COP 28:

What is the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge?

Catch-up on COP: Regular updates and analysis from Strategic Agenda

More than 120 countries pledge to triple renewable energy capacity. 

At COP 28, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen launched the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, which raises the need to accelerate the transition towards renewable energy sources. 

Background: The Global Decarbonization Charter

In April 2023 at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, von der Leyen announcement the pledge, highlighting the need to accelerate the energy transition, set global targets for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enter a new frontier for technology. This pledge boils down to two concrete goals to achieve by 2030:

  • Triple the global installed capacity of renewable energy sources to at least 11,000 gigawatts

  • Double the global rate of energy efficiency improvements from about 2 per cent to 4 per cent

On the second day of the climate summit, COP 28 President Sultan al-Jaber unveiled the Global Decarbonization Accelerator (GDA), an action plan with three pillars:

Rapidly scale the energy system of tomorrow

Decarbonise the energy system of today

Target methane and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases

The Fine Print: Unabated Fossil Fuels


Some climate groups have cast a shadow of scepticism over the pledge, raising concerns over greenwashing as well as highlighting the pledge’s use of the word “unabated” wherever fossil fuels are mentioned.

“Unabated” refers to fossil fuel plants that don’t use Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage technology (CCUS). Simply, the pledge doesn’t commit to completely phasing out fossil fuels; only ones that aren’t equipped with CCUS technology. The IPPC, one of the organisations mentioned in the pledge, found that CCUS technology has limited potential to reduce emissions, squaring with comments by the United Nations Secretary-General that the 1.5°C goal is only achievable if we “stop burning fossil fuels. Not reduce, not abate.” 

On the other hand, the commitments made during the summit have widened the scope of climate negotiations. 


Finance: the “Great Enabler for Climate Action”

For the pledge to become reality and for these disasters to be mitigated, the world needs financing, and a lot of it. In October 2023, UNEP released its annual Adaptation Gap Report, which the editors at Strategic Agenda worked on, detailing how the lack of investment and finance for climate adaptation exposes the world, particularly least developed countries, to a host of disasters. 

The pledge entails addressing energy poverty by expanding financial support to scale energy systems in developing economies and build accessible climate financing mechanisms, specifically for the 800 million people around the world lacking electricity. 

On the heels of this pledge, USD 568 million was committed in order to drive investments in clean energy manufacturing. The European Union also announced it would invest USD 2.5 billion to support the energy transition around the world. 

These are steps in the right direction, but the question remains: will they be enough?



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