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Wednesday, 3 May 2023

Petersberg Climate Dialogue kicks off in Berlin laying the groundwork for COP28 discussions

The world must be “laser-focused on phasing out fossil fuel emissions,” COP28 President-Designate Sultan Al Jaber said in a speech at the opening of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin (watch, at minute 50:30). With a stress on the word emissions, Al Jaber said efforts must be made in tandem to scaling up viable, affordable renewable alternatives. The two-day dialogue — taking place behind closed doors between representatives of over 40 countries — is set to lay the groundwork for what discussions will be taking place at COP28 later this year when the UAE hosts the summit.

Setting a target on renewables could be a key debate: COP28 “should and can reach a target on renewables at the next climate conference,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said (watch, at minute 12:43). While Baerbek affirmed that “our objective for COP28 has to be to usher in the end of the age of fossil energy,” there were no further details on what this would mean in terms of the level of investments being poured into fossil fuels (watch, at minute 15:22). Meanwhile, Al Jaber called on participants to triple their renewable energy production capacity by 2030, before re-tripling that number by 2040 in a bid to curb global warming levels (watch, at minute 00:53).

And hydrogen value chains are in the spotlight: Al Jaber also highlighted the importance of adopting government regulations aimed at supporting decarbonization. “We will encourage smart government regulations to jump-start the hydrogen value chain, and make carbon capture commercially viable,” Al Jaber said (watch, at minute 51:56).

REMEMBER- The language around phasing out fossil fuels has been the sticking point of contention in most climate negotiations so far, including the recent G7 meeting where the seven most developed nations could not agree on the wording for a commitment to phasing out coal.

Developed countries to “finally” adhere to climate financing commitment: Germany’s recent efforts to get donor countries to adhere to the USD 100 bn climate funding commitment to developing countries are ongoing — including upcoming talks with Canada on Sunday, Baerbok said, adding that “we are on a good track to finally make good on the USD 100 bn this year” (watch, at minute 17:30).

But some argue it’s too little: Although the 100 bn is “a genuine attempt to finally meet reality,” Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said, developed countries should not “hold on to a notional USD 100 bn that was promised 14 years ago as if that could solve the problem today,” considering that the financing needed today is just over USD 2 tn a year (watch, at minute 1:13:10).

And Al Jaber and Egypt agree: The “real value” of the USD 100 bn commitment has “eroded over time” given that the pledge was first made at COP15 in 2009, Al Jaber said (watch, at minute 49:00) while Egypt’s Ambassador to Germany Khaled Galal Abdelhamid — speaking on behalf of Egyptian Foreign Minister and COP27 President Sameh Shoukry — said the climate finance situation is “dismal” (watch, at minute 34:50).

Mottley called for slashing excess risk imposed on developing countries: “A joint partnership between the IMF and the World Bank that will guarantee long run exchange rates without the excess risk premium that financial markets charge,” Mottley said, particularly for companies in the Global South. This will allow the facilitation of private savings into financing the green transformation, she added (watch, at minute 1:14:00).

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