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COP28: Clarity’s analysis - the Australian Perspective

By Julia Hoy

Associate Partner

Sefiani

Part three of our three part blog series from Clarity’s sustainability experts marks the first day of COP28.

In this series, we’ve analyzed what the conference means to the citizens and businesses of the U.S., UK and Australia. In this final installment, we hear from Julia Hoy, Associate Partner - Communications with Sefiani, Clarity’s Australian team.

Julia is based in Sydney.

COP28 starts today

The 28th COP is kicking off in Dubai, and for the next two weeks delegates from around the world will discuss how we can collectively boost climate action and ambition.

The world is still on track to exceed 1.5-degree warming 

COP is being watched more closely by global audiences this year, with increasing extreme weather events among the many reminders that climate change is changing our planet and our way of life.

In 2016, world leaders signed the Paris Agreement and agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels. Today in 2023, the world is at 1.2 degrees over pre-industrial levels. Experts tell us that we now have less than ten years before we reach 1.5 degrees of warming. To put into perspective what that means: we are already seeing an increased loss of species, droughts, severe storms, hotter temperatures, health risks, and a reduction in food production at 1.2 degrees. Every bit of warming will see these challenges intensify. 

This is why the outcomes of the negotiations over the next two weeks are so important. 

The Global Stocktake is set to ratchet up climate commitments

At COP28, 198 countries will consider the Global Stocktake, an assessment of the world’s progress towards the Paris Agreement. It is an inventory of climate action, and presents an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved, what has worked well, the state of our planet, and where the gaps lie. This important process aims to help chart a better course forward in attempts to decelerate climate change. 

One of the areas that the Stocktake is expected to highlight is the lack of progress towards energy transition. Moving faster on energy transition (from fossil fuels to renewables sources of energy), and the financing needed to achieve this, is expected to be a key focus of discussion. 

This makes Australia’s recent announcement of an expanded scheme to subsidize and underwrite new renewable energy projects even more timely. The Australian Government wants 82% of the country’s power to come from renewable sources within seven years. This requires a jump from 35%, but until now the share of renewables has only been increasing by approximately 4% each year. 

The new capacity that is being considered in this scheme is significant, will go a long way to supporting the Government’s target, and may accelerate the closure of coal-fired power stations.  

Why the Stocktake matters to business

The Global Stocktake is looking at country-level progress, but it is difficult to separate businesses from the country where they’re based. This is because for the most part businesses are driving the economic activity leading to emissions or emissions removals.

This means the business community needs to play a leading role in responding to the Stocktake, and achieving the new targets (to be set in 2025). 

Announcing Australia and the Pacific Islands as the hosts of COP31 (2028)

Back at COP26 in 2021, Australia was criticized for its lack of climate action ambition. Since then there have been significant developments to Australian climate policy which has been welcomed by the global community. 

With this in mind, Australia is waiting for the expected announcement that in partnership with the Pacific nations it will be announced to be hosting COP31 in 2026. Ahead of this, Australia has been working hard to deepen engagement with the Pacific Island nations and has made a series of investments to support climate resilience in the region.

Australia will also have a more active presence than ever before at the conference and has been leading international negotiations on climate adaptation.

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