Azerbaijan takes spotlight at COP28 - unpacking crucial role of its green initiatives (PHOTO)

Economy Materials 1 December 2023 08:00 (UTC +04:00)
Azerbaijan takes spotlight at COP28 - unpacking crucial role of its green initiatives (PHOTO)
Laman Zeynalova
Laman Zeynalova
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, December 1. The 28th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) kicked off yesterday in Dubai, UAE.

This event, running until December 12, dives into discussions on the impacts of climate change and strategies to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. The central focus revolves around assessing the progress made in achieving the core objective of the Paris Agreement – preventing the global temperature from rising beyond 2°C.

The conference has been held annually since 1995. Its primary goal is to evaluate how we're faring globally in the battle against climate change. From the mid-'90s, discussions within this conference revolved around the Kyoto Protocol, outlining legal commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions in developed nations. Fast forward to sessions between 2011 and 2015, where the pivotal Paris Agreement took center stage and was ratified in 2015, standing as a key international document in our fight against climate change. As of today, 195 countries have joined forces in support of this agreement.

During the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow in 2021, Azerbaijan committed to slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Additionally, Azerbaijan proposed the creation of a carbon-neutral zone in the territories liberated from occupation by 2050.

Considering Azerbaijan's rising appeal for investment in green projects, this initiative holds immense promise, laying the groundwork for even more ambitious ventures in this field.

The event is expected to draw over 100 heads of state and government, along with approximately 100,000 representatives.

Azerbaijan is stepping onto the COP28 stage with its very own pavilion for the first time.

This 254 m2 space will not just host events and seminars with local, regional, and international organizations; it will also showcase virtual exhibits highlighting Azerbaijan's efforts in tackling climate change and dealing with its aftermath.

COP28, drawing in representatives from all corners of the globe, is also a vital platform to shed light on Armenia's eco-terrorism during the occupation of Azerbaijani territory. In 2022, the UN Environment Program conducted an assessment mission in the liberated areas, adding significance with the UN delegation's visit to Shusha and Hadrut for the first time after the Second Karabakh War. The report from this mission is now a crucial reference for Azerbaijan in any upcoming international discussions.

Azerbaijan, a traditional player in the energy export scene, has been actively embracing the shift towards green energy in recent times. The declaration of the Karabakh and Easter Zangazur regions as "green zones", coupled with Nakhchivan being labeled a "green energy zone", along with the strides taken in this direction, could significantly boost ties with developed nations.

Azerbaijan's sizable delegation at COP28 presents a great opportunity to delve into discussions about the potential of deploying eco-friendly and energy-efficient green technologies.

Azerbaijan is garnering considerable international backing in its pursuit of renewable energy sources, having already inked numerous deals with foreign partners. The agreements with major players like Masdar, ACWA Power, bp, and the 12-gigawatt contract with the Australian Fortescue Future Industries hold paramount importance in augmenting energy resource supplies to Europe.

By the end of this year, Azerbaijan is gearing up to roll out the first solar power station with a total capacity of 240 MW. Azerbaijan has inked some game-changing deals, including memorandums of understanding and contracts, to churn out a whopping 10 GW of electricity.

Azerbaijan is boldly charting its course in the renewable energy field. By 2027, the country aims to crank out 3 GW of wind energy, and 1 GW of solar power, with big plans to export 80 percent of that volume. By 2037, Azerbaijan has its sights set on boosting up its energy capabilities to a minimum of 6 GW.

Just recently, Azerbaijan hit a major milestone in bringing its ambitious energy strategy to life, unleashing the 230 MW Garadagh Solar Power Station.

Additional agreements have been sealed with Masdar, mapping out grand green energy projects totaling 1,000 MW. A 445 MW solar power station in Bilasuvar, a 315 MW solar power station in Neftchala, and a 240 MW wind power station in the Absheron-Garadagh region.

The primary market for Azerbaijan's green energy is Europe, and there is already a concrete project in the pipeline for supplying renewable energy. On December 17, 2022, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, and Hungary signed an agreement on strategic partnership, envisioning the construction of a so-called "energy bridge" from the Caucasus region to Europe. As part of this agreement, the construction of the underwater Black Sea Energy cable is anticipated, boasting a capacity of 1,000 MW and stretching 1,195 kilometers. The cable is designed for the delivery of green electricity generated in Azerbaijan, traversing through Georgia and the Black Sea to Romania, with subsequent transportation to Hungary and the rest of Europe. This will facilitate the supply of up to 4 GW of green energy. Besides Azerbaijan, the inclusion of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan in this project is also being considered.

Well, Azerbaijan is not just talking the talk, it is walking the walk when it comes to meeting its commitments under the Paris Agreement, a big topic at COP28. The country is rolling out real green projects, acting as engines to hit those decarbonization targets and actively pushing for carbon neutrality, not only within its borders but across the wider region. So, Azerbaijan's presence at this event right now, as the global community takes serious steps toward a green transition, carries significant weight in the region. Bagging major deals with influential energy players and kicking off ambitious projects is turning Azerbaijan, once a reliable supplier of hydrocarbons, into a hotbed for attracting green investments.