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COP 28: Dubai, UAE (Special)

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    9th Dec, 2023

Context

1. Loss and Damage Fund: COP-28 summit

Context: Fund, meant to compensate countries dealing with effects of climate change, gets commitments of atleast $450 million; all developing countries are eligible to apply for the Fund.

About COP 28:

  • COP 28 is held in Dubai, UAE
  • It is an important convention organized under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

Loss and Damage Fund:

  • Member countries agreed to make operational a Loss and Damage (L&D) fund that is meant to compensate countries already dealing with climate change.
  • To be based at the World Bank but managed by an independent secretariat, commitments worth atleast $450 million have already been made by countries though billions of dollars are still needed to meet its purpose.
  • The L&D fund was first announced at the conclusion of COP-27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, last year, but it has taken five separate meetings since then, via ‘transitional committees,’ to get to a position where countries could unanimously agree on a text.

Positive start

  • Contributions by Developed Countries: Financial commitments have been made by
    • The United Arab Emirates $100 million – the host country
    • Germany $100 million
    • The United States $17 million
    • The United Kingdom $50.6 million (approx.)
    • Japan $10 million as part of the L&D.
    • The European Union also committed to $145 million, over and above the German contribution.
  • The World Bank will be the “interim host” of the fund for a period of four years. It is expected to operate in accordance with the principles of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.
  • All developing countries are eligible to apply for and every country has been “invited” to contribute to the fund.
  • Payments are voluntary and a certain percentage has been set apart for a category of countries called Least Developed Countries and Small island developing states.

$1.5 trillion bill

  • Loss and damage from climate change cost about $1.5 trillion ($1,500 billion) in 2022, according to a study.
  • Several developing countries and some of the poorest lost an average of about 8.3% of GDP due to climate change.
  • The fund, as it stands now, doesn’t specify how often it will be replenished.

2. ALTERRA: UAE Commits $30bn to Climate-Focused Investment Vehicle

Context: The UAE announced a US$30 billion commitment to the newly launched catalytic climate vehicle, ALTÉRRA.

About ALTÉRRA:

  • With this US$30 billion commitment, ALTÉRRA becomes the world’s largest private investment vehicle for climate change action and will aim to mobilize US$250 billion globally by 2030.
  • It aims to steer private markets towards climate investments and focus on transforming emerging markets and developing economies, where traditional investment has been lacking due to the higher perceived risks across those geographies.
  • ALTÉRRA has been established by Lunate, an independent global investment manager, and is domiciled in the Abu Dhabi Global Market.

Need of ALTERRA:

  • By 2030, emerging markets and developing economies will require US$2.4 trillion every year to address climate change.
  • That is why COP28 made fixing climate finance a key pillar of its Action Agenda and has worked to deliver ambitious solutions, including mobilising private markets at scale.

Benefits of ALTERRA:

  • ALTÉRRA provides a transformational solution for attracting private capital.
  • Its scale and structure will create a multiplier effect in climate focused investment, making it a vehicle like no other.
  • Its launch reflects the COP Presidency’s Action Agenda and the UAE’s efforts to make climate finance available, accessible and affordable.
  • ALTÉRRA is one of a range of finance-led initiatives launched during COP28 to accelerate the global transition to a low-carbon economy and build climate resilience.

Structure of ALTERRA:

  • ALTÉRRA will have an innovative two-part structure to spur
    • new ideas, incentivize policy and regulatory frameworks
    • identify solutions to rapidly deploy capital across the entire value chain of the new climate economy.
  • It has a dedicated investment focus on supporting four key priorities that underpin COP28’s Action Agenda, namely:
    • Energy Transition
    • Industrial Decarbonization
    • Sustainable Living
    • Climate Technologies.

ALTERRA and Climate Change:

  • In-line with COP28’s message of full inclusivity, ALTÉRRA TRANSFORMATION will also create opportunities to leverage concessional finance to further attract climate investment to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
  • The ALTERRA vehicle will add to the UAE’s leading change as a trusted facilitator at the global crossroads between North, South, East and West.
  • ALTÉRRA, in collaboration with BlackRock, Brookfield and TPG as inaugural launch partners, has committed US$6.5 billion to climate-dedicated funds for global investments, including the Global South.

