Climate Change

03 Jul 2024

Azerbaijan to Upgrade Climate Target Before COP29 Summit

03 Jul 2024  by reuters   

A general view shows an embankment of the Caspian Sea in Baku, Azerbaijan June 14, 2021. Picture taken through the window. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Azerbaijan, host of this year's United Nations COP29 climate summit, will upgrade its national emissions-cutting target ahead of the November event, a senior official said on Tuesday.

All countries face a U.N. deadline next year to toughen their national climate targets as part of a system designed to try to pull the world off its current track towards graver climate change.

But few governments are expected to do so this year. By moving early, Azerbaijan aims to nudge others to act.

"We plan to announce at least some part of it, and hopefully all of it, before COP. And we are sending signals to everybody to follow suit," Elnur Soltanov, CEO of the COP29 summit and Azerbaijan's deputy energy minister, said of the target.

Addressing an event in Brussels, Soltanov did not specify what his country's new target would be. But he said it would align with preventing more than 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming, and reflect the deals negotiated at last year's COP28 climate summit.

Among those deals was a world-first agreement among countries to transition away from fossil fuels.

Today, Azerbaijan's energy is nearly entirely produced from fossil fuels, although the government aims to expand renewable sources like wind and solar. The Caucasus republic's current climate target is to cut emissions 35% by 2030 and 40% by 2050, versus 1990 levels.

That is far short of the requirement for global net carbon dioxide emissions to reach zero by 2050, which the U.N. climate science panel (IPCC) has said is needed to limit global warming to 1.5C.

Despite countries' existing climate commitments, CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels - the main cause of climate change - hit a record high last year.

Soltanov said Azerbaijan's upgraded target would cover all sectors of its economy and emissions of all greenhouse gases - meaning not only CO2, but other planet-warming gases like methane, which leaches into the atmosphere from leaky oil and gas infrastructure.

The main task for the COP29 summit in Baku in November is for countries to agree on a new annual target for funding that wealthy countries will pay to help poorer nations cope with climate change.

Many developing countries say they cannot agree to upgrade their targets to cut emissions faster without first receiving more financial support to invest in doing this.


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