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11 Dec 23 Insight Global Equities Impax Asset Management

COP28: Where progress is really needed

By Chris Dodwell

The transition to a low-carbon economy is underway in many economies, with recent projections suggesting that global greenhouse gas emissions – including those of China, the world’s largest polluter – may peak in 2024.1,2

Encouraging as this is, the first ‘global stocktake’ of progress towards realising the ambitions agreed at the landmark Paris Agreement makes clear that the pace and scale of change must dramatically increase to keep ambitious climate goals within reach.   As the COP28 climate summit gets underway in Dubai, we outline the five broad outcomes that need to emerge from this summit to accelerate progress towards net zero.


1. Agreement on how to fast-track the clean energy transition

We welcome the COP28 Presidency’s focus on concrete actions by 2030 to fast-track the energy transition, such as tripling renewable energy capacity and doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements. If these were agreed at COP28 and implemented through national policies, these would bring us materially closer to halving global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the end of the decade.


2. Launch of a net-zero roadmap for the global food system

Despite the food system’s vulnerability to global heating and its contribution to GHG emissions, it has largely been missing from previous COPs (and national climate plans). We therefore welcome the development of a new roadmap for a net-zero food system by the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation, aligned with global goals on nature including the halting of deforestation by 2030.

3. Decreasing investment in fossil fuel supply

While conviction is growing in the transition to a new economy based on low-carbon alternatives, far less progress has been made in how we reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Whatever text emerges from the formal negotiations, it is now crystal clear that countries and companies must reduce investment in new supplies of fossil fuels to reflect climate targets and falling demand.

4. Increased focus on how we adapt to a changed climate

Awareness of the need for climate adaptation investments has increased due to physical impacts which are already being experienced and the risk of greater ones in the future. We must build on the Adaptation Agenda launched at COP27 by breaking down topic into action-orientated goals, including corporate adaptation plans.

5. National transition plans to translate international goals into clear policies

We must ensure that internationally agreed goals are delivered upon and improve the quality of nationally determined contributions (NDCs). These NDCs should be reframed as national transition plans, with sectoral roadmaps that deliver short-term targets and identify adaptation priorities, supported by dialogues with the private sector on how to remove barriers to scaling up investment.

1 Climate Analytics, 22 November 2023: When will global greenhouse gas emissions peak?
2 CarbonBrief, 13 November 2023: Analysis: China’s emissions set to fall in 2024 after record growth in clean energy


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