COP28: what is at stake?

COP28: what is at stake?

News item
13 Dec 2023

The planet is warming rapidly and discussions about solutions also flared up during the final days of COP28 in Dubai. In this message we give you the latest news and relevant updates for ambitious corporates and private individuals.

Global Stocktakestrong,
The first Global Stocktake (GST), published in October 2023, was one of the top topics in Dubai. During a Global Stocktake, countries jointly assess the overall implementation of the Paris Agreement and the progress each country has made on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). It provides an opportunity for countries to take stock of their efforts and consider whether they need to strengthen their commitments and actions. Since the publication of the GST in October, it has become clear that countries are not on track to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

At COP28, countries further discussed and negotiated new commitments and actions on mitigation (efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions), adaptation (actions to address the impacts of climate change) and providing support to developing countries.

Fossil fuelsstrong,
Taking a closer look at the mitigation results, especially in the area of ​​fossil fuels, there was a lot of criticism of the draft text presented on Monday, December 11. Many countries (especially the EU) hoped that stronger language on phasing out fossil fuels would be part of the text of the agreement. Unfortunately, the negotiating text did not mention the phasing out of fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the negotiating text did not mention the phasing out of fossil fuels. The countries did not agree on a call for a fossil fuel phase-out, but did agree to move away from fossil fuels and boost renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE), which is a huge step forward compared to previous draft and European Climate Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra speaks of a historic moment and the beginning of the end of fossil fuels.

Loss and Damage Fundstrong,
Providing support to developing countries took shape on the first day of COP28 with the establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund. A big victory for developing countries. However, pledging around $700 million is not enough, and some major polluters contribute only a small amount, such as the US with a meager pledge of $17.5 million. By comparison, Germany alone has pledged $100 million.

There is also poor progress with regard to the adaptation goals. A new text on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) was presented on December 11, but it still lacks ambition, clear goals and pathways.

Clean cooking
The negotiations at COP are always fueled by input from side events. During COP28 there was increasing attention to the role of cooking fuels in low-income countries. Every year, a gigatonne of CO2 emissions come from burning non-renewable biomass fuels for cooking, about 2 percent of the global total and equal to the amount produced by the aviation sector. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says access to clean cooking has been a blind spot in the global energy transition. IEA, the African Development Bank and Clean Cooking Alliance are joining forces to help African governments achieve clean cooking for all. It is increasingly recognized that a transition to clean cooking must be central to Africa’s net-zero ambition.
Various modern cooking technologies can play a role in the transition. The Global Electric Cooking Coalition (GeCCo) was launched at COP28, among other things, because cooking with electricity is seen as the most important low-carbon cooking technology in 2050 on all continents. At the same time, efficient cooking appliances also play an important role in reducing CO2 emissions in the near future. Read the Clean Cooking Alliance newsletter here.

Carbon markets
Finally, there have been negotiations on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement regarding global carbon markets, but unfortunately countries have not reached a consensus on Article 6.2, which concerns bilateral or multilateral emissions trading agreements between countries, and Article 6.4, which envisages the establishment of a global carbon market under the supervision of a United Nations entity. Deal breakers included the text about CO2 removal and the text about methodologies. A huge setback for the carbon market, meaning that the implementation of a complete and robust framework will be postponed for at least another year and there will be no clear direction in the meantime. Countries can therefore set their own rules for trading carbon credits, which can lead to trading worthless carbon credits, reduced transparency and double counting.

In addition to the negotiations on Article 6, the COP presidency also organized a ‘High-Level Roundtable on Unlocking High-Integrity Carbon Markets’ with a focus on the voluntary carbon market. The aim was to provide an end-to-end integrity framework covering the entire value chain of the Voluntary Carbon Markets. This event was attended by leaders of multilateral institutions and senior representatives of countries.

Attendees highlighted the importance of global carbon markets, including the voluntary carbon market, in achieving the global net zero target. The work of the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (IC-VCM) and the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) was also recognized, particularly for their guidance on generating high-integrity carbon credits and carbon credit claims from businesses.

Second, participants recognized the need for coordination between stakeholders, such as governments, multilateral institutions, business and financial institutions, and the broader carbon markets value chain (including verification and validation bodies and project developers).

As an advocate for fair and transparent climate action, FairClimateFund fully supports these initiatives, and in particular the need for further capacity building to empower people in vulnerable communities in international carbon markets. For years we have wanted to demonstrate that the voluntary carbon market can benefit those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in a fair and effective way.

We do this through our Fairtrade principles:

– Capacity building from the bottom up
Local communities initiate the climate projects themselves, provide training and ensure monitoring and maintenance.

– Property
Local households own the Fairtrade Carbon Credits with which they, for example, pay for their cooking appliances.

– Fairtrade minimum price
The end user pays a fair minimum price for the CO₂ credits or Fairtrade Carbon Credits. This minimum price covers all costs of the project.

– Fairtrade premium
A premium is paid on top of the minimum price. This premium is managed by the local cooperative and invested in climate adaptation activities.

– Reduction of CO₂ emissions by end users
Buyers of Fairtrade Carbon Credits have a CO₂ reduction plan.