COP28 Needs to Fast-Forward the Global Energy Transition and Support for Developing Countries

The Wuppertal Institute's expectations for the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai

  • Press Releases 27.11.2023

The 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) will convene in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) from 30 November to 12 December 2023. COP28 will in particular conclude the first Global Stocktake (GST) under the Paris Agreement. To keep the objectives of the Paris Agreement within reach, the outcome of the GST needs to dramatically step up the fight against climate change. In particular, the conference needs to send a strong signal on accelerating the global energy transition and enhancing support for developing countries. The Wuppertal Institute also makes this clear in their statement.

The year 2023 saw another series of devastating extreme weather events around the globe and is on track to be the hottest year on record, marking yet another stark reminder of the escalating climate crisis. 

"The conference needs to deliver an honest recognition that current efforts are far from sufficient as well as clear action to close these gaps", Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick, President and Scientific Managing Director of the Wuppertal Institute, explains. "Countries need to commit to ending the use of fossil fuels as soon as possible, complemented by a step-change on energy efficiency and the deployment of renewable energy technologies."

In particular, according to IEA World Energy Outlook, parties to the Paris Agreement should commit to

  • An immediate stop to any further expansion of the exploitation and use of fossil fuel, followed by a reduction by a quarter by 2030, and a full fossil fuel phase-out by 2050,
  • Tripling globally installed renewable energy capacity by 2030,
  • Doubling energy intensity improvements by 2030,
  • Achieving a 75 per cent cut in methane emissions from fossil fuel operations by 2030,
  • Tripling clean energy investments in emerging and developing economies by 2030.

From targets to action

"However, setting targets does not reduce emissions by itself", Wolfgang Obergassel, Co-Head of the Global Climate Governance Research Unit at the Wuppertal Institute, explains. "The conference outcome should also request parties to indicate in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) how they will contribute to each of the global targets as outlined above. Ideally, parties should come forward with enhanced actions for this critical decade already in 2024. Additionally, the conference outcome should establish a tracking mechanism to closely monitor progress towards these global goals."

Support for developing countries

Another key topic at the conference will be financial support for developing countries, in particular regarding climate-induced loss and damage. "The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates loss and damage as already occurring at the level of 345 billion US-Dollar in 2020, set to increase to 580 billion US-Dollar in 2030", Christiane Beuermann, Vice-Director of Energy, Transport and Climate Policy Research Division at the Wuppertal Institute, explains. "Given the increasing devastation caused by climate change, the Dubai conference must deliver on a decision on the full operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund (LDF) and commitments for financial contributions to it."

Moreover, already in 2009, developed countries pledged to provide an annual amount of 100 billion US-Dollar in financial support to developing countries. However, this goal was not achieved in 2020 and 2021. While initial figures suggest that the objective was achieved in 2022, the shortfall in the preceding years massively eroded confidence in the international process. This lack of delivery must not be repeated. Furthermore, in order to achieve the overall sum that was pledged by 2025, developed countries should pay more than 100 billion US-Dollar in the coming years to meet the 100 billion US-Dollar goal on average over the period 2020-2025.

Developing countries in particular expect an increase of support for adapting to the impacts of climate change, which is still by far not at the same level as for mitigation. Moreover, the conference is expected to adopt a framework for the Paris Agreement's Global Goal on Adaptation to make this more operational by identifying more concrete targets and indicators.

The Wuppertal Institute provides impetus for the future with side events

The Wuppertal Institute is organising a series of side events at COP28 to present its research projects and findings and to promote discussions with delegates and partners in practice. The thematic focus will be on just industrial transformation and international carbon markets.

Analysing the outcomes of the conference

The experts of the Wuppertal Institute have been observing the ongoing negotiations and analysing their outcomes since the start of the UN climate process and compiled a more detailed statement on their expectations for the conference. Shortly after the conference closes, the Wuppertal Institute will publish an initial evaluation of the outcomes. Further information on COP28 can be found via the links below.

Virtual Wuppertal Lunch

On 18 December 2023 from 12.30 CET, the Wuppertal Institute‘s scientists in cooperation with Table.Media will discuss their assessment with external experts at the "Lessons from COP28: Between Progress and Challenges" virtual Wuppertal Lunch. Details on the programme will follow soon. Registration is possible via the link below. Podcast episode on expectations for the COP28

The Wuppertal Institute's latest podcast episode (German only) also focuses on COP28, with Viviane Raddatz, Head Climate and Energy at WWF Germany, and Wolfgang Obergassel discussing their expectations of this important conference. Together they assess the importance of the global stocktake and the Loss and Damage Fund.


Press Release

Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie gGmbH

Responsible for content: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Manfred Fischedick, President and Scientific Managing Director

Contact: Christin Hasken, Head of Communications

Tel: +49 202 2492-187


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