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Tuesday March 05, 2024

Nations pledge to triple world’s renewable energy at COP28 climate talks

By AFP
December 03, 2023

DUBAI: More than 110 nations pledged to triple the world’s renewable energy within seven years at UN climate talks Saturday as the United States pushed to slash methane emissions and boost nuclear capacity.

With smoggy skies in Dubai highlighting the challenges facing the world, leaders at the COP28 conference threw their support behind voluntary pledges aimed at ramping up alternatives to fossil fuels.

A woman walks by a wall that shows the logo of the 28th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) being hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from November 30 to December 12, 2023. —AFP
A woman walks by a wall that shows the logo of the 28th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) being hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from November 30 to December 12, 2023. —AFP 

A massive deployment of solar, wind, hydroelectric and other renewables is crucial to efforts to displace demand for planet-heating coal, oil and gas and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The nearly 200 nations negotiating a COP28 climate deal face tougher talks over the next two weeks on the fate of fossil fuels. More than half signed up to a commitment to trippling global renewable energy capacity and doubling energy efficiency by 2030, the COP28’s Emirati presidency said.

But major oil producers including Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and top consumer China were not on the list. “I do need more, and I’m kindly requesting all parties to come on board as soon as possible please,” COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber told delegates.

“This can and will help transition the world away from unabated coal,” said Jaber, who also heads the UAE’s national oil company and a renewable energy firm.

Clean power advocates welcomed the commitment but said it must be accompanied by the phase-out of dirtier forms of energy.

“The future will be powered by solar and wind, but it won’t happen fast enough unless governments regulate fossil fuels out of the way,” said Kaisa Kosonen, the head of Greenpeace’s COP28 delegation.

Jaber also announced a pledge by oil and gas companies representing 40 percent of global production, including his UAE firm ADNOC and Saudi giant Aramco, to decarbonise their operations by 2050.

But the pledges do not include emissions when the fuels are used by their customers, and were criticised for repackaging previous, nonbinding commitments.

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced earlier that it would tighten curbs on methane emissions from its oil and gas industry.

China agreed for the first time to include all greenhouse gases in its next national climate pledge for 2035 in an agreement with the United States last month.

Methane is responsible for about one-third of the warming from greenhouse gases occurring today, second only to CO2.

While COP28 rallied behind renewables, the United States led a call by more than 20 nations for the world to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050.

US Vice President Kamala Harris announced a $3 billion contribution to a global fund to help developing countries with the energy transition and the effects of climate change -- its first pledge to it since 2014.

“Today, we are demonstrating through action how the world can and must meet this crisis,” Harris said.