Daily report for 20 September 2023

UN Summits Week 2023

Amid the busy UN Summits Week, Heads of State and Government and other leaders convened for a full day of discussions on pathways towards accelerated climate action and increased ambition. They addressed: credibility standards for net-zero commitments, adaptation and early warning systems, industrial decarbonization and energy transition, and loss and damage finance.

Opening Plenary

UN Secretary-General (UNSG) António Guterres reminded delegates that “humanity has opened the gates of hell,” leaving current levels of climate action “dwarfed by the scale of the challenge.” He presented concrete action points proposed in his Acceleration Agenda, including:

  • phasing out coal by 2030 for countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and by 2040 for all other countries; 
  • eliminating fossil fuel subsidies;
  • overhauling multilateral development banks to support climate action;
  • replenishing the Green Climate Fund and upholding the USD 100 billion climate finance commitment; and 
  • operationalizing the loss and damage fund at the upcoming meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

He stressed that the poorest nations have a “right to be angry” about lagging ambition, lacking climate finance, and skyrocketing costs of credit to address climate impacts.

President William Ruto, KENYA, highlighted the Nairobi Declaration adopted at the Africa Climate Summit earlier in September 2023 and called for a universal tax on trade in fossil fuels.

Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, Samoa, for the ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES (AOSIS), lamented that many small island developing states are already experiencing climate change-related displacement and destruction, and reiterated the importance of ensuring that their inhabitants can continue to live on their ancestors’ land. She called for peaking global emissions by 2025 and demanded more financial and technical support, including through operationalizing the loss and damage fund at the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 28).

Lidy Nacpil, ASIAN PEOPLES’ MOVEMENT ON DEBT AND DEVELOPMENT, called for adopting a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty and a global phase-out plan with a clear timeline and sharing of action to reach real net-zero by 2050. She urged the release of the young climate activists arrested during a peaceful protest in Uganda.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, EUROPEAN UNION, noted the EU’s engagement in a global coalition aimed at building support for the adoption, at COP 28, of a goal of tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency by 2030. She emphasized the EU’s support for: renewable energy and hydrogen development through the Global Gateway Initiative; developing green bond markets in low- and middle-income countries; and covering at least 60% of global emissions with carbon pricing.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, VIETNAM, underscored the importance of public and private finance to support green energy development, including for human resource training and smart grid expansion. He emphasized Joint Energy Transition Partnerships (JETP) as a model, noting the objective to announce a JETP resource mobilization plan at COP 28.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, GERMANY, emphasized that all countries need to phase out fossil fuels—first and foremost coal, which Germany will do by 2038. He reiterated that the G20 recently agreed to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030. He also announced the upcoming launch of a climate club at COP 28 to make “decarbonized industry production our business model.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa, SOUTH AFRICA, called for a vision of economic transformation through renewables, smart grids, and structural reforms for a just transition, to be supported by improved access to concessional finance and debt relief.

Gavin Newsom, Governor, US state of CALIFORNIA, underscored “the climate crisis is a fossil fuel crisis” and “called out” the oil industry for decades of corruption and deceit to create the conditions we are seeing today.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', Nepal, for the LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES (LDCs), urged: doubling adaptation finance by 2025; operationalizing the loss and damage fund; and for the outcome of the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement to serve as a course correction to achieve the 1.5°C target.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, THAILAND, reported on successes to introduce lower-emission agricultural practices and the issuance of sustainability bonds, and noted plans to phase out coal by 2040.

President Klaus Iohannis, ROMANIA, emphasized his country’s growing role in hosting manufacturers of solar panels and batteries, and pointed to its partnerships to support the development of early warning initiatives around the world.

President Gabriel Boric, CHILE, highlighted the need to address greenwashing by major corporations and ensure they “submit to the rules of the game.” He called for a precautionary pause on seabed mining to ensure ecosystems can be conserved and carbon is not being released from the subsoil.

