COP28 update: Day 3, 2 December

COP28 moved into high gear on Saturday, with a flurry of announcements that maintained the early positive momentum while the high-level segment of the summit moved into its second day. For a while this afternoon it was hard to know which way to turn in case you missed another big story.

The COP programme shows next Tuesday as being Energy, Industry and Transition Day but you could have been forgiven for thinking it was today. Check out this (non-exhaustive) list of announcements:

  • COP28 President Sultan Al-Jaber announced that 117 countries have pledged to triple the world’s renewable energy capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030.
  • In the same speech Al-Jaber also unveiled the Industrial Transition Accelerator, an initiative aimed at “catalysing decarbonisation across heavy-emitting sectors, including energy, industry, and transportation, and accelerate the delivery of Paris-aligned targets.”
  • A coalition of more than 20 countries, including the US, UK, France, Romania, Sweden, the UAE, Japan and South Korea pledged to triple nuclear generation capacity.
  • Coal-rich Colombia joined an initiative calling for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • Ten countries, including the United States, the Czech Republic and Kosovo, joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance, bringing the total number of member states to 57. The US alone has more than 200 GW of coal capacity. Notable non-members include Japan, Australia, South Korea, Poland, Bulgaria and Turkey.
  • Around 50 private and publicly-owned energy companies launched the Oil & Gas Decarbonisation Charter, which calls on the oil and gas sector to reach net-zero emissions for their own operations by 2050. The charter also includes commitments to achieve near-zero methane emissions and no routine flaring by 2030.
  • Governments, philanthropic institutions and the private sector announced more than $1 billion in funding for methane reductions, and refreshed the Montreal Multilateral Fund to the tune of $965 million.

In addition to energy and industrial decarbonisation, there were a number of financial pledges as well.

The Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum saw three organisations – the Green Climate Fund, Allied Climate Partners, and Allianz Global Investors – agree to mobilise $5 billion in philanthropic, public and private funding to unlock long-term capital of $20 billion to advance climate and nature action.

US Vice-President Kamala Harris pledged $3 billion in US support to the Green Climate Fund, while contributions to the Loss & Damage Fund now total nearly $650 million. The COP Presidency is hoping this reaches $1 billion by the end of COP28: eyes are now on Australia and other Gulf states.

Observers at E3G called Saturday’s blizzard of pledges a “race to the top”, delivering a big shot of momentum for the energy transition.

Negotiations on matters of substance continued today, with talks on the high-profile Global Stocktake draft text revealing some reluctance among developing country Parties to accept a sectoral approach to both mitigation and adaptation, as well as global goals on the energy transition.

But in the light of all the energy and industrial announcements made today, it’s hard to see how they will resist the sheer flow of money and intent into sectoral efforts.

Article 6 discussions were paused during the morning, as Parties awaited new draft text based on the co-chairs’ informal notes. When the Article 6.2 text finally emerged in the early afternoon, it coincided with our own Article 6 event in the IETA Business Hub, a recording of which we’ve rushed out: watch it here.

Almost immediately after the text was uploaded to the UN website one of the speakers, Saudi Arabia negotiator Maria Al-Jishi, told the event that she was already receiving “extremely angry” WhatsApp messages from fellow negotiators unhappy about the state of the updated text!

On Article 6.4, Al-Jishi pointed out that the two recommendation documents on methodologies and removals that the Article 6.4 Supervisory Body submitted to the COP “are the most important pieces that will really make or break our ability to operationalise that mechanism,” and that they need to be quickly adopted.

“The mandate that came out of COP26 asks the Supervisory Body to come up with the recommendations, and they need CMA approval before they can start being implemented. And so every time CMA says no, that’s another year of delay.”

“I’m really hoping that we can get through CMA smoothly,” Al-Jishi added, “taking note of everyone’s concerns, receiving guidance on a way forward, but at least allowing the supervisory body to continue its operation instead of going back to the drawing board to rework the same documents with really very little progress.”

