Happy Energy day from COP28!
On a day where some of the biggest surprises weren’t surprises at all, people directly or indirectly involved with fossil fuels are attending the summit.
Mary Robinson, chair of The Elders group, to whom Sultan Al Jaber’s now-infamous comments about “the science” came last month, made her first reply to the controversy.
In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, she said: “A successful Cop28 is not about a single individual or nation, but the collective will and concerted efforts of all countries in these negotiations.
“The science compels: phase out fossil fuels rapidly, accelerate renewable energy adoption, and radically scaled up finance.”
And if some reports are to be believed, Sultan’s COP career may get a sequel. Let’s dive into today’s news:
The UN published its latest draft of the global stock take negotiations which shows the plan for an “orderly and just” phase out of fossil fuels.
Importantly, the draft’s language that would commit nations to a phase out could still be struck out.
Former US vice-president and climate activist Al Gore told the Guardian that a phase-out can be “huge for humanity” and the only measure of success for COP28.
There are still issues surrounding the draft though, despite nearly 24 hours of negotiations, including Saudi Arabia pushing hard for carbon capture mitigations and the removal of the term “phase out”.
China’s position also remains a mystery having not signed up to the tripling renewables pledge and remaining silent on lower coal dependency.
Should a green transition be rushed, there will also be an abundance of challenges for those less-developed nations that are highly-dependant on fossil fuels.
Money doesn’t buy positivity
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates is less than confident on one of COP’s principle outcomes.
Speaking in an interview to Bloomberg, the Microsoft founder said the world wouldn’t hit the “aspirational target” of the Paris Agreement to keeping the rise in global temperatures below 2 degrees celsius.
“You can do the maths on 1.5 degrees and even two isn’t that likely” he said. “Fortunately if you stay below three, a lot of the ill effects you here about do not happen unless you get really irresponsible and let it get up to the higher range.”
Alongside his climate activism, Gates is the majority owner of budding nuclear power player Terrapower, which is currently facing questions over the source of its uranium fuel source before being given blessing to develop by the UK government.
The UK, meanwhile, has nuclear challenges of its own.
In the round
Executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Dr Fatih Birol discussed energy transition strategy with the summit’s president Sultan Al Jaber.
The chat came amidst wider discussions between government ministers and CEOs of leading businesses at the renewables and energy efficiency roundtable; a discussion focused on the interventions required to triple renewable energy globally and double energy efficiency improvements by 2030.
Earlier in the day, three more governments; Comoros, the Bahamas and Dominica signed carbon credit deals with the UAE-based firm Blue Carbon – which is gradually securing exploratory deals across swathes of African countries despite having no experience in conservation projects.
Prior to the summit, some experts expressed concern over so-called ‘carbon cowboys’ looking to use the climate crisis as a gold rush for a technology that has a long way to go to prove its viability.