COP28 update: Day 2, 1 December

It wasn’t the smoothest start to a COP High-Level segment you ever saw: the main highway from Dubai city to the Expo City event was shut for four hours to allow the VIPs to race in and race out, while inside the Blue Zone, great tracts of real estate – including most of the coffee outlets! – were cordoned off to allow the hosts to choreograph their red carpet moment. But what’s a COP without long lines and parched mouths?

Despite the logistical “carnage”, as one observer put it, Thursday’s dramatic agreement to operationalise the Loss & Damage Fund has certainly galvanised the leadership of this COP. On Friday morning, the co-chairs of SBSTA and SBI issued a set of “textual building blocks” for a draft decision on the Global Stocktake, which included options to “phase down/out fossil fuels, phase down/out/no new coal, tripling renewables, doubling energy efficiency, the role of transitional fuels, the importance of a just energy transition”.

Various statements made so far at COP continue to reference “unabated coal power” and “carbon management/removal”, and these are likely to be among the central debating points this year. In his opening address yesterday, COP28 president al-Jaber faced the issue head-on, saying “it is essential that no issue is left off the table. And yes, as I have been saying, that includes the role of fossil fuels. I know there are strong views about the idea of including language on fossil fuels and renewables in the negotiated text.”

Seasoned observers say that the fossil fuels issue is going to remain politically thorny, but they see more traction gathering around the COP Presidency’s proposed commitment to triple renewable energy capacity to around 11 TW by 2030. We understand that there may be an agreement on this goal as soon as tomorrow. This, observers say, is another example of the Presidency’s astute strategy for this COP: get early wins and bank them.

IETA’s programme of side events also got under way this morning with a stirring session looking at the voluntary carbon market. We hosted Annette Nazareth of the ICVCM, Mark Kenber of VCMI and our old friend Kelley Kizzier of the Bezos Earth Fund – a really high-powered panel. Mark told the session that there are companies preparing to make VCMI-aligned climate claims in the coming weeks, that that organisation is going to publish “pre-issuance” guidance for corporates who are investing in credit projects.

As is common during COPs, a raft of interesting reports are being published by non-Party entities, and this one from the Eastern Africa Alliance on Carbon Markets and Climate Finance caught our eye this morning.

Another important development: the International Organization for Standardization has published its principles, requirements and guidance for achieving and demonstrating carbon neutrality.

Carbon market announcements are also featuring high up the news agenda at COP, with Carbon Pulse reporting on Friday that Turkey’s ETS will begin in 2025. The article cited a Turkish official as saying the decision to progress the country’s market is explicitly linked to the EU’s implementation of its Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, and indeed the CBAM has been another hot topic in the first couple of days in Dubai.

The BASIC group of countries on Thursday tabled a proposed amendment to the COP agenda to add their “concerns with unilateral trade measures related to climate change, and their potential adverse impact on equitable and just transitions, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.” The COP Presidency managed to avoid re-opening the agenda, however.

Finally, Vietnam today became the latest country to sign a Just Energy Transition Partnership agreement with the UK, the US, the EU and a raft of European states to help it meet its 2030 and 2050 climate targets. The deal is worth nearly $16 billion, around half of which will come from GFANZ member banks.

Informal consultations were held this morning on both Articles 6.2 and 6.4. Parties made comments on the SBSTA informal notes (6.26.4) that were prepared before COP, focusing on options they thought was missing. Comments covered the entire text of the informal notes.

Parties will now send written comments to co-facilitators, and a revised Article 6.2 text is expected tomorrow or Sunday morning. No clear timeline for a new Article 6.4 text was announced today, but the next informal consultation session is scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon.

There were some discussions on the issue of revocation of authorisation of Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes, with Singapore, Ukraine and the UK all expressing the view that there should be no revocation allowed, while some other Parties expressed long-held views that revocation should be a matter for individual Parties to decide.

We understand there is also disagreement on whether Article 6.4 emission reductions should migrate to national registries (or to the international registry for parties that will use that option). The US appeared to be strongly against migration to the international registry, while most other delegates were in favour.

We also expect a fierce discussion on the 6.4 Supervisory Board’s recommendations on methodologies and removals, but they will not be discussed this week since this agenda item falls under CMA, which starts next week.

Coming up tomorrow at IETA’s COP28 Business Hub

IETA’s COP28 programme resume on Saturday morning. Many of the events hosted at the IETA Business Hub will be webcast – just click on the link by each event to participate! All event times are listed in Gulf Standard Time, which is three hours ahead of Central European time and two hours behind Singapore.

0800-0930: Carbon Removal: What Role for the Middle East?, with Travis Caddy (Evident), Steve Kelly (1Point5), Thomas Bosse (Enowa), Talal Hasan (44.01) Tim Kruger (Orogen) and representative from Abu Dhabi. Event webcast.

1100-1200: Synergies Unleashed: Bridging Article 6, VCM, and Exchange Dynamics for a Sustainable Future, with Corinne Boone (ACX), Lisa DeMarco (Resilient), Wei Mei Hum (ACX), Carlos de Mathias Martins Jr. (EQAO) and Amy Merrill (ICVCM). Event webcast.

1230-1345: The State of Article 6 Negotiations: What Remains to be Done to Unlock Article 6 Engagement in 2024, with Andrea Bonzanni (IETA), Luis Panichelli (Argentina), Felix Schmidt (Switzerland), Lisa DeMarco (Resilient), Suraj Vanniarachchy (Macquarie) and Hannah Hauman (Trafigura). Event webcast.

1345-1500: Facilitating Article 6 of the Paris Agreement: The Role of New Digital Infrastructures in Reporting and Implementation, with Dirk Forrister (IETA), Dinesh Babu (CAD Trust), Hania Dawood (World Bank), Tashi Pem (Bhutan), Hassaan Ghazali (UICCA) and Finn O’Muircheartaigh (BeZero). Event webcast.

1500-1630: CEO Roundtable: Leading The Way To Net Zero, with Dirk Forrister (IETA), Jakob Stausholm (Rio Tinto), Shemara Wikramanayake (Macquarie Group) and Andres Gluski (AES Corporation). Event webcast.

1700-1800: COP28 Climate Finance Hour – Who Can Pay for the Carbon Removal?, with Katie Sullivan (IETA), Robert Höglund (Carbon Gap), David Ungar (Carbon Finance Labs), Carla Woydt (CEEZER) and Naveed Tariq (EON). Event webcast.

Saturday finishes with a reception at the IETA Business Hub lounge from 1800-2000. Join us!