President von der Leyen is set to participate in the World Climate Action Summit, which officially launches COP28 on 1 December 2023


(Credit: Dušan Cvetanović from Pixabay)

During the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference commencing on December 1 in Dubai, the European Union (EU) will emphasise the critical need for all parties to promptly address the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in this decade. The EU urges parties to uphold their commitments outlined in the Paris Agreement, aiming to restrict global warming to below 2°C, with a further aspiration for 1.5°C.

President von der Leyen is scheduled to participate in the World Climate Action Summit, which officially launches COP28 on December 1-2. In the EU Pavilion on December 1, she will host a distinguished event focusing on promoting carbon markets aligned with the Paris Agreement, featuring collaborations with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organisation, and a launch for EU-Catalyst breakthrough energy projects. Additionally, an event on the Just Energy Transition Partnership with Vietnam is planned. On December 2, President von der Leyen will unveil the Global Pledge on Renewables and Energy Efficiency in collaboration with the COP28 Presidency, aiming to triple installed renewables capacity and double energy efficiency measures by 2030. Her agenda also includes participation in the Super-Pollutants Summit, attendance at the Coal Transition Accelerator (CTA) initiative event, involvement in the Global Stocktake roundtable on Means of Implementation, and the delivery of the official EU Statement in Plenary, alongside European Council President Charles Michel.

Starting from December 6, Commissioner for Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra will take the lead for the EU negotiating team during the formal decision-making process of COP28. This conference is significant as it will conclude the inaugural Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement. This moment presents an opportunity for all participating Parties to assess the progress made and to collectively determine necessary actions to steer towards a safer climate, aligning with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The EU is poised to advocate for global energy objectives that accelerate the reduction of unabated fossil fuels, contributing to an overall increase in global ambition for mitigating climate change. The negotiating goals of the EU encompass:

  1. Tripling global renewable energy capacity and doubling the rates of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030.
  2. Achieving consensus on the phased reduction of unabated fossil fuels.
  3. Ensuring that consumption of fossil fuels peaks prior to 2030.
  4. Gradually eliminating fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or facilitate a just transition.

The Global Stocktake is expected to establish a clear anticipation that Parties will promptly initiate efforts toward post-2030 targets, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). These targets should encompass comprehensive reductions in all greenhouse gases, aligning with the goal of averting a 1.5°C temperature increase and achieving a net-zero global economy by mid-century. The European Union’s negotiating team is steadfast in advocating for the swift execution of existing commitments, emphasizing the transition from ambitious rhetoric to tangible actions. This includes an urgent push for the advancement of the Mitigation Work Programme to rapidly amplify mitigation ambition and implementation throughout this crucial decade.

Concerning adaptation to climate change, the EU is dedicated to making substantial strides toward the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA). Recognizing the vital role of nature-based solutions, the EU aims to facilitate climate change adaptation and preserve biodiversity, aligning with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework established last year.

In addressing the issue of loss and damage, the EU remains committed to finding effective solutions that cater to the diverse needs of vulnerable countries already grappling with the impacts of climate change. Building on recent progress with the agreement on a loss and damage fund, the EU endeavors to operationalize the fund, fostering a broad donor base. The EU is prepared to take a leading role in contributing to the fund, contingent on ambitious outcomes at COP28, particularly in the realm of mitigation efforts.

The EU is committed to collaborating with developed countries to ensure an increase in climate finance contributions, aiming to sustain the annual $100bn target. In 2022, the EU made a record contribution of €28.5bn in public climate finance, approximately $30bn. Preliminary data from the OECD suggests that the $100bn goal was achieved globally in 2022. However, it is crucial for developed countries to continue augmenting their contributions to ensure the attainment of global climate neutrality in the early stages of the second half of this century.