The 28th Conference of Parties (COP) has now concluded, a key opportunity for identifying global solutions to limit global temperature rises. It marks the completion of the first Global Stocktake that was initially agreed upon under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Stocktake paints a concerning picture regarding the world’s advancement towards meeting the Paris Agreement targets, these concerns have been discussed and deliberated over for the last two weeks. With a plethora of topics covered and numerous announcements made, here are Rho’s key take aways from the event.
Over 20 countries signed the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy. The pledge’s core includes the aim of working together on the goal of tripling nuclear energy capacity globally by 2050 and inviting shareholders of international financial institutions to encourage the inclusion of nuclear energy in energy lending policies. Countries endorsing this, include: US, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ghana, Hungary, Japan, Republic of Korea, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and UK.
Under the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, 118 countries pledged to triple renewable energy capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030 from 2022 levels. This includes increasing renewable capacity to least 11 terawatts, and to double the rate of global energy efficiency improvements from roughly 2% to an annual figure of 4%. However, notably China and India did not join the other 118 countries in the pledge. China already accounts for half the world’s renewable energy capacity, with this set to increase. India’s failure to sign onto the pledge came as a surprise given it supported a similar pledge at the G20 summit held recently in Delhi.
The Battery Energy Storage System Consortium (BESS Consortium) were joined by an additional 11 countries in the first week of COP28. A further 15 companies, banks and organisations signed on as resource partners. It advances the goal of deploying 5GW of BESS in low or middle-income countries by the end of 2024. Commitments demonstrate progress towards enabling 400 GW of renewable energy by 2030 in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 and solving energy poverty.
Furthermore, the Supercharging Battery Storage Initiative was outlined. Recently launched by the Clean Energy Ministerial, it aims to boost stationary battery storage development and deployment, and reduce technology costs. The initiative supports the building of a diversified, sustainable, responsible, secure, and transparent supply chain, to promote grid stability and reliability, as well as encouraging the integration of renewable energy globally.
Additionally, Breakthrough Energy Bill Gates and The European Investment Bank announced their first two projects of the EU–Catalyst partnership. The partnership creates a blueprint for public-private support for clean tech innovative technologies, aiming to accelerate the deployment of innovative low-carbon technologies. One project receiving a grant from the EUR240 million fund is the Ottana CO2 Battery Project, developed by Energy Dome. A long-duration energy storage technology based on liquified CO2 providing storage for 10 hours or longer.
A Global Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Transition Roadmap was launched at COP28, recognising the increasing EV penetration worldwide. It offers a coordinated plan to help developing countries adopt ZEVs. Backed by 56 countries, it describes how wealthier governments can support and encourage EV adoption, calling for increased EV financing, improved charging infrastructure roll out, and lifecycle management of EV batteries.
The Global Decarbonisation Accelerator (GDA)
The GDA was unveiled by the COP28 Presidency as a series of landmark initiatives designed to speed up the energy transition and drastically reduce global emissions. It is a comprehensive plan aimed at wider system change, focusing on rapidly scaling the energy system of tomorrow; decarbonising the energy system of today; and targeting methane and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases. The GDA includes the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge as well as the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter (OGDC). Under the OGDC, 50 companies, representing over 40% of global oil production have committing to zero methane emissions and ending routine flaring by 2030, as well as total net-zero operations by 2050. Further to this, it includes the launch of the Industrial Transition Accelerator (ITA), which will accelerate decarbonisation across key heavy-emitting sectors and encourage policymakers, technical experts and financial backers to cooperate with industries to utilised investment and scale up emissions-reduction projects. The GDA also covers the Global Cooling Pledge, which targets substantially reducing global cooling emissions by 68% by 2050.
The presidency set out the COP28 Net Zero Transition Charter, mobilising emissions accountability for the private sector. The charter intends to encourage organisations to make public net-zero emission targets and produce periodic reporting on their progress. It also provides guidance on steps that can be taken to strengthen net-zero pledges. Currently just under 40% of private companies have committed to net-zero targets.
Six independent carbon crediting programs, accounting for 90% of global carbon credits, announced collaboration to accelerate countries’ mitigation efforts and assist them in achieving NDCs and Paris goals. The signatories included: American Carbon Registry, Architecture for REDD+ Transactions, Climate Action Reserve, Global Carbon Council, Gold Standard, and Verra/Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program.
Meanwhile, the UN Development Program launched the High-Integrity Carbon Markets Initiative which seeks to increase the equity and transparency of carbon markets. It builds on the voluntary and country to country markets outlined in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Further conversations covered the importance of transition credits, high-integrity carbon credits generated from the emission reduced through retiring a coal fire power plant (CFPP) early and replacing it with clean energy sources. To be utilised as a viable market solution they can reduce the economic gap for early retirement of CFPPs.
Numerous private and mixed climate related funds have been announced at COP28 amounting to billions of dollars’ worth of new funding. Additionally, several financial institutions and funds made climate finance pledges and agreements including the World Bank, and the IMF. Moreover, COP28 saw further realisation of the Loss and Damage Fund, initially announced at COP19, with agreements on operationalisation.
The final days of COP28 were marred in controversy over the wordings of the concluding agreement. The initial draft failed to include the phrasing ‘phase-out’ of fossils fuels, pointing towards continuing strong reliance and commitment to fossil fuels. However, after almost an extra day of talks an agreement was reached, calling for countries to “transition away” from fossil fuels “in this critical decade”. After hours of negotiations the world has united to move away from fossil fuels. Within the agreements and announcements there is much to be hopeful for, however the challenge now lies in implementing them.
Image Credit: COP28