A significant win for climate diplomacy on the back of strong technological tailwinds, daunting challenges ahead

Key takeaways

  • The stakes at COP28 could not have been higher. Hosted in Dubai, UAE, from November 30th to December 12th, the outcomes of the first Global Stocktake (GST) were presented. The GST is the world’s first exhaustive check-up on progress towards meeting the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and it showed that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions levels have exceeded interim targets and are off-target for the near-term goals of 2030. For the first time, following the outcomes of the GST, 198 countries agreed on a landmark deal to transition away from fossil fuels.
  • On the first day of COP28, the Loss and Damage fund was operationalised. 18 countries have now committed to the fund, with $725 million pledged. While the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage fund is a great success of COP28, more still needs to be done for EMDEs, such as a new collective quantified goal on climate finance to replace $100 billion per year commitment to EMDEs made at COP15 in Copenhagen.
  • The Global Decarbonization Accelerator (GDA) was launched during COP28, a series of initiatives to accelerate the energy transition and reduce global GHG emissions, mainly in the industry, energy and the transport sectors.
    • These initiatives include the Global Pledge on Renewables and Energy Efficiency, which sets global targets to triple the global installed capacity of renewable energy and double the global rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030 compared to the previous decade.
    • Another initiative is the Industrial Transition Accelerator (ITA), which aims to accelerate the decarbonisation of key heavy-emitting sectors across industry, transport and energy, focusing on sub-sectors that generate 1/3 of global emissions.
    • Yet another is the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter, signed by 50 companies representing 40% of global oil production, who commit to zero methane emissions and end routine flaring by 2030 to total net zero operations by 2050 or sooner.
  • The negotiations at COP28 were also around the operationalisation of Art. 6 of the Paris Agreement, which might change the way the carbon markets operate. Convergence between compliance and voluntary carbon markets (beyond the ill-fated CDM) could significantly benefit climate mitigation actions. At COP28, a joint framework for voluntary carbon markets was announced, covering standards both on the demand side and supply side to ensure end-to-end integrity of voluntary carbon markets.
  • During COP28, significant attention was also given to biodiversity, gender equality, peace, and other topics that are interconnected to climate action. Key outcomes include the Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action endorsed by over 130 countries, committing to integrate food and food systems into their NDCs by 2025, and the Declaration on Climate Relief, Recovery and Peace signed by 74 countries and 40 organisations, aimed to ensure that climate action and finance reaches countries and communities that are highly vulnerable to climate change and threatened or affected by fragility, conflict, or severe humanitarian needs.
  • Pledges at COP28 mostly revolved around three out of the five key areas selected by the IEA to keep the 1.5°C objective of the Paris Agreement alive, which is a great success for what concerns climate negotiations. Yet, there is still a lot of room for improvement. COP28 pledges meet only 30% of needed emissions reductions: to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the glass is still mostly empty.

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Head of ESG Development & Advocacy, Special Operations
Viola DE VECCHI.jpg
ESG Advocacy Analyst
Aaron Mcdougall
Cross-Sector ESG Analyst, Head of Climate
Responsible Investment Specialist

A special thank you to Sanika Govekar, Nicole Jimenez Molina, and Douha Chokrellah for their contribution.