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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

Sunday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a short assessment of progress from COP28 so far. It’s a bit of good news/bad news:

“At the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai, pledges have been made in three key areas – by many countries on renewables and energy efficiency, and by a significant number of companies on methane…

IEA analysis shows that the full delivery on these pledges – covering renewables, efficiency and methane/flaring – by the current signatories would result in global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 being around 4 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent lower than would be expected without them (based on the Stated Policies Scenario in the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2023). This reduction in 2030 emissions represents only around 30% of the emissions gap that needs to be bridged to get the world on a pathway compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5 C (the IEA’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario).”

The good news: this is major progress. The bad news is that there are only seven, I mean six, years left to achieve the scenario – along with the other 70% reduction in the emissions gap for a 2050 path. And that assumes that actions will be taken as pledged. History is against us there, unfortunately. Not just history actually – as I was writing this, news came across from Financial Times that:

“A draft agreement from the UN’s COP28 climate summit has dropped references to the phaseout of fossil fuels after opposition from oil and gas-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia. The document — which will have to be agreed by almost 200 countries at the summit in Dubai — sets out an optional range of actions that countries ‘could’ take to cut emissions to net zero by 2050. This includes reducing ‘consumption and production of fossil fuels, in a just, orderly and equitable manner so as to achieve net zero [carbon emissions] by, before, or around 2050 in keeping with the science’.” [See paragraph 39 of the linked document].

Does this change your company’s climate plans and targets?

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Photo credit: Timon –

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile