By Hazel Scott/ASU
For the first time, an Alabama State University professor will represent the University at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC Secretariat) 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28).
Dr. BK Robertson, Professor and Executive Director of Graduate Programs in Biological Sciences, will travel to the Expo City Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as an ASU delegate from November 30 to December 12. The two-week conference will be hosted by Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, president of the COP28 talks who heads the petrostate’s oil and renewables companies.
Robertson will join world leaders and delegates from more than 200 governments, including UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and England’s King Charles. Environmental charities, community groups, think thanks, businesses, universities, and faith groups will also take part.
“I am delighted to be nominated as the first person from ASU to attend COP28 as a delegate representing not only Alabama State University, a member of the Global Council for Science and Environment (GCSE) based in Washington, D.C., but also serving on the Liberian delegation, a country in West Africa,” said Robertson. “This will certainly put ASU on the map for global climate change policies.”
As a delegate, Robertson will gain important insight during discussions on how to limit and prepare for future global climate change.
“My role will be to work with the GCSE and the Liberian delegation on policies with regard to carbon emissions reduction, regulations with regard to carbon credits, carbo neutrality, etc.,” he said.
In addition to attending the vital discussions of the event, Robertson can participate in several other activities, such as panel discussions centering on the health implications of climate change.
Attending this event, Robertson iterated, impacts ASU faculty and student research.
“For the past three years, ASU has sponsored its own mini-climate Teach-In event on campus and has trained six members of the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia in early warning signs of climate (issues),” he added.
Robertson hopes to share the outcomes of this once-in-a-lifetime experience with the wider ASU community.
The conference has been held annually since the first UN climate agreement in 1992. It is used by governments to agree on policies to limit global temperature rises and adapt to impacts associated with climate.
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 has near universal membership (198 Parties) and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Agreement and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The ultimate objective of these 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 enable sustainable development.
“The Paris Agreement and the following climate action(s), significantly helped in reducing emissions. As of September 2023, the world is on track to reach the targets of the Paris Agreement, i.e., having more than a 50 percent chance of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. More effective international cooperation and collaborations are crucial for reaching the targets of the Paris Agreement,” Robertson pointed out.