Yesterday the President of COP28, Sultan Al Jaber, laid out his strategy for the summit and if fulfilled it could be ground breaking. Al Jaber reconfirmed the commitment to keeping below 1.5 Celsius, which did seem threatened last year. He has also removed the word emissions from the plan to phase out fossil fuels, observers were worried the use of the word emissions implied he would support business as usual for fossil fuels and reliance on CCS to remove emissions. Jaber is now using the phrase ‘phase down’ fossil fuels, many observers were hoping for ‘phase out’ but the removal of the emissions word is progress. He is also calling for a comprehensive transformation of the World Bank and other international financial institutions and for more private sector funding for the Global South (as asked for by Mia Mottley at COP27 and Citizens’ Climate International is campaigning for) and for the commitment to $100bn climate finance made in 2020 to be delivered on.

A global stock-take will be conducted for the first time so countries have to report on the progress they have made on the emissions reduction promises they made in Paris in 2015. Countries will be expected to submit updated NDCs in September. The UK might want to take guidance from a recent report from the UCL as current government strategy will not meet the demands of COP28. 

UK Energy Independence: Mapping out potential pathways to a more energy Independent UK was published in May. It was co-authored by members of the UCL Energy Institute and Institute for Sustainable Resources and outlines how the UK could become energy independent by 2050 without the need for new oil and gasfield development. The report suggests 3 pathways, Emerging and Developing which are in line with the Committee for Climate Change proposals and a more ambitious Secure pathway which suggests a faster phase out of oil for transportation and residential gas use. 

The UCL’s suggestions would likely meet the approval of Alok Sharma, who on gaining a knighthood for his work as COP26 President stated that “I think there are areas where we have moved forward, but the reality is that, if we are going to keep alive the prospect of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, we need to be doing a lot more (and) countries need to accelerate on the commitments they’ve already made.”

Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change (LSE) (which has researched the effects of a Climate Income policy in the UK) said …There has been criticism of Al Jaber’s links with the national oil company, claiming they prevent him from being a credible Cop president. But this speech shows detailed ambitions for progress on the major issues, including a recognition of the need for oil companies to be part of the solution. If Cop28 does deliver all the ambitions outlined, it would be one of the most important summits in history.”