СОР28: Outcomes of the Main Climate Event of the Year

From November 30 to December 13, 2023, the Centers' experts took part in the
28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28)  the key event of the year for international climate regulation. The Center's team participated as observer, focusing on Global Stocktake, just transition, financing, and regulation of carbon markets.

A key decision in the Conference outcome package was the document on the Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement implementation, which assesses countries' achievements and progress in climate change mitigation and adaptation. This is the first time in the history of the international climate regime that the document explicitly addresses fossil fuels, calling on countries to make efforts to move to less carbon-intensive alternatives. For the first time, COP decisions recognize the role of transitional energy, nuclear power, green hydrogen, and greenhouse gas capture technologies in the transit to a cleaner energy system.

According to the Center's experts, the outcome documents demonstrate significant progress in the general understanding of the tools of global decarbonization, but there is hardly any significant progress in expanding the toolkit of the green transition. Questions about setting a collective goal for adaptation and the finance needed not only to mitigate climate risks but also for developing countries to increase their ambitions to reduce emissions remain unresolved. Although a new Loss and Damage Fund has been launched and many countries have pledged voluntary contributions to it, the total current contributions, namely $792 mln, are barely enough to cover even a fraction of the needs of vulnerable countries.

In addition, on such a significant instrument as carbon markets (market mechanisms of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement), the negotiating teams did not achieve any result at all, and did not take any decision for the first time in a long while. This causes high uncertainty for both the "United Nations" market mechanisms and the voluntary market for carbon units, which have high expectations that Article 6 can be used as a way to increase confidence to the reductions achieved.

Until the next Conference in Baku (November 2024), there is much intersessional work to be done to specify the modalities of access to the new Loss and Damage Fund, practical implementation of Global Stocktake calls, to reach agreements around collective adaptation and financing targets, and to resolve the crisis over the Paris Agreement's Article 6 rules.

Besides, several initiatives outside the negotiation process were declared at the COP28. The UAE, as the host country, has launched a number of sectoral initiatives including in the nuclear power, energy efficiency, agriculture and hydrogen development.

123 countries signed Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge. Russia, India, and China have not acceded to the joint statement. The document calls for tripling the world's renewable energy generation capacity to a level of at least 11 000 GW by 2030. The parties also intend to collectively double the average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements to approximately from 2 % to more than 4 % per year by 2030.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia introduced the Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter, which aims to accelerate action on climate change in the sector. The initiative was supported by 50 oil and gas companies from around the world, including Saudi Aramco, SOCAR, BP, ENI, Shell, etc., with a combined share of oil production of more than 40%. LUKOIL became the only Russian participant of the Charter. Parties commit to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 or earlier, and methane emissions from oil and gas production to near zero by 2030.

159 countries signed the Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action. Countries call for increased efforts to integrate agriculture and food systems into national climate plans, more adaptation and resilience measures for farmers and food producers, improved food security, and others. Russia has not joined the initiative.

22 countries, including the USA, Great Britain, Canada, France, Ghana, South Korea, Sweden, and the UAE launched an initiative to triple nuclear power capacity by 2050. The initiative notes the critical role of nuclear power in achieving the collective goal of global carbon neutrality by mid-century. The private sector has taken a similar initiative: more than 110 nuclear companies, including Rosatom, have declared a goal of tripling global nuclear capacity by 2050, calling on governments and development banks to provide access to financing for such projects.

The Center's experts will continue to participate in intersessional work and follow trends in climate regulation at the national and international levels.