks to provide guidance, improve the capacity of countries to address health in National Climate Action Plans, and help measure the progress countries are making in protecting health from climate change.

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The role of industry, forestry and human health overlap with each other. The reduction of emissions and reduced deforestation will benefit human health as well as reduce the human contribution to climate change. As we head into the second week of COP23, the hope is that there is an increasing number of announcements from the leaders of the nations involved at COP23 and many more positive steps are made towards ensuring we remain below the 2°C of global temperature rise that we need to remain below.

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