Salterbaxter: COP 28 round-up

  • January 23, 2024

COP28, the 28th annual United Nations climate meeting held in Dubai, marked a significant step forward in addressing the global climate crisis. With over 70,000 delegates, including government officials, business leaders, activists, experts, scientists, and Indigenous Peoples, the summit provided crucial insights for businesses aiming to accelerate efforts in greening the global economy.

  1. Transitioning away from Fossil Fuels: COP28 concluded with the “UAE Consensus,” committing to accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems. Richer nations are expected to move quickly, but challenges remain, especially for developing countries. The agreement does not explicitly mandate a fossil fuel phase-out.
  2. Renewable and Efficiency Energy Focus: Global targets were set to triple renewable energy capacity and double energy efficiency improvements by 2030. Positive pledges included initiatives like the coal transition accelerator, the clean energy transition partnership, and commitments from countries to phase out fossil fuels.
  3. Just Transition Recognition: COP28 recognised the importance of a just transition, linking it with gender equality. A partnership was launched, endorsing commitments on finance, data, and equal opportunities. However, critics highlighted the lack of human rights safeguards.
  4. Loss and Damage Fund: A historic agreement established a loss and damage fund to aid developing countries, with an initial pledge of $700 million. However, financial commitments fell short of mitigation and adaptation goals, requiring potential business contributions.
  5. Low and Zero-Emission Technologies: Countries were urged to accelerate low- and zero-emission technologies, raising questions about the feasibility of carbon capture and storage. Fossil fuel prices remain volatile, while renewables prove more cost-effective.
  6. Sustainable Food Production Recognition: COP28 recognised the role of sustainable agriculture in combating climate change. Commitments from food and agriculture companies, along with financial pledges, aim to reduce warming and transform global food systems.
  7. Climate and Nature Link: Initiatives highlighted the connection between climate and nature, with commitments to halt deforestation and integrate actions from the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the Paris Agreement.
  8. Role of Cities, States, and Regions: A greater focus on the role of cities, states, and regions emerged, with the first Local Climate Action Summit endorsing sub-national contributions to climate action.

Implications for Businesses:

  1. Set Science-Based Targets: Align business strategies with science-based (SBTi-validated) targets for climate and nature, incorporating long-term net-zero plans.
  2. Supply Chain Carbon Reduction: Accelerate action to reduce carbon across international supply chains, engaging suppliers and investing in cleantech practices.
  3. Climate + Nature-Resilient Business: Prioritise building a climate and nature-resilient business strategy, understanding risks and dependencies.
  4. Social Impact Considerations: Address social issues impacting businesses, particularly healthcare systems’ preparedness for climate-related health impacts.
  5. Investment Support: Businesses play a crucial role in supporting blended finance programs, aligning public and private investments, and scaling up necessary investments.
  6. Quality Disclosure Data: Expect continued pressure on businesses to provide detailed data sets across the value chain for assessing and accelerating climate action.
  7. Local Market Knowledge: Leverage local market knowledge to understand global implications as cities, states, and regions enact progressive commitments.
  8. Public-Private Collaboration: Foster collaboration between the private and public sectors, recognising the complexity of the climate challenge and the need for radical collaborations.

Download the Full COP28 Report by Salterbaxter

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