Climate Change

Countdown to COP28: temperature growth in Serbia is 60% above global average

climate change dialogue serbia cop28 un undp

Photo: UNDP

Published

November 27, 2023

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Published:

November 27, 2023

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There is a 99% probability that 2023 will be the hottest year in history because temperatures have been so high for almost 11 months that only a mini-ice age could change it. When 2023 takes the title, an even more amazing record will be set – the ten-year period from 2014 to 2023 will be the hottest ever on the planet. Climatologists say that the probability of achieving the latter record, based on all previous experience, was equal to winning the lottery. This is the scene set for the 28th Conference of the Parties to the Convention Conference – COP28, which will start in a few days.

In anticipation of the most important world meeting on climate change, Serbia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, the United Nations (UN) in Serbia, and the UN Development Program (UNDP) organized an event called Dialogue on Climate Change.

According to the participants, Serbia is warming 60% faster than the global average. The minimum damage due to extreme weather events since 2000 is estimated at EUR 6.8 billion, and 70% was caused by high temperatures and drought.

However, the representatives of the Government of Serbia pointed out that the country is preparing adaptation measures to prevent a multiple increase in losses due to climate change.

Dokić: We are working on strategic documents

climate change dialogue serbia cop28 sandra dokic

Sandra Dokić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said climate change in Serbia requires urgent action. The global temperature increase averages 1.1 degrees Celsius, and in Serbia it is 1.8 degrees, she added.

The damage in agriculture just in 2012 and 2017 was higher than EUR 3.5 billion

The minimal amount of damage and loss caused by extreme weather events since 2000 has been estimated at EUR 6.8 billion, of which 70% from high temperatures and drought, followed by floods. The damage in agriculture just in 2012 and 2017, she said, was higher than EUR 3.5 billion.

Serbia, in her words, is rapidly working on strategic documents.

Serbia has adopted the first Programme for Adaptation to Changed Climatic Conditions for the period 2023-2030

The ministry has adopted the Law on Climate Change, and the first Programme for Adaptation to Changed Climatic Conditions for the period 2023-2030, with an Action Plan, was also prepared.

The 25 most urgent measures have been defined, Dokić said.

Serbia also adopted the first Low Carbon Development Strategy for the period 2023-2030 with projections until 2050, which served as the basis for the revision of the National Determined Contribution, which the country has submitted to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Joffre: EU will invite major emitters at COP28 to jointly revise climate targets

Emmanuel Joffre, the ambassador of the European Union to Serbia, pointed out that the world has not done enough to prevent the global temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees, adding that it makes the task of COP28 even greater.

According to him, the EU is on track to lower the emissions by 55% by 2030, but, as Europe is responsible for only 8% of global emissions, the EU will invite the main emitters at COP28 to jointly revise the climate goals.

The EU is helping Serbia to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix, increase energy efficiency, and diversify natural gas supply routes, through the construction of a gas pipeline with Bulgaria, Joffre stressed.

Jakob: The UN believes that transition must be just

According to Francoise Jacob, UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia, there are a lot of expectations from COP28, but she singled out four of them: strengthen the link between climate action and the sustainable development goals, focus on cities and how they can contribute to climate action, strengthen  the link between the fight against climate change and biodiversity, and secure financing for climate action.

She also said Serbia has done a lot in setting the regulatory framework, but that now action is needed. Climate action does not only mean measures in energy, but in all economic sectors, including agriculture, transport, and infrastructure, Jakob said and added that the UN believes the transition must be just and not increase inequalities.

Reducing emissions and adapting to climate change is becoming a priority

climate change dialogue serbia cop28 vladimir djurdjevic

According to Professor Vladimir Đurđević from the Faculty of Physics in Belgrade, the current level of discomfort from high temperatures in Serbia is substantial. He said Serbia prepared the Digital Climate Atlas with all climate data for vulnerability and risk assessment, timely planning for adaptation to climate change in numerous sectors and at all levels.

“I can tell you that the level of discomfort from high temperatures will double, and the number of heat waves will also at least double by 2050,” Đurđević said.

Đurđević: The digital climate atlas shows what temperatures, droughts, and heat waves will look like in 30 years

He acknowledged that adaptation measures seem logical, but that implementation is extremely complicated, requiring multisectoral efforts. Their implementation asks for additional effort from every one of us, but there is no other choice, Đurđević added.

The atlas offers what temperatures, droughts, heat waves will look like in 30 years, he stressed.

Speaking on the current climate situation, and 2023 as most likely the hottest year on record, Đurđević pointed out that if that happens, as of January 1, 2014, the previous ten years will be the hottest ever on Earth.

The probability of such a record in a normal situation is incredibly small, like winning the lottery, he said and added that reducing emissions and adapting becomes a priority.

Babović: The application will allow everyone to see if there are risks of 11 identified disasters at a certain location

UNHCR data shows that since 2000, one person has been displaced every second due to natural disasters, resulting in 30 million displaced people. Živko Babović, head of the Directorate for Risk Management and Civil Protection of the Ministry of the Interior, announced that a national strategy for disaster risk reduction until 2030 is being prepared.

For the first time, Serbia also prepared the Register of Disaster Risks, with the help of the EU and UNDP. Babović announced that an application is under preparation to be posted on the GEOSrbija portal, which will allow everyone to see if there are risks at a certain micro-location.

For four types of disasters the data has been prepared, and now the data for another seven will be provided, Babović stressed.

The issuance of emission licenses will begin soon

climate change dialogue serbia cop28 un dragana radulovic

Taxation of greenhouse gas emissions is currently not an obligation for Serbia, but its introduction is only a matter of time, especially with the start of the CBAM transitional period.

According to Dragana Radulović from the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Serbia is finishing the preparations for the introduction of the monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) system for industrial and energy facilities. It should enable Serbia for the first time to have data on the emissions of each emitter.

The introduction of the system was foreseen by the Law on Climate Change, adopted in 2021, but it was also necessary to adopt additional legal acts. Two have been already adopted, and the third will be adopted soon.

Radulović: The MRV system is the backbone for the carbon price or entry into the EU ETS

The introduction of the system begins with the issuance of emission permits by the ministry, Radulović stressed.

She announced that a portal called EGHG would be launched to facilitate the issuance of the permits and represent a contact point between the emitters and authorities.

The data on the emissions of each facility will allow operators to plan decarbonization measures in a timely manner, she explained. There is no decarbonization obligation yet but it could become reality at some point during the EU accession process, she added.

Vojinović: CBAM will affect 100-120 companies

The ministry has organized a set of training sessions for operators for the use of the EGHG portal.

“We want to have good relations with operators, because the MRV system is the backbone of a carbon price or entry into the EU ETS – after entering the EU, of course, because this is not an obligation now,” Radulović stressed.

Until the CO2 tax is introduced, companies in Serbia must comply with the CBAM.

Vukašin Vojinović, the senior advisor from the Circular Economy Service of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, said that six training sessions were held for companies that will be affected by CBAM.

The number of such companies is 100-120, and with the expansion of the scope of the tax, it could reach about a thousand, Vojinović added.

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