On Saturday 2nd December, 118 nations at the UN’s COP28 climate summit have committed to triple the global renewable energy capacity by 2030. This pledge is viewed as a crucial step toward diminishing the proportion of fossil fuels in the world’s energy production.
The COP28 announcements on Saturday encompassed various strategies aimed at decarbonising the energy sector, responsible for approximately three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions. These strategies included the expansion of nuclear power, reduction of methane emissions and the curtailment of private financing for coal power.
Sultan al-Jaber, the President of COP28 from the United Arab Emirates, emphasised, “this can and will help transition the world away from unabated coal.” Spearheaded by the European Union, United States and UAE, the pledge not only aims to triple renewable energy but also envisions eliminating CO2-emitting fossil fuels from the global energy system by 2050 at the latest.
Support for this commitment was voiced by several countries on Saturday, including Brazil, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Canada, Chile and Barbados. However, while China and India indicated support for tripling renewable energy by 2030, they did not endorse the overall pledge on Saturday, which links the expansion of clean power with a reduction in fossil fuel use.
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Advocates, including the EU and UAE, are pushing for the inclusion of the renewable energy pledge in the final U.N. climate summit decision. This would transform it into a global goal, a task that requires consensus among the nearly 200 participating countries.
The pledge also called for the “phase down of unabated coal power” and an end to financing new coal-fired power plants. Additionally, it included a target to double the global rate of energy efficiency by 2030. However, climate-vulnerable nations stressed that these goals must be coupled with a COP28 agreement among countries to phase out global fossil fuel usage.
While the deployment of renewables like solar and wind has experienced global growth, challenges such as rising costs, labour constraints and supply chain issues have led to delays and cancellations in recent months. Achieving the target of 10,000 gigawatts of global installed renewable energy by 2030 will necessitate increased investments and addressing capital cost issues, particularly in developing nations.
More than 20 nations also signed a declaration on Saturday with the aim of tripling nuclear power capacity by 2050. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry emphasised that achieving “net zero” emissions by 2050 is impossible without building new nuclear reactors.
Addressing the CO2-emitting fossil fuel, specifically coal, France announced its intention to gather a group of nations to request the OECD to assess the climate and financial risks associated with investing in new coal assets. This move is aimed at dissuading private financiers from supporting such projects. Additionally, coal users Kosovo and the Dominican Republic committed to developing plans to phase out their coal-fuelled power.