Wednesday | 22 May 2024

COP28 President-Designate calls for Energy Transition to be fast-tracked

Ahead of the COP28 climate conference, the Summit’s President-Designate, Sultan Al-Jaber, has outlined his vision, highlighting that energy transition needs to be speeded up and that reducing the use of fossil fuels is “inevitable.”

Amid concerns surrounding the Middle East’s oil interests undermining any science-based climate agreements, Dr Al-Jaber has published an Action Plan for the UAE-hosted Summit, which takes place in Dubai between November 30 and December 12, 2023.

Regarding energy, the UAE hosts are pushing for an agreement to double the annual rate of energy efficiency improvements, in line with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) research.

And the UAE has also said it will support a new global pledge to treble global renewable energy capacity this decade, with an emphasis on increasing renewable investments in emerging and developing markets.

The President-Designate, who is the UAE Minister for Industry and Technology and its Special Envoy for Climate Change, has said that it is “inevitable” fossil fuel production and combustion will be reduced and “essential” for the successful delivery of the Paris Agreement.

Nevertheless, for the time being, the UAE is sticking to its guns that fossil fuels should be phased down, as opposed to phased out, which is what was advocated at COP27. But the UAE does appear to be moving away from its initial stance that fossil fuel emissions should be the focus, rather than the actual reduction of fuel usage.

Dr Al-Jaber’s team has stated an ambition to continue the work on climate adaptation commitments made last year, to improve climate protection for four billion people by 2030.

And, as mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement, COP28 UAE will deliver the first ever Global Stocktake – a wide-ranging evaluation of progress against climate goals.
A major priority within the UAE’s Action Plan is that countries need to improve the containment of emissions from food and land use, within their Paris Agreement Commitments.

Ahead of the Dubai Summit, nations are being asked to put forward National Food System Transformation Plans, as part of their National Climate Adaptation Plans, to include their carbon accounting objectives.

Linked to this, the COP28 team will host a special Summit ministerial meeting on climate and health, for which Germany, Kenya, Egypt, Brazil, the UK and Fiji have already confirmed attendance.

Commenting on the Action Plan, the UN’s climate chief, Simon Stiell, said: “Few months remain until COP28. Under the leadership of the UAE Presidency, 1.5˚C is the north star, with a focus on delivering a resilient future for all. This requires specifics. We know what needs to be done. COP28 must agree [on] the ‘how’.”

Rallying support for COP28

Meanwhile, following a meeting with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, Dr Al-Jaber has said that the world’s most vulnerable populations must be placed at the heart of climate action. The Prime Minister is a former Chair of the V20-CVF countries, a global forum dedicated to supporting economies systemically vulnerable to climate change.
The meeting was part of Dr Al-Jaber’s on-going discussions with global leaders to rally support for COP28. He called on Bangladesh to continue sharing its innovative climate solutions with other vulnerable countries.

Acknowledging the Prime Minister’s leadership on climate adaptation and on food and agricultural innovation, Dr. Al-Jaber said: “Bangladesh is very aware of the urgency of the need to address climate change, as it faces from heatwaves to floods. And while Bangladesh contributes only 0.25 percent of global emissions, the country’s goal of 40 percent clean energy by 2040 shows real leadership.”

Prime Minister Hasina said: ‘‘I welcome COP28’s focus on lives and livelihoods and putting people at the centre of climate action, in particular the focus on food systems transformation.

“I hope that COP28 will make a realistic assessment of the progress made and close the huge gaps that remain in climate finance and technology transfer.

“As a fellow advocate for the climate vulnerable, I hope that under the strong leadership of Dr Sultan, COP28 will progress operationalising the Loss and Damage Fund, in line with the COP27 agreement.”

After the meeting, Dr. Al Jaber co-chaired a roundtable on climate action, where he stressed the importance of keeping the 1.5˚ target within reach.

COP28 President outlines vision for climate conference, including ‘inevitable’ reduction in fossil fuels (edie.net)

COP28 President-Designate, Prime Minister of Bangladesh call for world’s most vulnerable to be placed at heart of climate action (msn.com)

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