Pioneering oceans and climate research featured in the Monash pavilion
Sea ice plays a crucial role in regulating the Earth’s climate. Devastating ice loss since 2016 suggests that Antarctic sea ice has entered a new low-coverage state driven by ocean warming. The Monash pavilion at COP28 showcases Southern Ocean temperature and sea ice extent anomalies, with the current low-coverage sea ice state in orange, adapted from Ariaan Purich and Edward Doddridge (2023), a contribution to the Monash-led Securing Antarctica's Environmental Future (SAEF) program.
What is COP? View
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) is the preeminent global forum for climate change which shapes the global climate change narrative as well as economic and geopolitical affairs.
The UNFCCC secretariat (UN Climate Change) is the United Nations entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change. The Convention includes almost all the countries of the world (198 Parties) and is the parent treaty of the Paris Agreement (2015) with the main aim of keeping the global average temperature rise close to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Whilst we are not tracking well against these targets, every degree counts and so it is vital that we maintain pressure and stay focused on this goal. The UNFCCC is also the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
The ultimate objective of all three agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development. Find out more.
What makes COP28 significant? View
COP28 is significant for many reasons.
At COP28, governments from around the world will conduct the first ever Global Stocktake setting out the progress made by their respective countries on the emissions reduction commitments known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) made during the Paris Agreement in 2015.
Loss and Damage
Loss and damage refers to the negative consequences that arise from the unavoidable risks of climate change, prolonged heat waves, rising sea-levels, desertification, bushfires, species extinction and crop failures, health impacts etc. As the climate crisis unfolds, these events will happen more and more frequently, and the consequences will become more severe. Loss and damage is a focal issue at COP as well as the representation of diverse voices, including youth, women and girls, Indigenous Peoples and other groups who will bear the worst impacts of climate change. One of the breakthroughs at COP27 was the Loss and Damage Fund for Vulnerable Countries. Important discussions on Loss and Damage will continue at COP28 and beyond.
COP28 is expected to be the largest ever COP with an anticipated attendance of over 80,000 delegates and 140 Heads Of State from around the world.
Background to Monash University’s engagement with COP View
COPs attract tens of thousands of national and local representatives and senior ministers from all member nations, as well as industry and corporate leaders from energy, technology and finance sectors, international NGOs, leading research institutions, youth organisations and student networks in higher education, and international media. COP28 will be one of the largest COPs, with over 80,000 delegates expected. The activities at COP resonate across all three Global Challenges set out in Monash’s Impact 2030 Strategic Plan – Climate Change, Thriving Communities and Geopolitical Security. For Monash as Australia’s largest and most global university with campuses in Australia, Italy, China, India, Malaysia and Indonesia, and with partnerships with institutions across the world, COPs represent an opportunity to engage with and contribute to local, regional and global communities and partners to make a material impact for climate action.
Monash University first attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as an observer organisation at 2016’s COP22 and became a UN Sustainability Goals signatory the same year. In 2018, at COP24, countries had to agree on the Paris Agreement guidelines for a fair and equitable transition to a low carbon economy powered by renewable energy technologies. Monash was the first Australian university to commit to an energy reduction target of net zero emissions by 2030 and was awarded the 2018 Momentum for Change award recognising our sustainability leadership status.
Over the past decade Monash has engaged in COPs by sending a delegation representing the best and brightest consisting of both Monash academics and students who have driven our climate action agenda by training global youth in climate diplomacy, speaking at country pavilions e.g. Indonesia, Thailand, China, Australia etc and leading workshops. COPs provide an unprecedented opportunity for Monash to share our climate expertise and build and strengthen climate networks and partnerships.
We are excited to be hosting a Blue Zone pavilion at COP28 in Dubai from 30 November - 12 December. It will be the first time in history that an Australian university has hosted a pavilion in the Blue Zone. Our aim is to use this opportunity to convene partners from across the region to have the hard discussions needed to turn the dial on climate action.