African leaders have taken centre stage at COP28, launching the Green Industrialisation Initiative
Dubai, the host city of the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), has become the epicentre of several announcements and ambitious initiatives aimed at tackling the pressing challenges of climate change. As world leaders, private entities, and activists converge, the summit has witnessed a flurry of declarations for accelerating the global response to climate change.
The Green Industrialisation Initiative in Africa
African leaders have taken centre stage at COP28, launching the Green Industrialisation Initiative. Spearheaded by Kenya’s President William Ruto, this ambitious project seeks to accelerate growth in African industries. Ruto listed Africa’s vast potential, including 40% of the world’s critical minerals and renewable resources for the energy transition and the world’s largest natural carbon sink. The initiative builds upon another $4.5 billion Africa green investment from the UAE, announced during the Africa Climate Summit in September 2023.
Nuclear Energy Summit in 2024
In another major announcement, leaders disclosed plans for a first-of-its-kind nuclear energy summit scheduled for March 2024 in Brussels. World leaders will meet to discuss the role of nuclear energy in reducing fossil fuel usage, improving energy security, and promoting economic development. The decision reflects a growing acknowledgment of the multiple energy sources needed for a sustainable future.
Methane Reduction Funding
Leaders from various governments, philanthropic organisations, and the private sector joined hands to address the critical issue of methane and non-CO2 greenhouse emissions. The United Arab Emirates called on parties to the Paris Agreement to submit nationally determined contributions (NDCs) for 2035, covering all greenhouse gases, not just CO2. This has already pulled in over $1 billion in new funding for methane reduction, to be administered by entities such as the World Bank and the Global Methane Hub.
US Pledge to the Green Climate Fund
US Vice President Kamala Harris made another important announcement at COP28 by pledging $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF plays a crucial role in supporting developing countries as they pursue low-emission and climate-resilient policies. While the pledge awaits approval from the divided U.S. Congress, it still signifies a recognition that international climate finance is crucial in vulnerable countries.
Fossil Fuel Phase-Out Commitments
In an about turn, the United States boldly committed to phasing out all coal-fired power plants, a significant contributor to the climate crisis. This commitment came as part of the country joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance, recognising coal as a primary contributor to temperature increases and the need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Loss and Damage Fund Agreement
During the early days of COP28, leaders reached a consensus on the ‘loss and damage’ fund, a plan first introduced at COP27. This fund is designed to provide financial aid to economically weak nations vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as droughts, floods, and rising sea levels. The agreement marks a major step in addressing the financial burdens faced by countries grappling with the tangible consequences of climate change.
Amidst these massive initiatives, COP28 dedicated a day to finance, recognising financial resources’ critical role in achieving climate goals. Several discussions and more funding announcements are anticipated, focusing on improving mechanisms for climate-related funding and ensuring a stronger financial framework for global climate action.
From renewable energy and industrialisation in Africa to methane reduction and phasing out coal, these commitments are a tangible step forward in pursuing sustainability and resilience. Hopefully, world leaders have fully woken up to the problem and recognise the need for drastic action.