Climate Change

15 Mar 2024

COP29 Host Azerbaijan Plans to Upgrade Climate Target

15 Mar 2024  by reuters   

Azerbaijan's Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources and COP29 President, Mukhtar Babayev, attends the World Governments Summit, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 12, 2024. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Azerbaijan, host of this year's U.N. climate change talks, hopes to upgrade its emissions reduction target in time for the event, the incoming president of the COP29 summit said on Thursday.

Azerbaijan's economy relies on oil and gas, and its existing target - to cut greenhouse gas emissions 35% by 2030 and 40% by 2050 versus 1990 levels - is far short of the net zero level scientists say the world must reach by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Mukhtar Babayev, minister of ecology and natural resources, said his former Soviet nation had started preparations to consider updating its national climate change commitment (NDC).

"It is not only a chance for Azerbaijan, but all other countries to prepare and announce the upgraded NDCs in Baku in November this year," Babayev told a Financial Times conference in London in a recorded interview.

Azerbaijan's announcement comes as Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, sent a letter to all countries asking them to beef up their national climate plans up to 2035, strengthen their 2030 emissions reduction targets and commit more money for climate finance.

"Critically, your NDCs 3.0 (new climate plans) and 2030 targets will collectively determine whether the world can get back on a global emissions trajectory in line with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C this century, as required by science under the Paris Agreement," he wrote.

Stiell will attend a gathering of countries' climate ministers in Copenhagen next week.


Babayev, who previously spent two decades at Azerbaijan's state-owed oil and gas firm, did not specify what the amended target would be.

Campaigners and some climate scientists have criticised his appointment, for continuing a trend of individuals with deep ties to the oil and gas industry leading global negotiations to combat climate change.

Oil and gas account for 91% of Azerbaijan's exports, according to U.S. data, opens new tab for 2022.

Babayev said Azerbaijan was committed to expand green energy sources to a 30% share of the mix by 2030. The country is rich in untapped wind and solar resources, but today its energy is nearly entirely produced from fossil fuels.

He said he had begun talks with financial institutions, banks, campaigners and the private sector to lay groundwork for a consensus at the summit on raising more finance to help developing nations with the energy transition.

The November meeting in Baku will test governments' appetite to fight climate change after a bumper year of elections from the EU and U.S. to India and South Africa.

COP29 serves as the deadline for countries to agree a new global climate finance goal to help poorer nations cope with worsening climate change.

Last year’s COP28 climate summit in the United Arab Emirates was led by Sultan Al-Jaber, head of the country’s state-owned oil firm. That summit yielded the first global agreement to transition away from fossil fuels but fell short of the full phase-out more than 100 countries including the EU, U.S. and climate-vulnerable small island states had sought.


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