Thursday, February 29, 2024

Cop28: Focus on sustainable infrastructure investment dominates world climate change forum | New Civil Engineer

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The 28th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (Cop28) has seen world leaders focus on securing investment for green infrastructure around the globe.

Cop28 is being held from 30 November until 12 December 2023 at Expo City, Dubai, with climate finance as the central theme.

So far, nations involved in the conference have raised a total of $68.1bn (£54M) of green finance for the world, have committed at total of $6.8bn (£5.4bn) to invest in the green energy sector and have pledged $3.1bn (£2.8bn) to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF is a Cop fund used to assist developing countries in adaptation to counter climate change.

It has been widely stated throughout the conference that sustainable, green infrastructure is essential for achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. However, there is a significant gap between the demand and supply of sustainable infrastructure financing in developing countries. An estimated $15 trillion (£11.9 trillion) of funding is needed by 2040 to meet the infrastructure requirements of low and middle income countries.

Amongst the pledges of green finance, the UK has stumped up £80M to be used through the Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions, a flagship UK partnership programme, announced by net zero minister Graham Stuart. This programme uses funding to support governments across Africa, Asia, and Latin America to set clean growth goals and reduce emissions by starting renewable energy projects, promoting greener transport and practicing more sustainable use of land.

At the start of the conference, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak announced £1.6bn for international climate finance projects over the course of Cop28, aimed at stopping and reversing deforestation, protecting the natural environment and accelerating the global transition to clean and renewable energy.

Stuart further announced key partnerships with countries on a range of issues to help international efforts to tackle climate change.

This includes the UK pledging its commitment to the Green Public Procurement Pledge, alongside Germany, Canada and the US, and sending a multi-billion-dollar global demand signal to accelerate low-carbon steel, cement and concrete production.

Confederation of British Industry chief executive Rain Newton-Smith said: “The UK has always been a leader in the global net zero transition. It was the first to sign net zero into law, has cut emissions faster than any other G7 nation, and, through the Cop26 Presidency, has led unprecedented engagement with the private sector.

“However, climate change is a global issue with global repercussions, and it’s simply not enough to focus on our own actions. This announcement will allow the UK to play an important role in supporting developing countries to make their own transition.

“In turn, business stands ready to do its part and to champion the impact that increased public-private collaboration can have on this generation defining issue.”

In other parts of the forum, African and global institutions together with the governments of Germany, France and Japan have pledged over $175M (£139M) to the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa. This pledge will be used to help rapidly scale up financing for transformative climate-aligned infrastructure projects across the continent.

The UAE president Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also announced a $30bn (£24bn) fund for global climate solutions that aims to attract $250bn (£200bn) of investment by the end of the decade.

118 countries have also agreed targets to triple renewable power generation capacity to 11,000GW, and double energy efficiency before 2030. Amongst this is the efforts the transport sector is making to move away from using fossil fuels.

“The game-changer has been the policy support for the shift to electrification quite substantially reducing oil demand from the transportation sector, which has been the key driver of global oil demand growth,” said International Energy Agency energy modeler Apostolos Petropoulos.

Firms from the UK have also made their pledges. Arup has agreed to support informal settlement dwellers with climate resilience. It is launching a pilot project to be delivered with the Rasulabad Informal Settlement in Surat, India as part of the Roof Over Our Heads (ROOH) campaign.

The pilot will bring together local and global climate expertise and technical insight to support the settlement with preparing for and dealing with extreme weather events. The programme focuses on expanding the community’s access to carbon neutral and affordable materials, as well as informing and assisting with housing design to improve energy efficiency and ensure adaptability in response to the impacts of climate change.

Women gathered in an informal settlement in India

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