As the curtains close on COP28 in Dubai, we reflect on some of the headlines from the negotiations.
“The earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth.” - HRH King Charles III
Over the years I have noticed an increasing business presence at COP. This is important. COP28 placed the private sector at the centre of talks, highlighting the role of business in the climate crisis.
The climate imperative draws everyone together. A strong and unified voice from the private sector is important when thinking about the diplomatic negotiations, technology and funding required to fight climate change.
Law also has an important role to play providing frameworks in which climate conscious actions are incentivised, rewarded and, as needed, penalised.
Some of the most notable and important pledges made at COP28 include:
The language on fossil fuels
Although the final text may not go as far as what many developed countries and climate activists would have liked, this was a historic moment nonetheless as fossil fuels were directly named in the agreement.
130 countries signed-up to a pledge to triple the world’s renewable energy capacity and double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements every year until 2030. Though whilst the US and EU have both signed, India and China are yet to do so.
“Energy efficiency is genuinely the largest, fastest and cheapest source of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. If that’s what this whole process at COP is about, then this is certainly the most important thing that can be achieved at these discussions.” - Jonathan Maxwell, CEO and founding partner of Sustainable Development Capital (SDCL)
The Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter
52 oil and gas companies, representing 40% of global oil production, have promised to make their operations net-zero by 2050 and to eliminate routine flaring by 2030 and to continue working towards industry best practices in emission reduction. To date this is the largest-ever number of NOCs to commit to a decarbonization initiative
More than 20 countries, including the US, UK, Australia and Japan, have pledged to triple their nuclear energy capacity by 2050. Actioning this will no doubt include many hurdles, namely the major scale-up necessary in many of the signatory countries as well as the potential for fuel bottlenecks and safety concerns.
Global Methane Pledge
Whilst there is an appropriate focus on carbon emissions, methane was very much on the agenda too. Several more countries joined the Global Methane Pledge which aims to reduce global methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030 giving the potential to prevent 0.2 degrees Celsius of warming by 2050. Of particular note are Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan - two of the world’s largest methane emitters signed this year.
Over $1 billion in funding was contributed to the Methane Finance Sprint was announced, intended to physical infrastructure and policy action to help reduce methane. Originally set up in April 2023, the initial goal was for the fund to reach $200 million – a stark achievement in terms of numbers.
Although not without the need for healthy scepticism, there is still room for optimism. With the inclusion of fossil fuels in the agreement for the first time, the inaugural trade day and the commitment of more finance for those on the front line of climate change.