Al-Jishi expressed some sympathy for the private sector as well. “We need a decision on the process for authorisation because we cannot expect project participants to begin investing without clarity on what their investment is going towards, or what return on investment they would be expecting.”

Hannah Hauman of Trafigura told the event that host country Parties are impatient to understand what tasks will be required of them in approving Article 6.4 projects, as well as the more overarching UN rules.

“[Talking] about individual project implementation, we now need letters of approval; we need individual corresponding adjustments, concessions for not just the project, but what individual units, what percentage of those units in which years … these are more simple administrative processes. But these are very big hurdles for host country governments that are still working out what their local domestic policy is in terms of how they collect their levies and funds, and how they just assign this in terms of operational flows within their ministry.”

Hauman noted that the talks over the Article 6.4 rulebook are essentially about creating the ground rules for supply, but less so for demand. She compared this to Article 6.2 where bilateral approaches are dealing with both these aspects at the same time.

“Those clear demand signals in terms of which types of products are valued…are hugely important from the investor side. Yes, I have the ability to invest and produce, but is there someone who wants this good or service on the other side? The more clearly that demand framework is supported, the more the market can really scale again, from both sides of that equation.”

But back to those angry WhatsApp messages about the Article 6.2 text. The new draft is much longer than the previous version, to reflect all options put on the table by Parties.

There was a lot of pushback during the informal consultation this afternoon, but the mood seems constructive. Another session is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

There is some divergence of views on the degree of centralisation that is possible under Article 6.2, and this remains to be resolved.

The Article 6.4 stream of the talks is expecting a new draft text tonight or tomorrow morning, after which negotiators will meet for more informal consultations.

Coming up tomorrow at IETA’s COP28 Business Hub

IETA’s COP28 programme resumes on Sunday morning (Sunday?). 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.

0930-1100: Financing the Nature Removal Pathway: A Project Developer’s Story, with Sandeep Roy Choudhury (VNV Advisory Services), Svenja Telle (Base Carbon), Meilinda Suriani Harefa (Yagasu Indonesia) and Amy Thom (Verra). Event webcast.

1100-1200: The Financial Sector’s Pathways to Paris, with Maya Hennerkes (EBRD), Nadia Fettah Alaoui (Morocco), Hakan Ates (Denizbank), Brahim Benjelloun-Touimi (Bank of Africa), Hasmik Ghahramanyan (Central Bank of Armenia), Jean Boissinot (Banque de France) and Francis Malige (EBRD). Event webcast.

1130-1300: The Evolving Voluntary Carbon Market: Reconciling the Paradox Between Innovation and Supervision, with Simone Borghesi (EUI), Andrea Bonzanni (IETA), Manish Dabkara (EKI Energy), Amy Merrill (ICVCM) and Bianca Gichangi (Kenya). This event will not be webcast.

1500-1600: Catalyzing Nature-Positive Action through Biodiversity Credits – A Holistic Approach from the Global South, with Patricio Lombardi (Environmental Markets Fairness Foundation), Emilce Cuda (Pontifical Commission for Latin America), Alex Saer (Cercarbono) and Drea Burbank (Savimbo). Event webcast.

1500-1630: Sylvera Roundtable – Article 6: Seizing the Opportunity and Getting Quality Right, with Sam Gill, Sylvera. This event will not be webcast.

1730-1900: Making Article 6 Easier: Launch of the SPAR6C Toolbox for Article 6 Implementation, with Marshall Brown (GGGI), Malin Ahlberg (Germany), Randall Spalding-Fecher (Carbon Limits), Adriana Gutierrez (Colombia) and Perumal Arumugam (UNFCCC). Event webcast.

1900-2000: Growing and Harvesting High Integrity Carbon Crops, with Max DuBuisson (IndigoAg), Kristen Gorguinpour (CAR), Tommy Ricketts (BeZero), Pedro Martins Barata (ICVCM). Event webcast.

Don’t forget you can see the full programme overview (as well as all COP28-related IETA content) on our COP28 online hub!