Good COP Bad COP?

Tom Isler

As the world continues to grapple with the multifaceted challenges of climate change, the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) marks a pivotal moment in global environmental diplomac

This year’s conference, held in UAE, was a gathering of nations, experts, activists, and businesses, all united by a common goal: to accelerate efforts in tackling the climate crisis.

New Pledges made 

One of the resounding successes from COP28 has been crossing the I’s and T’s of the Loss and Damage Act. This pledge, to help developing countries fight against the changes to their environment caused by global warming, was very much left built on sand after COP27. Ironically, it is on the sands of UAE that the Act has found firmer commitments.

The hosts and Germany each pledged $100 million to the loss and damage startup fund, while a further €135 million is coming from the EU. However good these intentions are, there is still an estimated requirement of $100bn-$580bn to rectify the current environmental damage in developing nations. Further to this, Two of the top 3 largest economies, US and Japan, have so far only pledged $17.5m and $10m respectively. Whereas positive steps are being taken, it is important not to lose insight in the proportionality and scale of this issue.

The nations labelled as the greatest generators of GHG’s are indeed paying reparation for their carbon heavy activity, but no where near to the level that they should be.

Another headline grabbing event has been the summit’s president, Sultan Al Jabar, official statement that “the phase-down and the phase-out of fossil fuel is inevitable. In fact, it is essential.” A seemingly huge statement from an esteemed politician of such an oil rich nation.

Throughout the two-week summit, this ideology was much welcomed and caused a new beacon of hope for COP28 being one of significant action to fight climate change. However, as the legislation was written, it was clear that Al Jabar’s submission had some misleading qualities. It seems that only phase-down of coal has been put into the written word, avoiding the fossil fuels we are most reliant upon, oil and gas.

The impact of the phase-out of fossil fuels

Yes, the Emiratis may have a vested interest in keeping oil and gas as the lubricant of globalisation but there are further benefits to keeping these energy resources in production.

A hard stop of the usage of all fossil fuels would leave the world reliant on renewable sources of energy, a switch which would leave a lot of the world with difficult economic choices to make. Onshore wind is more than twice the long-term cost of gas-fired power. By Kw/h the relationship is reversed, however the puzzle of storing both wind and solar is an expensive one to solve. It is clear that renewables are the utopian direction of travel but their adoption has to be completed at the same rate as they can be afforded by the masses.

Fortunately some fresh legislation of COP28, involves the promotion and development of all renewable energy sources. The global stocktake report called for action from COP28 members to engage in “tripling renewable energy capacity globally” by 2030. In addition there will be an increase of $9 billion annually by the World Bank to finance climate-related projects. The intention here seems good willed; phase down the use of fossil fuels, slowly, and make the use of renewable energy more accessible before we reach the limits of the World’s 1.5 degree Celsius commitment.

COP 28

Good COP Bad Cop?

COP28 seemingly has brought about more action from its members than previous summits have for some time. But is it enough? Many argue not, Climate Scientist Dr Friederike Otto calls for much tighter regulations, stating that “Every degree of temperature matters, every ton of carbon matters, because it means that the more emissions we concentrate in the atmosphere, the hotter it gets, the more extreme events get, the more people lose their livelihoods, the more we increase inequality in the world.”

That being said, COP28 has finally delivered the global messaging that many climate fighters have been screaming for years; fossil fuels need to be phased out.

This is a positive step, even if it is but one snowflake of the essential sustainability snowball that must form over the coming decade. A sentiment best put by UN climate chief Simon Stiell – “genuine strides forward were made at COP28, but the initiatives announced in Dubai are a climate action lifeline, not a finish line.”


Impact of COP 28 on Logistics

How will the industry respond to a switch from the energy we currently rely on?

The order cycle of a truck is around two years, leaving hauliers in a difficult position speculating on which truck type is best to order. Will it be HVO, hydrogen or electric powered vehicles that meet the sustainability goals laid out by the UNFCC? This will help the sector evolve and future-proof their businesses.

Or will the pressures of companies looking to drive down costs in their supply chain force the logistics sector to keep purchasing affordable fossil fuel-powered vehicles?

One thing is for certain, the logistics industry will be going through an evolutionary change greater than ever before. 

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