ALTERRA and India:

  • From the vehicle’s initial commitment, immediate capital investment has been earmarked for the development of over 6.0 GW of new clean energy capacity in India.
  • This includes the construction of 1,200 MW of wind and solar projects that will begin producing clean power by 2025.

3. COP 28: 22 CountriesPledge to Triple Nuclear Power Capacity

Context: In a landmark move, the United States, along with 21 other nations, declared its intention to triple the global generation capacity of nuclear power by 2050.

COP 28 and Triple Nuclear Power Capacity

  • The announcement, made at the United Nations' COP28 climate summit in Dubai, underscores a growing consensus among governments worldwide that increased use of nuclear power is essential to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions.

Key Countries Leading the Pledge:

  1. U.S. and Allies: The United States spearheads the initiative, joined by countries such as Canada, the UK, France, South Korea, and the UAE. This collaborative effort emphasizes the global recognition of nuclear power as a vital component of sustainable energy solutions.
  2. European Perspective: European nations, including France, aim to reduce dependence on oil and gas from Russia by boosting nuclear power. While acknowledging the need for substantial investment, the move aligns with a broader strategy to enhance energy security and combat climate change.

Challenges from Past Experiences:

  1. Delays and Cost Overruns: Nuclear power projects, as seen in the expansion of the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia, have faced delays and cost overruns. The two-unit expansion at Vogtle, featuring Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, experienced significant delays, with Unit 3 finally coming online seven years later than initially expected.
  2. Financial Considerations: The cost to build the Vogtle units surpassed $34 billion, more than double the original estimates. This highlights the financial challenges associated with large-scale nuclear projects.

Global Nuclear Generation Capacity:

  1. Current Status: As of the end of 2022, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported global nuclear power generation capacity at approximately 371 GW, with 411 reactors in operation.
  2. The Pledge's Ambitious Goal: The commitment to triple nuclear energy production by 2050 aims to address climate change by harnessing the carbon-free nature of nuclear power.

Industry Responses:

  1. American Nuclear Society (ANS): Craig Piercy, the executive director of ANS, commended the commitment, calling it "real, tangible climate action." Piercy emphasized the role of nuclear energy in meeting clean energy needs, halting rising temperatures, and lifting millions out of poverty.
  2. Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI): Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of NEI, highlighted bipartisan support in Congress for nuclear power, emphasizing its vital role in achieving a clean-energy grid and securing economic prosperity.
  3. Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA): Judi Greenwald, executive director of NIA, welcomed the global goal of tripling nuclear energy capacity, noting its alignment with NIA's call for a doubling of nuclear energy in the U.S. by 2050.

Way Forward:

  • The pledge to triple global nuclear power generation signifies a paradigm shift in the approach to climate strategies.
  • As nations commit to ambitious targets, the focus on nuclear energy as a reliable, low-carbon source underscores its importance in achieving a sustainable and resilient future.
  • While challenges persist, the collaboration among 22 countries signals a collective determination to harness the potential of nuclear power on a global scale.

4. COP28 climate meet | India not among 118 nations that pledged to triple green energy

COP 28: The Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge

  • The ongoing COP28 climate summit in Dubai has witnessed a significant development with 118 nations signing the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge.
  • This commitment aims to triple the worldwide installed renewable energy generation capacity to at least 11,000 GW and double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements to over 4% by 2030.
  • However, notable exclusions from the list of signatories are India and China, the latter being the world's leader in installed renewable energy capacity.

Background and Genesis of the Pledge

  • The idea of substantially increasing renewable energy capacity and energy efficiency was first proposed by European CommissionPresident Ursula von der Leyen in April 2023.
  • It gained more traction when it was articulated as a concrete proposal in the New Delhi G20 declaration in September 2023.

India's Notable Absence and Reasons Behind It

  • Despite being part of the G20 declaration, India chose not to sign the pledge.
  • The reasons behind this decision remain unclear, with some sources pointing to "problematic" language in the text.

India's Existing Commitments and Capacity

  • Nationally determined contributions (NDCs): India, as part of its nationally determined contributions (NDCs), has already committed to installing 500 GW of electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
  • As of March 2023, India has close to 170 GW of installed capacity, raising questions about the necessity of tripling this capacity to align with the pledge.

Legal Sanctity and Inclusion in Main Negotiating Texts

  • Lacks legal sanctity: The pledge, as it stands, lacks legal sanctity and is yet to be included in the main negotiating texts.
    • There is ongoing global disagreement about whether large dams, considered as renewable sources by India, truly fall under this category.

