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What Can We Takeaway From COP28

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COP28, held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023, is a pivotal event in the global climate change discourse, though full of controversies, it has served as a critical platform for global leaders, activists, and experts to discuss and strategize on tackling climate change. Here are some of the highlights:

First global stocktake - Draft decision -/CMA.5 Outcome of the first global stocktake:

  • FOSSIL FUELS: Transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly, and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science; Phasing out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and do not address energy poverty or just transitions, as soon as possible;

  • COAL: Accelerating efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power;

  • METHANE EMISSIONS: Accelerating and substantially reducing non-carbon-dioxide emissions globally, including in particular methane emissions by 2030;

  • RENEWABLE ENERGY: Tripling renewable energy capacity globally and doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030; Accelerating zero- and low-emission technologies, including, inter alia, renewables, nuclear, abatement and removal technologies such as carbon capture and utilization and storage, particularly in hard-to-abate sectors, and low-carbon hydrogen production;

  • TRANSPORTATION: Accelerating emissions reductions from road transport through a range of pathways, including the development of infrastructure and rapid deployment of zero and low-emission vehicles;

  • BIODIVERSITY: Emphasizes the importance of protecting, conserving, and restoring nature and ecosystems to achieve the Paris Agreement temperature goal, including through enhanced efforts towards halting and reversing deforestation by 2030, forest restoration, and through other terrestrial and marine ecosystems acting as sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and by protecting biodiversity, while ensuring social and environmental safeguards, in line with the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework;

In an unprecedented move, the COP28 agreement has called for a strategic shift in our energy systems, transition away from fossil fuels - the first time fossil fuel have been explicitly included in a COP agreement. However, the COP28 deal falls short of the desired phase-out as expected. The transition is primarily focused on the energy system, without mentioning other sectors like plastics.

While the COP28 deal is a legally binding document, it allows nations the flexibility to design their own transition pathways. This presents a unique opportunity for corporates and investors to play a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable future.

COP28 marked significant progress in climate action with key agreements and pledges. The Loss and Damage Fund was operationalized to assist vulnerable developing countries, with the UAE, Germany, UK, Japan, and the U.S. making notable commitments, although the total pledged is far from enough. Over 60 countries pledged to reduce cooling-related emissions by at least 68% globally by 2050, while China has previously announced to boost the energy efficiency of its cooling products by 25% and public buildings by 30% by 2030. The Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, signed by 123 countries, commits to tripling the world’s installed renewable energy generation capacity to at least 11,000 GW by 2030 and doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements to over 4% every year until 2030. Furthermore, leaders endorsed commitments of over $186 million to drive climate action and protect and restore nature, with 30 countries joining the Mangrove Alliance for Climate. COP28’s Food, Agriculture and Water Day saw key announcements on global water scarcity and food security, with more than USD $7.1 billion mobilized for climate positive action in the food system sector…

In addition, 143 countries and regions have joined the Climate and Health Declaration, 80 countries and regions have joined the Climate Relief, Recovery and Peace Declaration, 76 countries and regions have joined the Gender Equality and Fair Transition Declaration, and 37 countries and regions have endorsed agreements and commitments such as Hydrogen Energy Development.

Beyond COP28, it’s important for corporates to maintain a focus on areas, such as sustainable finance, sustainable farming and food system, water security challenges, energy trainsition,, zero and low emission vehicles, sustainable cooling technologies, managing value chains risks in deforestation, and more to constantly update their strategies based on the evolving climate situation and technological advancements. Follow us to start exploring the latest frontier for ESG and sustainability trends.

Moreover, China – U.S.: Sunnylands Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis, read more on our analysis of the statement here 


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