Protests, negotiations, and eyebrow-raising statements. Get the inside scoop on COP28 drama

Protests, negotiations, and eyebrow-raising statements. Get the inside scoop on COP28 drama

Greetings to our dedicated readers,

As the curtains fell on COP28 in Dubai, we witnessed not just a landmark moment in our journey towards sustainability but also a drama-filled episode in the climate change saga. The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was more than just controversy and intense negotiations; it was a stage for headline-grabbing moments, complete with protests and some eyebrow-raising statements from the COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber, who is facing a backlash over his claim that there is “no science” behind calls for a phase out of fossil fuels. Despite the drama, COP28 still scored some wins in the climate battle, showing we can make progress even in the thick of chaos.

Negotiations stretched into the night, with over 190 countries striving to shape the final communiqué. Key oil-producing countries, notably Saudi Arabia, strongly opposed any direct mention of fossil fuel reduction, favoring a focus on emissions abatement. This cautious approach drew criticism from many ministers and environmental activists, who sought a more decisive and clear path towards achieving net-zero emissions, reflecting a clash between environmental goals and economic interests.

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The summit's agenda was jam-packed with critical discussions, including the completion of the first Global Stocktake under the 2015 Paris Agreement, which is pretty much the ultimate health check for our planet, operationalizing funding arrangements for loss and damage, and establishing new collective goals for climate finance and global adaptation. The COP 28 Presidency's focus on energy transition, climate finance, people-centered approaches, and inclusivity set a clear tone for the discussions.

In the wake of COP28, it became evident that the summit marked a significant juncture for the Paris Climate Agreement. As per a BloombergNEF analysis, the summit's achievements were modest, achieving only a 3.6 out of 10 in ten vital areas crucial to fulfilling the Paris Agreement's objectives. Remarkably, among the G-20 nations, only three had established 2030 emission targets aligned with maintaining global warming below 1.5°C. The summit's first global stocktake was a pivotal moment, as nations grappled with the necessity of agreeing upon and implementing substantial policy recommendations.

Energy Transition: A Bold Commitment

At COP28, the subtle yet significant distinction between 'phase-down of fossil fuels’ or let’s say ‘phase-out of unabated fossil fuels’ took center stage, with 'phasedown' indicating a gradual reduction in fossil fuel use without a definitive end date, and 'phase-out' signifying a complete cessation of fossil fuel use. However, the term 'unabated' complicates the latter, allowing for the continued burning of fossil fuels as long as carbon emissions are captured before release into the atmosphere – a concept still unproven on a large scale. With over a hundred countries pledging to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030, this agreement signals a global acknowledgment of the urgent need to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

What This Means for Renewables?

COP28's final negotiated text includes commitments to triple renewables by 2030. The decision at COP28 marks a significant shift in the global energy landscape, moving beyond mere symbolism to concrete action in expanding renewable energy and reducing emissions. This unanimous commitment from almost two hundred countries to cut down on fossil fuel consumption reflects a strong, worldwide agreement on the crucial role of renewable energy in addressing climate change.

Interestingly, the agreement doesn’t explicitly demand the cessation of coal, oil, and gas usage. This reflects the practical stance taken by world leaders, acknowledging the different abilities and situations of countries in transitioning to new energy sources. This isn’t a sign of weak commitment but rather a strategic and inclusive approach, aiming for steady and uniform progress across varied global economies.

COP28 marked a watershed moment in renewable energy advancement. The summit concluded with an unprecedented pledge to phase down fossil fuel use, with over a hundred countries committing to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030. This commitment, part of the International Energy Agency's pillars for limiting global warming, indicates a united global shift away from fossil fuels, rallying resources and incentives towards renewable energy expansion. This historic text, a first after decades of UN negotiations, underscores the significant step the world has taken in recognizing and mobilizing towards renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydropower​​.

