COP28: Addressing climate challenges and global commitments

Earlier this month, leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders from around the world came together for the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to discuss the critical fight against climate change. In this blog, Robert Groves, CEO of SmartestEnergy Limited, shares his thoughts on the outcomes of COP28 and what they mean for the future of our planet.

As we approached COP28, this year marked the halfway point, with seven years since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015 and another seven years left to limit global temperature increases to 1.5C. However, as recent estimates indicated that the world is on a trajectory for around 2.4 to 2.7C warming by 2100, the urgency of taking effective measures to reduce emissions, increase climate finance and enhance resilience at this conference was evident.

So, what were the outcomes of COP28?

The conference started with an early breakthrough on the "loss and damage" fund included in last year's agreement, with governments collectively pledging more than $400 million to support victims of climate disaster, a positive step forward to support vulnerable communities. 

However, developing countries were left disappointed by a lack of new financial commitments for transitioning away from fossil fuels and adapting to climate impacts. Throughout the conference, there was an emphasis on transitioning away from fossil fuels, signalling a shift in focus compared to past COPs, but it lacked specific details and targets necessary to drive substantial change. We believe switching from fossil fuels to clean energy is vital in the transition to net zero, but with unclear targets, the delivery of tangible outcomes is uncertain.

Nonetheless, we are pleased to see COP28 emphasise the reduction of non-CO2 emissions from the energy system and recognise the importance of renewables, nuclear, and carbon capture/storage in addressing emissions, with international pledges made towards tripling renewable energy capacity and nuclear capacity

Food and agriculture were also raised as core topics, as experts highlighted the importance of food system transformation, and over 130 countries signed the Emirates declaration, signalling a commitment to incorporating food systems into climate strategies. 

Finally, we saw a significant surge in business engagement compared to earlier conferences, primarily attended by policymakers and scientists. COP28 highlighted that businesses can play a critical role in global solutions to climate change and their active involvement is essential, by engaging in ESG activities, opting for renewables, and investing in sustainability, and at SmartestEnergy, we are here to help. 

We understand that guidance and partnership are vital to support businesses and help drive the change, and that's why we are on a mission to empower, educate and enable everyone to make better, greener energy choices and transition to net zero. By providing expertise and transparency, we strive to give businesses the confidence to become active renewable energy champions.

Moving forward from COP28, we are pleased to see momentum in the right direction but believe more specific targets, implementation details, and accountability mechanisms are needed. At SmartestEnergy, we will continue to do our part to drive positive change in the system. As a growing community, we can better show the realities and rewards of switching from fossil fuels to clean energy, connect generators to customer demand, accelerate the market, and champion greener, smarter energy for generations.