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My COP28 experience

Following months of internal discussions, planning, preparation, engagement with pavilions and with customers, I arrived in Dubai with hope and anticipation of a solid set of engagements, particularly with the energy industry. The first days were energizing. I met with people from all over the world with the common agenda to ensure a sustainable planet for future generations through actions now that avert climate catastrophe. I spoke and moderated panels, I met our customers, I attended others’ events, and I oriented myself around the huge Expo2020 venue.

by Al-Karim Govindji, Head of Public Affairs, Energy Systems at DNV

And my time there did not disappoint. The event is a great privilege that I shared with many of my DNV colleagues and the thousands of others present. We had the opportunity to converse with a global community of passionate, brilliant and dedicated people. Discussions with policymakers, with the private sector and with NGOs provided a richness that is hard to find at other occasions.  

A strong theme for me was the connectivity between climate, energy, food, health, finance, and equity, many of which saw voluntary commitments from many countries. 

And the text, well, positives and negatives, as any agreement with so many parties would require compromises that work for each country. 

COP28 at the finish line - How did the hosts do?

We entered the year 2023 with lots of media attention that the COP28 Presidency in the hands of one Dr Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of ADNOC, a major UAE and international oil and gas (O&G) company, was a mistake of judgement. DNV believes that the solution to the energy transition requires active participation of all stakeholders in the energy value chain (and beyond). O&G companies have critical resources, invest significantly in low carbon technologies, and of course are the ones who will make the decisions on how and when to decarbonise (policy mandates not withstanding). And let us not forget that Dr Sultan is also Chairman of Masdar, one of the biggest international renewables developers in the world. So, in our view, he represented a good choice.  

Much can be said in the way the UAE COP Presidency managed the negotiations, being a major petro-state, but that we got voluntary commitments from Day 1 was a major and welcome change in COP proceedings that was likely facilitated by the COP President over the past 12 months as he travelled to 50+ countries to ensure this COP met with success.  

“The UAE consensus” - A tale of two worlds  

The main news from COP was the inclusion of the words “fossil fuel” in the text for the very first time, albeit to “transition away from”. This was agreed by the 198 countries who are party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It effectively enjoins countries to commence a journey towards the elimination of fossil fuels, without setting targets, dates etc. this was viewed positively, largely by developed nations, but termed “insufficient”, principally by countries in the Global South, including the Small Island Developing States (SIDs). So, the parties with fewest resources and insufficient financing, who have yet to achieve the GDP of developed nations, are who are facing the brunt of the impacts of climate change, are the ones least satisfied.  

So, while the text is imperfect, and does nothing to stymie use of coal in India or China or any other country, continued exploration and production of O&G, etc., is a step forward; that it happened in an O&G producing nation is no small feat, and recognition must be given to this victory.   

EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen: "For the first time, the world is committing to a transition away from fossil fuels.”

China Vice Environment Minister, Zhao Yingmin: "Developed countries have unshirkable historical responsibilities for climate change.” 

Norway Minister for Climate and the Environment, Espen Barth Eide: “The new draft was the first time that the world had united around “such a clear text on the need to transition away from fossil fuels.”  

Alliance of Small Island States, a bloc of 39 countries: The second draft was an improvement and reflected a number of their submissions, but still contained “a litany of loopholes.”  

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore: "The influence of petrostates is still evident in the half measures and loopholes included in the final agreement. “ 

Singapore Environment Minister, Grace Fu: “I think we have to take the outcome as part of a deal that has been negotiated all round." 

Outcomes of the first global stocktake1  

The first ever Global Stocktake (outcome of COP) shows the massive gaps, but also the agreed actions.

  1. Reaffirms Paris of keeping global average temperature to well below 2 °C while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C.
  2. Notes with concern the pre-2020 gaps in both mitigation ambition and implementation by developed countries that they should have reduced emissions by 25%–40% below 1990 levels by 2020, which was not achieved. 
  3. The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted indicate that GHG emissions in 2030 are projected to be 5.3% lower than in 2019 (versus the 43% required).  

