COP28 Prez seeks plans to cut 22 gigatons of greenhouse emissions in 7 years - Hindustan Times
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COP28 Prez seeks plans to cut 22 gigatons of greenhouse emissions in 7 years

ByJayashree Nandi
Oct 19, 2023 09:57 AM IST

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said global emissions need to fall by 43% relative to 2019 levels to keep global warming under 1.5°C

Sultan Al-Jaber, the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28) President, has asked 198 member countries for plans to cut 22 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions in the next seven years to keep global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Sultan Al-Jaber, the COP 28 President. (AP)
Sultan Al-Jaber, the COP 28 President. (AP)

In a letter to the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on Wednesday, Al-Jaber wrote they need to collectively cut 22 gigatons of emissions by 2030. He added that requires energy transition efforts on a massive scale.

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Al-Jaber asked the parties to join the COP28 pledge for tripling global renewables capacity (reaching 11 TW by 2030) and doubling the annual average global rate of energy efficiency improvements between now and 2030 (reaching 4%). He urged them to come to COP28 from November 30 to December 12 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with tangible commitments to realise this goal.

“...the phasing down of demand for and supply of all fossil fuels is inevitable and essential. We need to collectively cut 22 gigatons of GHG emissions in the next 7 years to keep 1.5°C within reach. That means working towards an energy system free of unabated fossil fuels by mid-century, with action on coal being a priority.”

He added they must do this while ensuring energy security, affordability, and accessibility to support broader development objectives.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said global emissions need to fall by 43% relative to 2019 levels to keep global warming under 1.5°C. Global CO2 emissions from the energy sector remain high, reaching a new record of 37 gigatonnes in 2022 instead of falling as the International Energy Agency (IEA) envisaged in 2021.

In a report titled Net Zero Roadmap last month, IEA attributed the spike in emissions to an increase in the demand for fossil fuels mainly by the energy crisis of 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 1.5°C threshold may be breached perhaps only temporarily or the world could come close to it, HT reported on October 11, citing climate experts flagging a tipping point in the climate crisis.

The World Meteorological Organisation said the average global temperature between January 1 and September 30 this year was 0.05°C higher than the equivalent period in the warmest calendar year (2016) so far and 1.40°C higher than the pre-industrial average (1850-1900). June, July, August, and September were the four warmest months on record.

Al-Jaber urged world leaders to come prepared to respond to the existing gaps in climate action with increased ambition and accelerated implementation building on COP27. “All leaders will be invited to make National Statements and outline their concrete commitments to bring the world on track.” He added ending new coal is now an imperative. “...ending new approvals of unabated coal plants will enable the phase down of demand for fossil fuels and is critical to keeping 1.5 °C within reach.”

Announcements at COP28 could include revised domestic targets and/or revised nationally determined contributions. This will include updated renewables or energy efficiency targets for 2030, backed by specific plans, funding packages, accelerated delivery timelines and/or technical assistance packages, policies, and projects or support to international or bilateral programmes such as the UAE’s $4.5 billion pledge to scale up clean energy in Africa.

Global stocktake

The first global stocktake towards achieving the purpose and long-term goals of the Paris Agreement will be concluded at COP 28. It is the most comprehensive assessment of global action on climate change to date.

The UAE hosted an informal ministerial consultation on stocktake on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. The participants outlined their views and expectations for its outcome.

Al-Jaber said there is a level of convergence on the need to deliver a meaningful outcome that responds to the existing gaps, to the progress achieved, and informs ambition and implementation going forward in accordance with the provisions of the Paris Agreement. “...differences remain on some very important issues such as addressing equity considerations, ensuring that there is coherence between the ambition on action with ambition on implementation and support and the consideration of pre-2020 elements.”

The stocktake synthesis report released in September said global emissions were not in line with modelled global mitigation pathways consistent with the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. It added there is a rapidly narrowing window to raise ambition and implement existing commitments to limit warming to 1.5°C.

EU calls for fossil fuel phase-out

In a statement on October 17, the European Council set out the European Union’s position for COP28. It said it would endorse a phase-out of fossil fuels and flagged the need for all countries to scale up their efforts to mobilise financing from all sources to support climate action for loss and damage.

The council stressed the transition to a climate-neutral economy will require a global phase-out of unabated fossil fuels and a peak in their consumption in this decade. It highlighted the importance of having the energy sector predominantly free of fossil fuels well before 2050, as well as of striving for a fully or predominantly decarbonised global power system in the 2030s.

The council called for leaving no room for new coal power since cost-effective emissions reduction measures are readily available and for a phase-out as soon as possible of fossil fuel subsidies, which do not address energy poverty or just transition.

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