US State Department, IEA laud vital role of COP29 in Azerbaijan

Green Economy Materials 7 June 2024 13:31 (UTC +04:00)
US State Department, IEA laud vital role of COP29 in Azerbaijan
Laman Zeynalova
Laman Zeynalova
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 7. This November, Azerbaijan will become the central arena of international climate policy as it hosts the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP29). The global community holds high expectations for this event, viewing it as a crucial opportunity to take concrete steps on climate finance. Leaders from major countries and international organizations are prepared to collaborate with Azerbaijan to jointly develop effective mechanisms and initiatives aimed at reducing the impact of climate change.

COP29 in Azerbaijan symbolizes a decisive step forward in global efforts to protect the planet and strengthen international partnerships in combating one of the most pressing challenges of our time.

Addressing the opening of the 29th International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition - Caspian Oil & Gas and the 12th Caspian International Power and Green Energy Exhibition - Caspian Power as part of the Baku Energy Week on June 4, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said that by taking on this very responsible duty as the host of COP, Azerbaijan fully realized the advantages and maybe some complications.

“But we are committed to it. Climate change here in Azerbaijan can be seen when you look at the Caspian Sea shore. Every year, we see the sea is going away. That's because of climate change, because of irrational human activity. Because the Caspian Sea is supplied by the rivers, which come from beyond our borders. We have zero responsibility for this catastrophe if we don't take serious measures, we will face a major disaster. We are doing everything in order to supply more water to the sea, building new dams and water storages to collect water. But the main vessels, which feed the Caspian Sea, are not in Azerbaijan,” said the head of state.

President Ilham Aliyev said that climate change is a challenge for every country.

“We have taken a proactive step. We are now working actively with our partners. We have established a Troika with the UAE and Brazil, the future host of COP30. As a former chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, which consists of 120 countries, we are trying to build bridges between this institution and the European Union. Azerbaijan has signed declarations on strategic partnership with 10 member states of the EU. We are actively working with the Small Island Developing States. We are planning to establish a special fund to support them.

Because for us here in Azerbaijan climate change is a problem, for them it is an existential threat. So, we are trying to demonstrate maximum responsibility and at the same time, to build bridges between different parts of international community. One of the most important results, if we achieve at COP apart from financing, will be putting down mutual accusations and stopping blaming each other for what is happening. We need to join our efforts, put down all these claims, and concentrate on the agenda, which will help us to live on this planet, not only for us but also for our children and grandchildren,” said the head of state.

Senior Advisor for Multilateral Energy Diplomacy at the Bureau of Energy Resources of the US Department of State Harry Kamian said in an exclusive interview with Trend that COP29 is a critical opportunity to deliver a new paradigm for investing in climate action around the world.

PHOTO: US State Department

"As COP29 host, Azerbaijan has a real opportunity to continue the momentum from COP28 on tackling methane emissions. Methane emissions are both an environmental threat as they supercharge global warming – 80 times more potent than CO2 -- but also a wasted economic resource. Azerbaijan joined the Global Methane Pledge earlier this year, demonstrating real leadership as COP host. Partnership with oil and gas companies will be critical, as the fossil energy sector has the largest, fastest, and cheapest methane reduction potential across sectors," he said.

Kamian believes that another main priority for COP29 will be to make progress on implementing the Global Stocktake outcome from COP28.

"This includes efforts to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems and triple renewable energy and double energy efficiency globally by 2030. While there is still substantial work ahead of us to keep the 1.5 degree C goal within reach, COP28 put us one significant step closer. COP29 will also focus on efforts to scale-up investments in climate action globally. We need to leverage all the sources of finance to combat the climate crisis - domestic and international, public and private," he said.

Kamian pointed out that a critical outcome of the COP29 negotiations will be to adopt the successor to the current goal of developed countries to mobilize $100 billion per year to support climate action in developing countries.

"This negotiation is a critical opportunity to deliver a new paradigm for investing in climate action around the world, building on public support to deploy the full force of the global economy and the private sector," he added.

Kamian went on to add that Azerbaijan has tremendous renewables potential, particularly in solar and wind. As President Biden wrote in his message to President Ilham Aliyev wishing him a successful Baku Energy Week, Caspian wind can potentially lead to a future where Azerbaijan’s clean energy exports outpace oil and gas exports, he said.

"The United States is eager to expand our bilateral cooperation in transitioning to clean energy as we both pursue our own aggressive paths towards decarbonization. Energy Minister Shahbazov’s visit to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado in February is a great example of how our bilateral cooperation in renewables is growing. As Azerbaijan deploys more renewables, the United States stands ready to partner to ensure these renewables can immediately deliver reliable electricity to the citizens of Azerbaijan and beyond," noted Kamian.

He believes that greater deployment of renewables and increasing energy efficiency brings a variety of benefits – reducing Azerbaijan’s carbon emissions in line with its COP commitments, freeing up more gas for export without new investment or related emissions, and bolstering Azerbaijan’s energy security by adding diversification of energy types.

The international Energy Agency (IEA), which is pioneering actively the promotion of green energy agenda, also has high expectations from COP29.

Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of IEA said in an interview with Trend that COP29 can be a turning point both for Azerbaijan and at the international level.

PHOTO: Fatih Birol/X

"The COP meetings are international summits around the world. I had the opportunity to attend several COP meetings. For the COP29, I expect a number of things from Azerbaijan's presidency. The first one is to push forward the good outcomes coming from COP28 on renewables, energy efficiency, reduction of methane emissions and others for which the IEA played an instrumental role. Secondly, I hope, a very key topic for clean energy transition globally, which is the financing of clean energy transition will get a good place there. Thirdly, countries are about to make new commitments in the years to come in terms of how they are going to reduce the emissions. I hope the Azerbaijani presidency will provide a good basis for that," he said.

In addition, IEA's executive director believed that Azerbaijan can emerge as a leader in green transition.

"I see that there is also a political determination from the government. I expect that on one hand, providing an important contribution to the fight against climate change globally, Azerbaijan can take steps to support the clean energy transition, evolution of the countries in the region. I believe there is a huge opportunity for Azerbaijan to show its leadership. I know that, unlike some other COP presidencies, Azerbaijan has much less time. Normally, it is about two years or so for the preparation of the presidencies. But in the case of Azerbaijan, it is some eight months that the government has. But my interactions with the Azerbaijani government officials, including the president-designate of COP29, and his colleagues, with the foreign minister, the economy minister, I see that they are very keen to make a perfect job," said Birol.

He noted that IEA is ready to support Azerbaijan, as it did in the United Arab Emirates, ensuring its successful COP28 presidency.

COP29 will be an important milestone in strengthening international partnerships and cooperation in the fight against climate change. The host country and conference participants will strive to develop new mechanisms and initiatives aimed at reducing climate risks and ensuring sustainable development. The successful hosting of COP29 in Baku will be a significant step forward in global efforts to protect the planet, laying the foundation for long-term strategies and actions to preserve the environment for future generations.

As a landmark event in international climate policy, COP29 carries the high expectations of the global community, which anticipates concrete action on climate finance. With its significant renewable energy potential, Azerbaijan can demonstrate its leadership and commitment to global climate goals.

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