Global Signatories and Noteworthy Exceptions

  • The United States and Brazil, with the second and third-largest installed renewable energy capacity, have signed the pledge.
  • However, China, the global leader in installed renewable energy capacity, is also conspicuously absent.

The G-20 Text and India's Association with the Commitment

  • G-20 Goals: The G-20 text in September 2023 did not explicitly mention energy efficiency goals but indicated that signatory countries would "pursue and encourage efforts to triple renewable capacity."

Disappointment and Hope for India's Future Role

  • Net-zero commitments: Some experts find India's non-participation disheartening, emphasizing the need for phasing down fossil fuels to meet net-zero commitments.
  • Despite this, there is hope that India, with its existing ambitious targets, will champion renewable energy and energy efficiency commitments at COP-28.

Way Forward:

  • The absence of India from the list of nations signing the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge raises questions about the country's approach to global commitments and the nuances of aligning national targets with international pledges.
  • As COP28 unfolds, the hope is that discussions will not only shed light on India's decision but also pave the way for collaborative efforts in combating climate change on a global scale.

5. COP28: Global Stocktake Assessment

Context: At COP28, countries will examine how much progress they have made in curbing global warming — a process called the Global Stocktake, which is happening for the first time — since the Paris Agreement in 2015.

COP 28 and Global Warming

  • The COP28 climate summit in Dubai has brought together representatives from nearly 200 nations, along with business leaders, climate scientists, Indigenous Peoples, journalists, and various experts.
  • Against the backdrop of 2023 set to be the warmest year ever recorded, the summit holds significant importance for assessing global progress in curbing climate change.

Global Stocktake: Evaluating Progress Since Paris Agreement

  • Global Stocktake: The COP28 marks the initiation of the Global Stocktake, a crucial evaluation of the progress made by nations since the Paris Agreement in 2015.
  • Comprehensive assessment: This comprehensive assessment involves governments examining their efforts in curbing global warming, setting the stage for future actions.

Stakes at Hand:

  • Stringent national policies: Countries will need to consider making more stringent national policies, setting ambitious goals, and financially supporting less affluent nations in transitioning to clean, green energy.

The United Nations Climate Change's Perspective: UNCC's Call to Action:

  • United Nations Climate Change (UNCC): The United Nations Climate Change (UNCC) emphasizes the significance of this moment, describing it as a time to "take a long, hard look at the state of our planet and chart a better course for the future."
  • Global collaboration: The UNCC positions COP28 as a critical juncture for global collaboration and decisive climate action.

Five-Year Plan: Evolution from COP21 to COP28

The Paris Agreement's Inception:

  • COP21 in Paris:In 2015, COP21 in Paris marked a landmark shift in global climate efforts.
  • Kyoto Protocol: Unlike the previous Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement included all countries in the fight against the climate crisis, making it mandatory for each nation to set emissions-reduction targets, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Mandate of the Paris Agreement:

  • 2 degrees Celsius: The Paris Agreement set the goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial era, with a more ambitious target of staying under 1.5 degrees Celsius to minimize severe climate change impacts.
  • Periodic assessments: This mandate necessitated periodic assessments, with the first scheduled Global Stocktake occurring in 2023 and subsequently every five years.

The Initial Global Stocktake Report and Its Implications

UN's Assessment:

  • Technical report: The UN published a technical report in September 2023 based on the first Global Stocktake.
  • Global community's actions:The findings indicated some progress, but the global community's actions fell short.
  • Need for accelerated approach:The report stressed the need for accelerated implementation, an all-encompassing societal approach, and increased ambition to align with the Paris Agreement goals.

Unveiling Opportunities and Challenges:

  • Good practices and proposals: The emphasis on good practices and proposals to accelerate implementation showcases the ongoing effort to bridge existing gaps and move towards the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Rising Global Temperatures: A Call to Urgent Action

Alarming Temperature Increase:

  • 2 degrees Celsius: Amidst these evaluations and reports, the stark reality remains that the average global temperature has surged by almost 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.
  • Urgency for nations: This underscores the urgency for nations to collectively address climate change and implement measures that align with the goals set in the Paris Agreement.

