File photo of Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Image Credit: IEA

Dubai: An orderly decline of fossil fuels should be a part of the outcomes at the COP28 UAE climate conference, Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said on Tuesday.

The IEA Chief shared these remarks after the COP28 Presidency and the intergovernmental energy organisation (comprised of 31 member countries) delivered their final dialogue at the climate conference.

Following the deliberations, Dr Birol set out five goals for COP28, including tripling renewable capacity by 2030, doubling energy efficiency by 2030, and an orderly decline of fossil fuel use starting with no new coal plants.

He advocated for commitment from the oil and gas industry to align their strategies with 1.5°C, focusing on eliminating methane emissions by 2030.

He also set a goal for countries to align their investment portfolios with 1.5°C and develop financing mechanisms for clean energy on a large scale in developing countries.

“I am glad to see alignment and support for the IEA’s five goals for COP28, including tripling of renewables, doubling of energy efficiency, real commitment from oil and gas industry, financing for developing countries, and orderly decline of fossil fuel use,” said Dr Birol.

The final dialogue between the Presidency and IEA was part of the high-level dialogue series at COP. It hosted over 40 leaders from Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia, including four heads of state.

‘Agreements on energy transition’

COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber said the dialogues have helped the UAE presidency converge on critical elements of the energy transition.

“The transition will not be straightforward, but it will be harder if we cannot agree on its central components. Simply put, to deliver the highest possible ambitious response to the Global Stocktake, we must work together,” said Al Jaber.

He added: “I am encouraged by the practical actions brought forward by world leaders today at the final dialogue. I hope that you take this open mindset and optimism throughout this COP.”

Delegates also strongly supported the COP28 Presidency’s Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, which more than 110 countries have signed. There was also a broad agreement on the need for urgent action on coal, not only on not permitting new unabated coal plants but also on accelerating the retirement of existing plants.

Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists, estimates that worldwide carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels will rise 1.1 per cent this year over 2022 to 36.8 billion metric tons. That’s a new peak and 1.4 per cent higher than the level in 2019, before the pandemic.

Leaders at the high-level dialogue also agreed that each country and organisation has an important role and that developed countries must support developing countries financially and with technology transfer. However, there was also acknowledgement that countries must seize the opportunity to build and accelerate their energy transition plans.