Prime Minister Kausea Natano, TUVALU, observed growing momentum to address climate change through the multilateral system, including seeking advisory opinions from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Court of Justice. As a “natural next step,” he said Pacific countries, the European Parliament, and the World Health Organization are working to develop a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty to complement the Paris Agreement and ensure a global just transition.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, CANADA, invited countries to join the Global Carbon Pricing Challenge. He also outlined his country’s efforts to eliminate ineffective fossil fuel subsidies and cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sectors by 75% by 2030. Further, he pledged to allocate an additional USD 700 million of Canada’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.

Oliver Bäte, Chief Executive Officer, ALLIANZ, lamented that the end of an era of robust growth and low inflation makes economic transformations even more challenging, but stressed that inaction would be “foolish and ever more irrational.” He highlighted the efforts of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance and called for phasing out coal “now,” and sharply reducing oil and gas.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley, BARBADOS, highlighted the need to: eliminate fast-acting pollutants like methane through taxes; raise MDB lending from USD 20 billion to USD 100 billion; establish a partial foreign exchange guarantee to reduce costs of capital; maximize SDR re-allocations; cancel debt for low-income countries; and recapitalize the Green Climate Fund (GCF). She underscored the need to operationalize the loss and damage fund.

President Gustavo Petro, COLOMBIA, noted the need to leave fossil fuel resources in the ground, and urged compensating the countries that do so. He emphasized that meeting climate objectives also requires “extinguishing the chimneys in the US, China, and the EU,” eliminating fossil fuel subsidies worldwide, and financial resources to protect carbon “sponges” like the Amazon, Congo Basin, and Indonesian forests.

President Pedro Sánchez, SPAIN, noted all Spanish coal plants will close by 2025, and committed EUR 225 million for the GCF’s second replenishment.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel, CUBA, underscored the imperative for developed countries to be at the forefront of the battle against climate change. He highlighted that, despite the economic blockade, Cuba is doing its share by implementing its State Plan on Climate Change and cooperating with other nations.

Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, PAKISTAN, said Pakistan aims to produce 60% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, which will cost over USD 100 billion and require international support. 

President Alexander Van der Bellen, AUSTRIA, highlighted his country will provide an additional EUR 220 million in international climate finance in 2023-2026, EUR 50 million for loss and damages programmes, and increase its GCF contribution by almost 25% in the second replenishment.

Mafalda Duarte, Executive Director, GCF, said the GCF is a “unique mechanism, full of potential,” but needs reform to optimize access and reduce transaction costs. She outlined the “50 by 30” vision to increase capitalization from USD 17 billion to USD 50 billion by 2030 and focus more on country- and sector-wide programmes to transform whole systems, with a focus on the most vulnerable.

Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF), pointed to the Fund’s recommendations on pathways for countries to eliminate fossil fuels. Beyond explicit fossil fuel subsidies, which are just the “tip of the iceberg,” she emphasized eliminating implicit subsidies as well to free up a total of USD 7 trillion for potential spending on the green transition.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, ICELAND, thanked the UN Secretary-General for elevating climate change on the international agenda. She said the Summit of the Future must yield clear guidelines on phasing out fossil fuels and a mechanism to finance climate action. She announced that Iceland will double its support to GCF for the second replenishment, and said her government has stopped licensing oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone and has legislated carbon neutrality by 2040.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of LONDON, expressed his understanding for frustration over the UK’s recent decision to backtrack on climate commitments. He reported that the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group has pledged to cut fossil fuel consumption in its member cities in half by 2030, and urged fossil fuel companies to “get on board or get left behind.”

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, PORTUGAL, underscored his country’s commitment to: generate all electricity from renewable sources by 2030; convert the debt of vulnerable countries in the Lusophone community into climate funding; and protect and study marine resources, noting they are a key element of the climate system.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, SRI LANKA, pointed to the establishment of the tropical belt climate ambition project to boost investment in pollution control, renewable energy, nature-based solutions, and debt relief for tropical countries

President Zuzana Čaputová, SLOVAKIA, outlined that her country will phase out coal for electricity generation by 2023 and for heat generation by 2026. She said Slovakia will provide an additional EUR 2.2 million to the GCF by 2027.

