COP28: A strong message for the global energy transition

In mid-December, the COP28 climate conference in Dubai ended with a historic declaration. For the first time ever, all participating states agreed to phase out energy from fossil sources and triple global renewables capacity.

COP28: Paukenschlag für die globale Energiewende©

According to the EU Climate Change Service (Copernicus), 2023 was the warmest year since records began in 1850 – with a global average temperature that was 1.48° Celsius higher than the average of the years 1850 to 1900. Scientists expect the critical 1.5° Celsius mark to be topped in some of the coming years. This does not mean that the 1.5° C target set out in the Paris Agreement has been failed, as this target relates to longer-term averages. However, quick action is more important than ever before: global emissions are continuing to rise, reaching new record levels in 2023.

'Global Stocktake’ finds „massive need for action”

The ‘Global Stocktake’ (GST) was completed and discussed during COP28. This instrument is a key element of the Paris Agreement and used to assess global progress on climate action every five years. The results serve as a source of information for all countries, and as a basis for tightening national climate targets. The new National Determined Contributions (NDCs) are to be tabled before COP30 begins in 2025. In a nutshell, the Stocktake shows a massive need for action if the gap between emissions developments and the 1.5° C target is to be closed.

„Energy Package” sets out steps for emissions reduction

In response to the results of the GST, the final document of COP28 sets out political recommendations for action. Steps for the mitigation of greenhouse gases are enshrined in the so-called Energy Package, which represents a major success and marks clear progress.

For the first time, all participating countries have agreed to move away from coal, petroleum and natural gas. The decisions to double the global annual rate of efficiency improvements and to triple renewables capacity by 2030 also constitute major achievements. After all, despite the large increase in global renewables capacity at costs that are comparatively low, and despite the global potential of these technologies, progress has so far been too slow and geographically unbalanced. This is the first time that the pivotal role of renewables and energy efficiency in the global transition has been fundamentally recognised in a COP declaration and that their potential has been highlighted also in comparison to other solutions.

Historic agreements on ‘climate finance’

Countries are encouraged to present ambitious emission reduction targets for 2025 in their NDCs, so that the 1.5°C target can remain within reach. The Global Stocktake (GST) also highlights the need for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030 (compared to 2019), so that the 1.5°C will not be exceeded.

The conference also brought about a historic agreement on the implementation of the Loss and Damage Fund, which is to be worth $700 million. The funding is especially intended for highly vulnerable developing countries.

Climate finance also played a central role in the conference overall, with $12.8 billion worth of pledges made for the Green Climate Fund and new pledges for other funds. Nevertheless, it is clear that these funds will not nearly suffice to finance the global economic transition. Most of the funding must be generated by redirecting existing capital flows and by mobilising private capital. A lot of hard work to this effect was also done at COP28.

COP28 outcomes set the course for the future

The results of COP28 send very clear signals to investors, businesses and other stakeholders. It is now important to continue to work on implementing and anchoring the COP28 outcomes and on accelerating the global energy transition. This means tapping the major potential that the energy transition and climate action offers for all countries and converting it into economic development, new jobs and better health – whilst also supporting the necessary structural change in a way that is socially just. New markets and business models, particularly in the energy sector, play a major role in this.

Parallel to the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, the Federal Government adopted its first Strategy on Climate Foreign Policy (in German only). This brings together the climate policy goals and measures of the various ministries so as to harness the potential in the best possible way and prevent climate change from having detrimental consequences.