Monday, June 17, 2024

COP28: Nearly 200 nations agree to triple renewables, double energy efficiency by 2030

The two-week 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28) concluded on Wednesday after few hours of overrun with a historic agreement by 198 parties (197 countries plus the European Union) to deliver a new era of climate action.

The parties agreed a landmark text named The UAE Consensus, which sets out an ambitious climate agenda to keep 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.

The UAE Consensus calls on parties to transition away from fossil fuels to reach net zero, encourages them to submit economy-wide Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), includes a new specific target to triple renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030, and builds momentum towards a new architecture for climate finance.

The UAE Consensus, which follows a year of inclusive diplomatic engagements and two weeks of intense negotiations, reflects the COP28 Presidency’s goal to provide the most ambitious response possible to the Global Stocktake and delivers on the central aims of the Paris Agreement.

“The world needed to find a new way.

By following our North Star, we have found that path,” said COP28 President, Sultan Al Jaber, during his closing speech.

“We have worked very hard to secure a better future for our people and our planet. We should be proud of our historic achievement.

“I promised a different sort of COP. A COP that brought everyone together — private and public, civil society and faith leaders, youth and indigenous peoples. Everyone came together from day one. Everyone united, acted and delivered.”

Throughout the COP28 process, Al Jaber and the COP28 Presidency team have expressed determination to deliver “a plan that is led by the science” and to define a new way for this and future COPs, based on the inclusion of diverse peoples and elevating the needs of the Global South.

“It is a balanced plan that tackles emissions, bridges the gap on adaptation, re-imagines global finance and delivers on loss and damage,” said Al Jaber.

“It is built on common ground. It is strengthened by inclusivity and it is reinforced by collaboration. It is an enhanced, balanced, but make no mistake, historic package to accelerate climate action.”

Major commitments contained in the final negotiated text include: an unprecedented reference to transitioning away from all fossil fuels to enablethe world to reach net zero by 2050; a significant step forward in the expectations for the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by encouraging “economy-wide emission reduction targets”; building momentum behind the financial architecture reform agenda, recognizing the role of credit rating agencies for the first time, and calling for a scale up of concessional and grant finance; a new, specific target to triple renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030; and recognizing the need to significantly scale up adaptation finance beyond the doubling to meet urgent and evolving needs; Outside the Global Stocktake, COP28 delivered historic negotiated outcomes to operationalize Loss and Damage, securing $792 million of early pledges, providing a framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), and institutionalizing the role of the Youth Climate Champion to mainstream youth inclusion at future COPs.

Throughout 2023, the COP28 Presidency has taken bold and decisive steps to deliver beyond the negotiated text through its ‘Action Agenda’ which spans four pillars: fast tracking a just and orderly energy transition; fixing climate finance to make it more available, affordable, and accessible; focusing on people, nature, lives and livelihoods; and fostering full inclusivity in climate action.

The scale of achievements delivered under the Action Agenda has been unprecedented for any COP and testament to the willingness of representatives from a huge range of sectors and industries to take positive action.

Under the total Action Agenda at COP28, over $85 billion in funding has been mobilized and 11 pledges and declarations have been launched and received historic support.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at gulatiians@gmail.com)

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