Despite these advancements, COP28's outcomes also highlight significant challenges in the renewable energy sector. Key issues include funding, particularly for developing countries that need substantial investment to meet their energy needs and growth aspirations. For example, India requires an estimated $293 billion to achieve its goal of tripling renewable capacity by 2030. Furthermore, cost uncertainties due to fluctuating prices of key renewable inputs like aluminum, copper, and steel, and potential labor shortages in the renewable sector, pose significant hurdles. These challenges are exacerbated by geopolitical tensions and trade protectionism, which threaten to disrupt renewable supply chains and escalate construction costs. The global renewable sector faces a predicted shortage of seven million skilled workers by 2030, underscoring the need for extensive workforce training and development​

Source: PublicRelay

Progress and Challenges Ahead

In a dramatic twist to the unfolding narrative of global climate action, India and China, two of the world's largest emitters, have notably refrained from participating in the COP28 commitments. This absence is particularly striking given their significant strides in renewable energy development. India and China's commitment to expand their renewable capacities, especially in solar and wind energy, is critical to the global climate equation. Yet, their non-participation in COP28 casts a shadow of uncertainty over the collective global effort. It raises pressing questions about the synchronization of global climate goals and the strategies of key players.

As the world grapples with funding challenges, cost unpredictability, labor shortages, and geopolitical complexities, the path forward demands not only innovative solutions but also an unprecedented level of international collaboration and consensus-building. The absence of these two giants from the COP28 agreements serves as a stark reminder of the intricate and often unpredictable nature of global climate politics, underscoring the urgent need for a more cohesive and inclusive global approach to tackle the climate crisis.

Major Commitments and Achievements

COP28's final negotiated text includes commitments to transition away from fossil fuels, set economy-wide emission reduction targets, and triple renewables by 2030. Over $85 billion in funding has been mobilized, with significant initiatives launched, such as ALTÉRRA, the UAE's $30 billion finance vehicle, and various declarations on agriculture, health, and climate.

At COP28, it seems like the big money talks got a rain check until COP29. Next year's headline act? The debut of the New Collective Qualitative Goal (NCQG) - the hotly anticipated successor to the 2009 promise of $100 billion a year in climate finance from the wealthier nations to their developing buddies. The stakes? High. The goal? To match the hefty $5.8 to $5.9 trillion price tag estimated for developing countries' needs by 2030. No pressure, right?

Looking Forward: The Road to Net Zero

The commitments made at COP28 represent a major step forward in our global climate action. However, the journey ahead is long and filled with challenges. The nuanced and complex nature of these agreements, coupled with the varying timelines and capacities of different countries, means that achieving these ambitious goals will require sustained effort, innovation, and collaboration.

At COP28, young climate warrior Licypriya Kangujam stole the show. Just 12 years old, she crashed the stage with a sign demanding, “End fossil fuel. Save our planet and our future.” Her bold move was a wake-up call, a fiery reminder from the younger crowd that time’s ticking and they're fed up with slow action. Licypriya’s gutsy act threw a spotlight on youth's anxiety and urgency about their future, shaking up the usual, stiff climate talk with a dose of real talk.

We Value Your Thoughts

As we reflect on COP28's outcomes and look towards a renewable-driven future, we invite your thoughts and perspectives. What do you see as the most significant challenges and opportunities in the transition to renewable energy? How can we collectively overcome these challenges and capitalize on these opportunities? Share your views with us, and let's continue this important conversation.

Thank you for being part of this journey towards a greener, more sustainable future.

Warm regards,

The Renewable Leader Team

Recent Policies Changes

📊 Bidding Capacity & Participation: The minimum bid capacity is now set at 10 MW, and existing players with untied capacity are eligible to bid. This change aims to encourage the capacity expansion of existing projects.

📜 Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Term: The reduction of PPA duration from 25 to 20 years have generators reevaluate tariffs to ensure project viability due to the shortened PPA tenure.

People’s Movements

State-owned Power Finance Corporation (PFC) announced Parminder Chopra has been appointed as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of the company with effect from 14 August,2023.

ReNew Power, India’s leading renewable energy company, has announced the appointment of Kedar Upadhye as group chief financial officer (CFO).The company has also appointed Vikash Jain as its global general counsel and Vikram Kapur as chief growth officer.

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