The International Energy Agency hosted the COP28 President-Designate Sultan Al-Jaber for a roundtable discussion at its headquarters in Paris today on the role of the energy sector in accelerating climate action.
Ambassadors and senior representatives from more than 50 countries from across the globe – accounting for around 80% of global CO2 emissions – attended the event, as well as leaders of several major energy companies. The discussion focused on the key priorities for the COP28 Climate Change Conference that is taking place in Dubai in November under the Presidency of the United Arab Emirates. The meeting was an opportunity for Dr Al-Jaber to set out his vision for the UAE’s COP Presidency and for the countries present – a diverse group of advanced, emerging and developing economies spanning Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East – to give their perspectives, pose questions and make suggestions.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol provided opening remarks, setting out the global energy and climate landscape as it stands today. He highlighted that while the world is contending with an unprecedented energy crisis, the growth of clean energy technologies – such as renewables, EVs, heat pumps and energy efficiency – has prevented a much stronger rise in emissions. He also stressed the need to accelerate the deployment of these and other technologies to put emissions into decline. Crucially, this includes mobilising more financing for clean energy investments in emerging and developing economies.
A successful COP28 is vital for all countries because the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C – and therefore the future of the planet – is at risk, he said, noting the opportunity the UAE has to demonstrate leadership on climate action for other oil and gas producers.
“We were pleased to host COP28 President-Designate Dr Sultan Al-Jaber at the IEA for a frank discussion on how to accelerate climate action. More than 50 countries from around the world took part in the meeting, representing around 80% of global CO2 emissions and, I hope, more than 80% of the solutions,” Dr Birol said. “The UAE’s COP28 Presidency is a crucial opportunity for the oil and gas sector to show it can take an active and transparent role in tackling climate change. An ambitious and successful COP28 in Dubai can change the world’s energy and climate future for the better. And it can change the economic destiny of many oil and gas producing countries, setting a path that moves them away from over-reliance on hydrocarbons towards a cleaner and more secure future. The IEA will help map out this path with a special report that we will publish ahead of COP28 on the role of oil and gas producers in the transition to net zero emissions.”
In his remarks, Dr Al-Jaber pointed to the scale of the world’s energy and climate challenges, calling for transformative action that is carried out in a way that is fair for developing economies.
“This COP marks the first global stocktake since the Paris Agreement, and its conclusions are not in doubt. We are way off track. The bottom line is this: the world needs to cut emissions 43% in the next seven years to keep 1.5 alive,” Dr Al-Jaber said. “In the course of those same 7 years, the global population will exceed 8.5 billion and is on its way to 10 billion by 2050. Meeting the scale of the world’s fast growing energy needs, while dramatically reducing emissions is one of the most complex challenges humanity has ever faced. Nothing short of transformational progress will do across mitigation, adaptation, climate finance and loss and damage.”