On mitigation, parties recognize "the need for deep, rapid and sustained reductions in GHG in line with 1.5 °C pathways and calls on Parties to contribute to the following global efforts, in a nationally determined manner, taking into account the Paris Agreement and their different national circumstances, pathways and approaches:  

  • x3 RE globally and doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030. 

  • Accelerating efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power.  

  • Accelerating efforts globally towards net zero emission energy systems, utilizing zero- and low-carbon fuels well before or by around mid-century. 

  • Transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems to achieve net zero by 2050. 
  • Accelerating zero- and low-emission technologies, including (RE, nuclear, CCUS, particularly in hard-to-abate sectors, and low-carbon hydrogen production.  
  • Accelerating and substantially reducing non-carbon-dioxide emissions globally, including in particular methane emissions by 2030.  
  • Accelerating the reduction of emissions from road transport.
  • Phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transitions, as soon as possible. 

Voluntary agreements  

In addition to the formal text, many parties made voluntary pledges, including,  

  1. Triple up, Double Down. 130 countries committed to triple the world's installed renewable capacity to 11,000GW by 2030, considering different starting points, and to double the global annual rate of annual energy efficiency improvements from 2% to 4% every year to 2030. Note, India and China have not signed. 

  2. Thirty-seven countries signed hydrogen and derivatives pledge. Importantly, this includes a mutual recognition of the need for certification schemes for renewable and low carbon hydrogen and derivatives. India first put this forward at the G20 meeting in Delhi.  

  3. Various financial commitments have also been made (see picture below). Note, the Loss & Damage fund (the destruction the climate crisis on the vulnerable and poor countries that had little to cause the climate crisis) while going up from the initial $420m to $792m annually is, by some estimates less than 0.2% of what is needed every year (between $100bn-$580bn). The funds should also come as grants, not loans or guarantees. 
    COP28 - Action builds hope - Climate finance: Committment counter   
    Source: Gulf News

DNV at COP28 

DNV had an active and broad representation at COP, including by our Group President and CEO, Remi Eriksen, CEO of Energy Systems, Ditlev Engel, and CEO of Supply Chain & Product Assurance, Geir Fuglerud. DNV also sponsored the Global Renewables/IRENE Hub and met with Gauri Singh, Deputy DG of IRENA, along with other Energy/State Ministers, for example Geoff Pyatt, USA Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources. We sponsored and hosted seven events the Norway Pavilion with company CEOs from renewables developers, grid operators, O&G sector and industry. We also hosted events at the Greece Pavilion with Alexandra Sdoukou, Deputy Minister of Environment & Energy of Greece and George Papanastasiou, Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry of Cyprus. In addition, our CEOs sat on 15+ panels and held multiple bilateral meetings with our customers.   

Next up

As we look to COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan in November 2024, we require many actions from state actors, from industry and from citizens. DNV will be working hard to work with the industry to drive the energy transition faster and at scale. This includes directly with companies, in joint industry innovation projects and by leveraging our Energy Transition Outlook insights to support governments make sound policy decisions. Join us on our journey!  


As a global and independent risk advisory firm, we work directly with the leading companies in the energy value chain, along with the wider industry. We are also active with policymakers and sector associations. DNV published its annual global Energy Transition Outlook and Pathway to Net Zero reports (in October and November, respectively) that indicate where DNV expects the world to be in 2100 and the gap to 1.5C. This provides us with clear insights on the policy landscape, as well as on the expected speed of cost reduction and deployment rates of a range of clean technologies, such as wind, solar, storage, CCUS, hydrogen etc., as well as insights into the work of the oil and gas sector and their road to net zero.

1) Final COP text

12/20/2023 9:16:43 AM

Contact us

Al-Karim Govindji

Al-Karim Govindji

Head of Public Affairs, Energy Systems