President David Kabua, MARSHALL ISLANDS, demanded that abatement technology not be used to “greenlight continued expansion” of fossil fuels. He proclaimed that his country is joining the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance and pushing for a rapid decarbonization of shipping, noting that the International Maritime Organization’s targets are “better, but not enough.” He further proposed a universal greenhouse gas (GHG) levy to “provide billions for the most vulnerable,” and invited countries to join the High Ambition Coalition.

Marina Silva, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, BRAZIL, delineated regional efforts to protect the Amazon and collaboration on a joint vision with other countries that harbor tropical forests. She called for recognizing the central role played by Indigenous communities, and highlighted national initiatives such as a taskforce to reduce illegal mining in Yanomami territory, developing green hydrogen, and sustainability education.

President Surangel Whipps Jr., PALAU, urged countries, especially major emitters, to present more ambitious NDCs, update net-zero targets, support the transition to non-fossil sources of energy, and fund loss and damage. He emphasized all G20 countries should have plans to phase out fossil fuels.

Prime Minister Mark Brown, COOK ISLANDS, called for further support to strengthen resilience, highlighting the establishment of the Pacific Resilience Facility, early warning systems, and a Pacific center for deep ocean science.

President Alar Karis, ESTONIA, presented his country’s commitment to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and ensure carbon pricing covers 70% of emissions. He pointed to cooperation with Pacific countries to support their adaptation efforts and strengthen emergency communication systems in the region.

President Lazarus Chakwera, MALAWI, detailed the dire consequences of the latest two cyclones in his country, noting that they wiped away years’-worth of food production, destroyed power supply systems, and triggered the worst cholera outbreak in Malawi’s history.

Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre, SAINT LUCIA, lamented the major emitters’ “reckless disregard” for the consequences of their actions and called for debt relief, operationalizing the loss and damage fund, and for the outcome of the Global Stocktake to inspire a course correction.

Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, EGYPT, called for varied concessional, grant-based instruments to support NDC implementation, and highlighted the recently launched Sustainable Debt Coalition to advance debt swaps and other innovative approaches.

Nicolai Halby Wamme, Minister for Finance, DENMARK, said his government will: move up its net-zero deadline from 2050 to 2045; set an end-date for oil and gas production in Denmark in 2050 or sooner; and deliver over 1% of developed countries’ collective goal of mobilizing USD 100 billion for climate finance in 2023-2024.

Credibility of Net Zero: Leadership by Early Movers and Doers and the Role of Regulation

Moderator Laurence Tubiana, CEO, EUROPEAN CLIMATE FOUNDATION, urged not to lose sight of the 1.5°C target and stressed aligning public and private sector net-zero commitments in the next round of NDCs.

Catherine McKenna, Chair, UN HIGH-LEVEL EXPERT GROUP ON THE NET-ZERO EMISSIONS COMMITMENTS OF NON-STATE ENTITIES, underscored that the world cannot afford any more “slow movers or fake movers” on climate action. She delineated the recommendations in the UN Secretary-General’s Integrity Matters report towards credible voluntary commitments by non-and sub-state actors and eventually regulation.

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator, ASSOCIATION OF PEUL WOMEN AND AUTOCHTHONOUS PEOPLES OF CHAD, warned against “empty greenwashing” based on carbon credits.

Sabine Mauderer, NETWORK FOR GREENING THE FINANCIAL SECTOR, said it is in companies’ interest to prepare transition plans, and called for reaching a common understanding on what companies should report on and how plans will be checked against standards.

Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade, CEO, Energias de Portugal, said his energy company is phasing down coal in 18 months and gas by 2030 as part of reaching net zero by 2040. He added that clean, renewable energy is now “incredibly cheap” and increases energy independence, but faces challenges in scaling up. He called for clear, consistent regulation to support investment decisions.

Barbara Zvan, President, UNIVERSITY PENSION PLAN ONTARIO, highlighted that investment returns to deliver retirement benefits depend on climate stability, while investment choices affect the climate.

