COP28: In a groundbreaking move at the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai on December 2, global leaders committed to tripling the world’s renewable generation capacity by 2030, aiming for a minimum of 11 TW installed.
COP28 Leaders Global Renewable and Energy Efficiency Pledge
A total of 116 nations officially endorsed the Global Renewable Pledge and Energy Efficiency Pledge during the COP28 conference. This collective commitment entails tripling renewable energy generation capacity to a minimum of 11 TW and doubling global energy efficiency improvement rates from the current approximately 2% per year to over 4% per year by 2030.
Key Milestone for COP28 Talks
While these targets were anticipated by the COP28 president leading up to the summit, the agreement marks a significant milestone in this year’s climate discussions. The pledges were formally introduced on December 2 under the Global Decarbonization Accelerator (GDA) program, strategically designed to expedite the energy transition and decrease global emissions.
Unprecedented Acceleration Required
Achieving the renewable energy target demands an unparalleled acceleration in deployment, considering today’s installed capacity of 2.3 TW for wind and solar combined. Simultaneously, expectations foresee a doubling of energy efficiency improvement rates, surpassing what was previously deemed realistic.
Ambitious yet Achievable Renewable Energy Goal
The International Energy Agency (IEA) views the goal of tripling renewables by 2030 as “ambitious yet achievable.” The IEA emphasizes the necessity for stronger policy actions by governments, ensuring resilient technology supply chains, secure and cost-effective system integration of solar PV and wind, and widespread renewables deployment, particularly in emerging and developing economies.
Hydrogen Declaration under GDA
As part of COP28’s GDA program, the UAE Hydrogen Declaration of Intent has been established. This initiative involves 27 countries committing to endorse a global certification hydrogen standard and recognizing existing hydrogen certification schemes. The objective is to facilitate global trade in low-carbon hydrogen.
Defining Clean Hydrogen Standards
The definition of clean hydrogen standards has been a challenging task, with global standards still elusive. Despite this, certain countries and regions have established rules for renewable and low-carbon hydrogen. Private initiatives are also contributing their own standards for global adoption.
EU and US Initiatives
The European Union (EU) finalized green hydrogen definitions earlier in 2023, incorporating strict temporal and geographical matching of renewable generation and associated hydrogen production. Similarly, the United States is aligning its course with the EU, addressing concerns about “additionality.” This concept mandates that green hydrogen electrolysis must be powered by new renewables capacity to avoid impacting green power grids negatively.
Ambitious Hydrogen Production Targets
In anticipation of the conference, COP28 president Sultan al-Jaber advocated for doubling global hydrogen production capacity to 180 million mt/year by 2030. This ambitious target surpasses the current conventional annual hydrogen production of around 90 million mt/year. Achieving such a milestone with low-carbon and renewable hydrogen poses a considerable challenge.