International Climate and Energy Summit in Madrid builds momentum behind efforts to reach 1.5 °C goal.
Ministers and senior officials from close to 40 countries around the world joined heads of international organisations and representatives from industry, civil society and youth organisations in Madrid on Monday for the International Climate and Energy Summit. Co-hosted by the Government of Spain, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Union, and the International Energy Agency, the Summit sought to build a broad coalition behind efforts to keep the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C within reach.
Under co-chairs Vice President Teresa Ribera of the Government of Spain and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, the Summit opened with statements from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and COP28 President-Designate Sultan Al Jaber. It focused on strengthening support for actions to scale up clean energy and reduce demand for fossil fuels ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in order to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement.
At the Summit, high-level policy makers convened to discuss how to facilitate a just energy transition, as well as setting and achieving global targets for renewables and energy efficiency. Representatives from industry and civil society also shared their perspectives at a roundtable discussion with governments.
Conversations at the Summit were informed by the IEA’s recent report, Net Zero Roadmap: A Global Pathway to Keep the 1.5 °C Goal in Reach – 2023 Update. It found that for the world’s emissions to peak by 2025 and then fall rapidly until they hit net zero by 2050 or earlier, both a step change in ambition and new levels of global cooperation are vital.
The discussions in Madrid reflected that the key actions required to sharply bend the emissions curve this decade are widely known, cost effective and occurring at an accelerating rate. Tripling renewable energy capacity, doubling the pace of energy efficiency improvements, ramping up electrification and slashing methane emissions from fossil fuel operations together provide 80% of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to put the energy sector on a pathway to limit warming to 1.5 °C, according to the IEA report.
“The IEA’s data shows that even if no new climate policies are enacted, demand for all three fossil fuels will peak this decade – the result of spectacular progress among key clean energy technologies such as solar and electric cars. However, this is still insufficient to limit global warming to 1.5 °C, a target that scientists have said is essential,” Dr Birol said. “Today, a broad coalition of stakeholders showed their commitment to increasing our global ambition – a sign of what is needed to keep the 1.5 °C goal alive during a crucial period for action ahead of COP28.”
“We have the power to deliver a positive outcome from COP28, but we must act quickly,” Vice President Ribera said. “The leaders from government, international organisations, the private sector and civil society who came together today showed dedication to keeping the goals of the Paris Agreement within reach. Now, these conversations must translate into bolder commitments and even stronger cooperation. Climate change is a global problem and it requires a global response.”
The Sixth Assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly highlighted that “[net] zero CO2 energy systems entail: a substantial reduction in overall fossil fuel use”, enabled by the rapid growth of low-emissions sources of energy supply. Recent analysis from the IEA shows that, based on today’s policy settings and even without additional climate policies, demand for each of the three fossil fuels is set to peak this decade, thanks to the extraordinary growth of decarbonised energy technologies. The beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era is in sight, but it needs to be accelerated if the 1.5 ºC goal is to be met. A recognition of this from COP-28 would provide important guidance for an orderly transition.
The transition must be collaborative, inclusive and people-centred. Ensuring the scale-up of decarbonised energy investment in emerging market and developing economies must be a central focus of global collaboration and implies reform of our multilateral financial institutions. International collaboration is needed to scale up resilient, diverse, open and sustainable clean energy technology supply chains, notably for the critical minerals that are required to make many of the key technologies. Cooperation is needed more than ever before in today’s context of geopolitical fragmentation. Keeping the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C in reach requires countries around the world to come together quickly. The good news is we know what we need to do – and how to do it. But strong international cooperation is crucial to success.
To keep the 1.5 °C target within reach, the Summit put forward five objectives for COP28:
- Support the tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
- Aim to double the rate of global energy intensity improvements by 2030.
- Ensure the orderly decline of the use of fossil fuels.
- Recognise that scaled-up investment is required.
- Highlight the critical role of, and opportunity for, the fossil fuel industry to reduce methane emissions from their operations, with the aim of cutting them 75% by 2030.
- International Energy Agency - IEA