Jay Inslee, Governor, US state of WASHINGTON, said “the road to destruction is paved with long-term aspirations,” calling for action to begin today. He highlighted his state’s imminent end-date for gas connections in homes and businesses, underscoring that building more fossil fuel infrastructure will doom multiple generations, and fossil fuel industries “can’t solve this with offsets.”

Martin Molone, Secretary General, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF SECURITIES COMMISSIONS (IOSCO), explained how financial standard setting can help guide investments in climate technology solutions. He underscored IOSCO members endorsed the sustainability-related financial disclosures standards recently issued by the International Sustainability Standards Board.

Helena Viñes Fiestas, UN HIGH-LEVEL EXPERT GROUP ON THE NET-ZERO EMISSIONS COMMITMENTS OF NON-STATE ENTITIES, cautioned that “a pledge without a plan is wishful thinking.” She highlighted the Group’s recommendations whereby: businesses have to explain how their climate targets align with their overall business strategy; carbon credits are not to be counted for GHG targets; and progress reports must be verified by independent third parties.

Delivering Climate Justice: Accelerating Ambition and Implementation on Adaptation and Early Warnings for All

Moderator Pablo Vieira, Head of the NDC PARTNERSHIP, reported that more than 70% of climate-related deaths are concentrated in the 46 poorest countries, and highlighted that adaptation and early warning are saving lives.

Adelle Thomas, INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC), lamented the growing adaptation gap, reporting that only 10% of climate finance is being dedicated to adaptation.

President Filipe Nyusi, MOZAMBIQUE, outlined his country’s success in operationalizing an early warning system that has significantly reduced fatalities from tropical cyclones.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, BANGLADESH, offered to share her country’s expertise in climate adaptation with other vulnerable countries through South-South collaboration, pointing to mobile weather notifications and dedicated cyclone bunkers.

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, FIJI, said reliance on farming makes adaptation particularly important and lamented the slow pace of project approval.

Seve Paeniu, Minister of Finance, TUVALU, outlined its Long Term Adaptation Plan (L-TAP), a first-of-its-kind initiative being pursued with support from Australia through the UNSG’s Adaptation Pipeline Accelerator. The L-TAP is Tuvalu’s “survival plan,” he said, a technically feasible plan for safe, elevated land territory to accommodate the population amid catastrophic sea-level rise in the next few decades.

Miguel Ceara Hatto, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, outlined plans for adaptation through broad transformations in production, consumption, transport, and waste management, noting this is also supported through the Adaptation Pipeline Accelerator.

Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, Minister for the Ecological Transition, SPAIN, said adaptation requires not only resources but also alliances: “we can’t prepare if we don’t talk to each other and share strategies.”

Demeke Mekonnen Hassen, Deputy Prime Minister, ETHIOPIA, showcased the early warning system as well as a response mechanism that allowed his country to shift from disaster management to risk management. He welcomed the UNSG’s Early Warning Systems for All initiative.

Albert Ramdin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, SURINAME, underscored his country’s contribution to conserving carbon sinks and urged embedding adaptation in plans and budgets.

Barbara Creecy, Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries, SOUTH AFRICA, highlighted her country’s adaptation investment plan aimed at attracting international finance, as well as a toolkit for municipalities to identify risks and appropriate standards for infrastructure.

Muawieh Radaideh, Minister of Environment, JORDAN, noted his country is in a climate hot spot, affected by water scarcity and a refugee crisis, and underscored ongoing work to integrate adaptation in planning and budgeting processes.

Khadeeja Naseem, Minister of State for Environment, Climate Change, and Technology, MALDIVES, lamented that climate change has destroyed hard-won development gains in her country, and welcomed the Early Warning System for All initiative and the establishment of a loss and damage fund.

Muhammed Al-Jasser, President, ISLAMIC DEVELOPMENT BANK, signaled MDBs’ will to support the Early Warning for All initiative through adequate funding.

