Azerbaijan's task to make UAE climate vision 'come to life' at Cop29

UAE calls for finance deal as Azerbaijan takes the helm of next UN climate change summit

Cop29 is scheduled to take place from November 11 to 22 in Baku, under Azerbaijan's presidency. Getty Images
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The UAE is passing its role at the helm of global climate talks to Azerbaijan with a call to help green policies pledged in Dubai last year “come to life”.

Azerbaijan has made finance a key focus as it vows to build on the “crucial milestone” of Cop28 in the UAE.

The “troika” of the UAE, Azerbaijan and Cop30 host Brazil plan to work together to help countries make ambitious new green plans.

But talks in Germany taking place midway between Cop28 and Cop29 confirm it will be no easy task for Azerbaijan to get a deal on the funding needed.

Delegates from Arab countries and small island nations have put forward proposals that would ask for trillions of dollars from rich countries.

Although its presidency does not formally begin until Cop29 in November, Azerbaijan’s team has spent the Bonn talks busily sounding out negotiators.

At UN climate headquarters it has spoken to everyone from island states, scientists and youth delegates to diplomats from the EU, Russia and Arab states.

The UAE remains in the fray as the outgoing presidency and part of the “troika” as it calls for countries to act on what was agreed at Cop28.

The Dubai summit ended with a deal called the UAE Consensus in which countries agreed to “transition away” from fossil fuels and massively scale up clean energy.

It is now up to each country individually to set out by 2025 how they will deliver on those goals, in what is called a nationally determined contribution (NDC) in UN jargon.

“A coherent and responsive new collective finance goal at Cop29 must unlock climate finance at the scale and with the quality needed,” Cop28 chief executive Adnan Amin told diplomats in Bonn.

“This can allow the next generation of NDCs by Cop30 in Brazil to come to life. That is the mission.”

Mr Amin said recent extreme weather such as flooding in the Gulf, tornadoes in North America and cyclones in India “makes the work ahead of us even more important”.

“These events and climate shocks are no longer a forecasted scenario in climate modelling,” he said. “They are happening now, and they are becoming more frequent, and they are becoming more deadly.”

Milestone moment

Samir Bejanov, the deputy chief negotiator from Azerbaijan’s Cop29 team, said the outcome in Dubai was a “crucial milestone guiding us on the path” to limiting global warming.

The gas-rich former Soviet republic has said the outcome of Cop28 in the UAE shows it makes sense to have fossil fuel exporters at the heart of climate talks.

“As the incoming presidency, we aspire for Cop29 to be a force for good connecting north, south, east and west and mobilising the international community to combat climate change,” Mr Bejanov said.

He said Azerbaijan’s plan involves “creating conditions to enable climate action, by agreeing on a new goal for climate finance and shaping the global financial architecture to support our planet”.

One regular summit-goer from India told The National that Azerbaijan was making the right signals by calling for a “fair and ambitious” finance goal and seeing the talks as a “political opportunity” to repair trust in the process.

“I’m sure Azerbaijan, as a developing country itself, will be invested in furthering this conversation and ensuring an ambitious outcome at Cop29,” Avantika Goswami from the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi said.

She said making a finance deal in Baku will be a “tough challenge”, given funding has been the single stickiest item in UN climate negotiations since they began in the 1990s.

Azerbaijan “will face a lot of pressure from developed country partners,” she said. “It’s going to be difficult but I do believe that they have good intent to make sure that this is an ambitious outcome.”

As well as stressing finance, Azerbaijan has sought to build an image as a peacemaker after a breakthrough in peace talks with neighbour Armenia cleared the way for Cop29 to go to Baku.

The country has called for a “Cop truce” as it takes forward work from a first ever day of talks dedicated to “relief, recovery and peace” at Cop28, where 93 countries backed a declaration that conflict can add to people’s climate vulnerability.

At a time of global tensions, UN climate chief Simon Stiell rallied negotiators arguing over texts in Bonn committee rooms by telling them “words on paper can change the world”.

“In Dubai we agreed on a historic series of actions to respond to the Global Stocktake,” he said, referring to a once-every-five-years progress check on climate action.

“Now we have a choice – will we make good on these promises or are they just words on paper?”

Finance debate

At the heart of the talks is the question of what replaces a funding pledge of $100 billion per year for developing countries, which was met two years late in 2022 and became a major grievance in negotiating rooms.

A submission by an alliance of small island states calls for a new sum in the trillions every year until 2035, with rich countries sharing out the cost based on their historical contribution to climate change.

The Arab Group of countries has separately proposed a figure of $441 billion per year, with the aim that this mobilises private funding to bring the total to more than $1 trillion.

Rich-world negotiators have meanwhile hinted that more countries should chip in, such those that are significantly wealthier today than when a list of donors was drawn up in the 1990s.

A figure of almost $6 trillion was used in the Dubai talks to estimate the total cost of implementing national climate plans, with the revised versions of those due by Cop30 in 2025.

The UAE-Azerbaijan-Brazil troika have asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to set up a “coherent system-wide mechanism” that helps countries rewrite their green plans.

Mr Amin said the troika “provides us with an opportunity to connect the ambition under the Global Stocktake with the next critical milestones of our shared process at Cop29 and Cop30”.

He said the Cop28 presidency is “committed to supporting parties through the work of the troika to build international co-operation and an international enabling environment that is fit for purpose”.

“Fit to make the next generation of NDCs significant and meaningful, and to answer to the urgency of the moment and carry the UAE Consensus forward.”

Updated: June 07, 2024, 1:02 PM