World Climate in Focus: 2023’s Top International Developments
By Faridat Salifu
As the year 2023 comes to a close, reflecting on the significant international climate developments reveals the complexities and potential progress in the fight against climate change.
Here are the key takeaways from the year’s climate change landscape:
Financial Challenges in Climate Action: The issue of financing ambitious and climate finance, energy transition plans and climate adaptation efforts in developing countries remained a point of contention.
The unfulfilled commitment to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance to vulnerable nations underscored the ongoing struggles in securing adequate financial resources for climate action.
Energy Transition Dynamics: The discussions in 2023 revolved around the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Cop28 agreement marked a milestone with its inclusion of a goal to move away from all forms of fossil fuels in energy systems, while also acknowledging transitional fuels like gas and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
This comprehensive approach sparked both support and critique, highlighting the challenges in achieving a sustainable energy transition.
US-China Climate Talks: The diplomatic relations between the US and China had implications for climate finance discussions. The gradual thawing of relations led to a bilateral meeting where climate envoys, John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua agreed to revive a climate working group and outlined potential alignment in negotiations. The personal rapport between the envoys proved instrumental in finding common ground on climate issues.
Challenges in Carbon Credits: 2023 presented significant setbacks in the carbon credits market, with controversies and scandals tarnishing its reputation. The failure to reach an agreement on integrity rules for carbon offsetting at Cop28 highlighted the persistent struggles in establishing a global carbon market under the Paris Agreement.
Realities of Coal-to-Clean Deals: The implementation of energy transition partnerships faced hurdles, with issues emerging in deals with countries such as South Africa, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Challenges included concerns over funding structure, alterations to climate targets, and opposition from influential sectors, underscoring the complexities of transitioning away from coal.
Progress in Loss and Damage Fund: Despite the challenges, notable achievements in climate finance discussions were observed, particularly the establishment of a loss and damage fund to address the impacts of climate change on vulnerable nations.
These key takeaways from 2023 illustrate the nuanced and multi-faceted nature of international climate developments, highlighting the continued need for collaboration, innovation, and sustained efforts to address climate change.