Mafalda Duarte, Executive Director, GCF, reported that the GCF will commit up to USD 1 billion to Early Warning for All if the second replenishment succeeds.

Akinwumi Adesina, President, AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK, reported that 63% of the Bank’s USD 25 billion climate finance has been dedicated to adaptation. He also pledged to raise an initial USD 1 billion for the newly created Africa Climate Risk Insurance Facility for Adaptation.

Accelerating Decarbonization through Collaboration and Implementation

Moderator Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, COUNCIL ON ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, AND WATER, introduced three topics for the session: industrial decarbonization, supercharging battery storage, and critical minerals for the energy transition.

Fatih Birol, Executive Director, INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY, presented data on the rapid growth of renewables around the globe, showing that coal, oil, and natural gas use will peak within this decade. However, he stressed that progress in decarbonizing heavy industry is stalling.

Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, CANADA, highlighted the relevance of carbon pricing for decarbonization, and announced that Canada aims to be the first G20 nation to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2023. He further highlighted ongoing efforts to cut methane emissions in the oil and gas sector.

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President, EUROPEAN COMMISSION, said targets are a central part of the European Green Deal, arguing that measuring progress demonstrates what is possible, sends a signal of seriousness to investors, and shows the direction of movement. He said emissions cuts must focus on the most polluting sectors—energy, transport, and agriculture. 

Han Hwa-jin Han, Minister of Environment, REPUBLIC OF KOREA, reported that her country’s emissions trading scheme covers 70% of its GHG emissions, and offered to share lessons learned.

Graham Stuart, Minister of State for Climate, UNITED KINGDOM, noted that zero-emissions commitments and capacity fall far short in the cement and steel sectors, which has motivated the launch of initiatives for those sectors under the Breakthrough Agenda.

Mark Carney, UN SPECIAL ENVOY ON CLIMATE ACTION AND FINANCE, called on MDBs to catalyze finance to reduce emissions from heavy-emitting industries, and announced the Net-Zero Data Public Utility will be launched at COP 28.

Jean-François Gagné, Head of Secretariat, CLEAN ENERGY MINISTERIAL, highlighted that the transformation to a low-carbon economy will require not only increasing renewables, but also developing decentralized grids and energy storage. He said this requires a conducive ecosystem for business and investment, including through financing and regulation.

Moderator Ghosh highlighted the Global Energy Storage Program is expected to mobilize USD 2 billion to support the development of energy storage solutions at scale in developing countries.

Tanya Plibersek, Minister for the Environment and Water, AUSTRALIA, noted her country’s efforts to expand renewables-based electricity to 82% by 2030 and develop battery storage.

Michael Bloomberg, UN SPECIAL ENVOY ON CLIMATE AMBITION AND SOLUTIONS, said winning the fight against climate change is not a technological but a political challenge. He highlighted the need to ensure that countries rich in minerals like cobalt, nickel, and lithium can benefit from their exploitation while protecting people’s rights and sustainability.

Nani Hendiarti, Deputy Coordinating Minister for Forestry and Environmental Management, INDONESIA, highlighted the need to add value to raw minerals at the source, and called for supporting a just transition that is “country-led and country-owned.”

Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy, NAMIBIA, underscored value added from critical minerals needs to benefit producing countries.

Marina Silva, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, BRAZIL, underlined Brazil’s mineral resources have transformative potential. She drew attention to not only economic prosperity, but also social justice and environmental protection in extracting these minerals, particularly respecting the interests and cosmovisions of Indigenous peoples who often live on mineral-rich lands.

Mohamed Adow, Founding Director, POWER SHIFT AFRICA, expressed that Africa needs to manufacture and deploy its own technology at home, rather than importing from the Global North and becoming “locked in” at the bottom of the value chain.

Werner Hoyer, President, EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK, mentioned that climate action should not be “colonialism 2.0.” He said climate, innovation, and development need to be “thought together.”

United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Meeting on Loss and Damage Finance

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed opened the session by underscoring that the scale and scope of the loss and damage challenge calls for agile, adequate, and predictable finance.

Genaro Matías Godoy González, YOUTH representative, urged finance institutions to account for the risk of climate inaction. He said levies on aviation, maritime transport, and pollution can be tapped as innovative sources of funding, but should not replace public finance by developed countries. He called for integrating a sub-goal on loss and damage in the new collective quantified goal on climate finance to be adopted in 2024.

Adelle Thomas, IPCC, shared insights into the IPCC’s sixth Assessment Report: extreme events result in billions of dollars in damages, at times exceeding developing countries’ GDP; current financial and institutional structures fail to comprehensively address losses and damages, particularly in vulnerable developing countries; and more than 50% of debt increase in vulnerable countries is linked to disaster recovery and reconstruction.

Rachel Kyte, Dean Emerita, The Fletcher School at Tufts University, then moderated a discussion between representatives of MDBs, bilateral development finance institutions, global climate funds, insurance and risk financing institutions, foundations, and civil society.

Speakers highlighted, among others:

  • avoiding duplication and fragmentation, and building on existing experience with contingency credit lines and debt servicing pauses to address disasters;
  • designing an effective fundraising campaign, using sovereign funds to unlock private capital and leveraging innovative sources, notably through taxation;
  • using a combination of needs- and performance-based criteria to develop a uniform approach to funding allocation;
  • modalities for quick disbursement and disbursement at the community level;
  • expanding the coverage of parametric risk insurance, making insurance more affordable, and strengthening regional risk pooling;
  • pathways to reward resilience;
  • support for policy design; and
  • the importance of clear and unified signals from shareholders.

Closing Plenary

Incoming UNFCCC COP 28 President Sultan Al Jaber, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, emphasized his aspiration for COP 28 to deliver progress on: closing the mitigation gap; phasing down fossil fuels while phasing up zero-carbon alternatives; tripling renewable energy by 2030; and supporting the energy transition by minimizing permission timelines and “supercharging” investments in battery storage and energy efficiency. He encouraged all countries to sign the Leaders Declaration on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Climate Action, noted COP 28 will feature a ministerial dialogue on climate and health, and said mayors will be invited to showcase their achievements at COP 28.

Vishal Prasad, Fiji, on behalf of PACIFIC ISLAND YOUTH, urged delegates to respond to demands for climate justice voiced on the streets and in tribunals. He urged countries to consider youth and future generations’ rights when presenting their opinions before the International Court of Justice.

In closing, Guterres noted the event had “started as a climate ambition summit and ended as a climate hope summit.” Despite expressing disappointment over the G20’s action being stalled by a persistent divide between developed and emerging economies, he emphasized many actors are willing to align with the 1.5°C target. He urged all the climate “doers” to scale up action, bring people together, and “take no prisoners.”

The meeting closed at 6:11 pm.

In the Corridors

At the Climate Ambition Summit, delegates coalesced around sharp condemnation of the fossil fuel industry, who spread deceit and reaped whopping profits in 2022 from the fallout of the war in Ukraine. “If you don’t take corrective action now,” said Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley to the attention of oil executives, “you will have to tell us where you are keeping your plans to relocate you and your families to the planet Mars.”

There were also concrete signs of progress and convergence on important policies such as the development of Joint Energy Transition Partnerships, fossil fuel phaseout timelines, recapitalizing the Green Climate Fund, and cracking down on greenwashing. As one delegate pointed out, renewables are so inexpensive, widespread, and reliable by now that fossil fuel use is bound to peak within this decade for economic reasons alone. In this regard, some were optimistic on the adoption at COP 28 of a firm goal of tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency by 2030.

A special ticketing system put in place for the Summit led to confusion, with participants at times pushing to enter rooms, while other sessions seemed depopulated. Participants who ended up “in the room where it happens,” as one delegate put it, quoting Lin-Manuel Miranda’s popular musical about another critical moment in world history, can now look towards COP 28 with sharpened expectations, and, as UN Secretary-General António Guterres envisioned, more hope for ambition.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of UN Summits Week will be available on Saturday, 23 September 2023, here.

Further information