Way Forward:

  • As governments, experts, and stakeholders convene at COP28, the urgency of the climate crisis is undeniable.
  • The Global Stocktake, a mechanism designed to hold nations accountable, is not just an assessment of progress but a call for collective action.
  • The decisions made at this summit will reverberate in the trajectory of global efforts to combat climate change and shape the planet's future for generations to come.

6. COP28 climate meeting: The fossil fuel question

Context: Oil, gas, coal, and their derivatives account for at least 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, COPs over the years have not even acknowledged the role of fossil fuels in global warming.

COP 28 and Fossil Fuel:

The annual climate change conferences have historically sidestepped the crucial issue of fossil fuels' role in global warming. However, the ongoing COP28 in Dubai is witnessing a potential shift, sparked by controversial remarks from Sultan Al Jaber, the conference's presiding figure.

The Furore in COP 28:

  • Fossil Fuel controversy:Al Jaber's comments during an online event, where he downplayed the necessity of eliminating fossil fuels to achieve the 1.5-degree Celsius target, have triggered a significant controversy.
  • Conflict of Interest:As the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the world's 12th largest oil company, Al Jaber's role as COP28 president has drawn criticism for potential conflicts of interest.

The Fossil Fuel Debate:

  • GHG emissions:Fossil fuels, responsible for at least 80% of greenhouse gas emissions, have been a contentious topic in climate negotiations.
  • Core Issues:Despite their significant contribution to climate change, influential countries have attempted to reduce emissions without addressing the core issue of fossil fuel usage.

The Indian Initiative:

  • Phase-out of fossil fuels: India took a bold step during COP27, calling for a phase-out of fossil fuels in the final conference outcome.
  • Phase-down of coal:While the mention was vague, urging the acceleration of a "phase-down" of unabated coal, it marked the first official acknowledgment of any fossil fuel in COP decisions.
    • The terms "phase-out" and "phase-down" remain subject to negotiation and contention.

The Sensitive Players:

  • Avoiding Discussions:Powerful nations like the US, EU, China, India, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, which are major producers or consumers of fossil fuels, have traditionally avoided explicit discussions on phasing out these resources.
  • Broader Perspectives:They preferred framing climate objectives in broader terms like emission reductions and temperature targets.

COP28's Turning Point:

  • Fossil fuel phase-out: Sultan Al Jaber's invitation for countries to submit proposals on fossil fuel phase-out suggests a potential breakthrough at COP28.
  • Intense negotiations: While the conference's final decisions may include a mention of the need to phase down fossil fuels—a groundbreaking development after three decades—the specifics and schedules are likely to face intense negotiations.

Way Forward:

  • The unfolding events at COP28 indicate a paradigm shift in climate negotiations, with fossil fuels finally entering the spotlight.
  • The pressure to address this long-ignored elephant in the room is mounting, driven by the urgent need to meet 2030 targets.
  • As discussions progress, the world waits to see whether COP28 will pave the way for concrete actions towards reducing dependence on fossil fuels and combating climate change.

7. PM Modi to launch green credits initiative at COP28

Context:The program, which will initially focus on water conservation and afforestation, envisions issuing green credits for plantations on waste and degraded lands, and river catchment areas.

World Climate Action Summit: COP 28

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi is set to launch a green credits initiative, aimed at encouraging the establishment of plantations, during his two-day visit to the United Nations climate conference being held in the United Arab Emirates.
  • The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is being held in Dubai.

Green Credits Program

  • The environment ministry in October 2023 announced a green credits program–defining it as a market-based mechanism designed to incentivize voluntary environmental actions across diverse sectors by various stakeholders like individuals, communities, private sector industries, and companies, according to the ministry of environment, forest and climate change.
  • In its initial phase, it will focus on water conservation and afforestation.
  • Green credit program: The green credits initiative is based on the green credit program and basically envisions the issue of green credits for plantations on waste and degraded lands, and river catchment areas in order to restore their vitality.

LeadIT 2.0

  • The Prime Minister will launch another initiative called LeadIT 2.0 i.e. ‘Leadership Group for Industry Transition’, at an event co-hosted by India and Sweden.
  • Joint initiative:LeadIT 2.0 is a joint initiative launched by India and Sweden in 2019 at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.
  • It is aimed at fostering collaboration among decision-makers, as well as bringing together public and private sector companies to aid in the acceleration of industry transition to net-zero emissions.

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