- Countries today launch a package of 25 new collaborative actions to be delivered by COP28 to speed up the decarbonisation under five key breakthroughs of power, road transport, steel, hydrogen and agriculture.
- Historic support by three COP Presidencies for COP26, COP27 and COP28 drives forward implementation from Glasgow to Sharm El Sheik and into the United Arab Emirates-hosted COP and sends a signal of intent to the private sector.
- Actions target sectors accounting for more than 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions and are also designed to reduce energy costs and enhance food security, with buildings and cement sectors to be added to the Breakthrough Agenda next year.
Last week, under the Breakthrough Agenda countries representing more than 50% of global GDP set out sector-specific ‘Priority Actions’ to decarbonise power, transport and steel, scale up low-emission hydrogen production and accelerate the shift to sustainable agriculture by COP28. These measures are designed to cut energy costs, rapidly reduce emissions and boost food security for billions of people worldwide.
The actions under each breakthrough will be delivered through coalitions of committed countries – from the G7, European Commission, India, Egypt, Morocco and others, supported by leading international organizations and initiatives, and spearheaded by a core group of leading governments. These efforts will be reinforced with private finance and leading industry initiatives and further countries are encouraged to join.
The Priority Actions include agreements to:
- Develop common definitions for low-emission and near-zero emission steel, hydrogen and sustainable batteries to help direct billions of pounds in investment, procurement and trade to ensure credibility and transparency.
- Ramp up the deployment of essential infrastructure projects including at least 50 large scale net-zero emission industrial plants, at least 100 hydrogen valleys and a package of major cross-border power grid infrastructure projects.
- Set a common target date to phase out polluting cars and vehicles, consistent with the Paris Agreement. Significant backing for the dates of 2040 globally and 2035 in leading markets will be announced by countries, businesses and cities on Solutions Day.
- Use billions of pounds of private and public procurement and infrastructure spend to stimulate global demand for green industrial goods.
- Systematically strengthen financial and technological assistance to developing countries and emerging markets to support their transitions backed up by a range of new financial measures, including the world’s first major dedicated industry transition programme under the Climate Investment Funds.
- Drive investment in agriculture research, development & demonstration (RD&D) to generate solutions to address the challenges of food insecurity, climate change and environmental degradation.
Against the backdrop of rising food prices, 13 countries have now endorsed the Agriculture Breakthrough led by the UK and Egypt, including recent new joiners Australia, Cambodia, Germany and Ireland, which aims to make climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture the most widely adopted option by 2030. While France and Morocco have signaled their intention to launch a new Buildings Breakthrough; Canada have signaled their intention to launch a new Cement Breakthrough in 2023 and Cambodia became the latest country to endorse the Breakthrough Agenda as a whole, bringing the total of countries endorsing the agenda to 47.
Today’s Breakthrough Agenda announcements build on the leader-level commitment at COP26 by 45 countries to work together to make clean technologies and sustainable solutions the most affordable, accessible and attractive option in each of the emissions-intensive sectors of the global economy, before the end of this decade.
“Since we launched the Breakthrough Agenda at COP26, the world has changed and we are facing a perilous geopolitical and economic situation. That only makes international collaboration more urgent,” said Alok Sharma, COP26 President. “That’s why I am pleased that countries representing over 50% of global GDP have now agreed to a set of priority actions for implementation. Now, it is vital for all to deliver and demonstrate real progress as we move forward. This is integral to achieving the 2030 goal of making clean technology affordable, available and accessible to all.”
Initiated by the UK COP Presidency in partnership with the Race to Zero and the UN Climate Change High Level Champions, this major international government-led programme will be overseen by Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerial from COP27 through to COP28.
“The Breakthrough Agenda provides a practical platform for partnerships between countries and across industries that will be essential to rapidly scale commercially viable solutions for climate progress,” Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change for the UAE said. “The UAE is keen to continue its contribution to the Breakthrough Agenda, as a pioneer in renewable energy, first-mover on hydrogen, as well as a champion of sustainable, decarbonized agriculture. Our support as founding members of AIM for Climate, the recent 100 GW Partnership to Accelerate Clean Energy (PACE) with the United States, and the 10 GW wind power agreement we signed with Egypt at COP27 are recent examples of that commitment. And as the host country of COP28, the Emirates Climate Conference, we are determined to bridge initiatives and outcomes from Glasgow and Sharm El Sheikh to the UAE.”
These priority actions are being supported and accelerated by a raft of developments across industry and government-led initiatives, with accompanying key announcements seen today and throughout COP27. These include:
- The First Movers Coalition, which launched at COP26 to help drive industrial decarbonisation, has expanded to 10 new corporate members including PepsiCo, General Motors, Rio Tinto and ETEX, to reach 65 in total with a combined market cap of about $8 trillion. Together they commit $12bn to commercialise zero-carbon technology to decarbonise the heavy industry and long-distance transport sectors, responsible for 30% of global emissions.
- The First Movers Coalition also launched its cement and concrete sector, with newly announced companies committing to purchase at least 10% near-zero carbon cement and concrete per year by 2030.
- A package of new financial announcements for industrial transitions: the launch of the Climate Investment Funds’ (CIFs) new Industry Transition Programme – the world’s first large scale dedicated finance programme for developing country industry transitions; a $410m green hydrogen investment in Egypt led by the EBRD; and World Bank plans to develop a $1.6bn green hydrogen global programme.
- This comes on top of recently confirmed plans to launch by COP28 the ‘CIFs Capital Market Mechanism’ – a new initiative instrument that modeling has shown will generate billions of dollars a year in extra finance into sector transitions over the next 10 years.
- The Mission Possible Partnership (MPP), an alliance of leading climate organisations, released 2030 Milestones for seven hard-to-abate industrial and transport sectors, following publication of transition strategies endorsed by more than 200 industrial companies.
- MPP will also provide advisory and technical support for accelerated decarbonisation projects in two industrial hubs in Houston and Los Angeles, United States, to scale first projects spanning multiple hard-to-abate industrial and transport sectors and inform the next wave of green industrial clusters.
- The Africa Net-Zero Concrete Group has launched and the first African Net-Zero Concrete National Roadmap has been set by Egypt.
- Meanwhile, a joint statement will be launched between the largest green hydrogen developers and shipping actors mutually committing to produce and use green hydrogen-derived fuels by 2030 and beyond.
These developments build on significant progress throughout the year, with investments in wind and solar projects expected to outpace oil and gas for the first time ever, while the pipeline of next generation low-emission facilities accelerated, with over 100 low-emission cement projects in planning and millions of tonnes of near-zero emission steel production plants now approaching financial investment decision. Over 50 countries are developing hydrogen strategies, collectively targeting 74GW of capacity, while more than $4bn has been allocated to agriculture innovation for climate, by the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate.
Other key developments seen throughout the year include:
- 23 national governments and the European Commission, collaborating under Mission Innovation, announced investment in 221 demonstration projects this year in clean energy innovation across key sectors including hydrogen and power.
- $94bn has been committed by governments – including 15 Clean Energy Ministerial members and 14 Mission Innovation members – towards demonstrating clean energy technologies by 2026 in response to US President Joe Biden’s $90bn Challenge.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal