Dubai Consensus – COP 28 UPSC NOTE

 What did the climate conference agree to in the Dubai Consensus? 

  • The 28th edition of the COP concluded in Dubai this week with 198 signatory countries agreeing that the world must “transition” away from fossil fuels in a “just, orderly and equitable manner” to achieve net zero by 2050.

  • The Dubai Consensus, as this agreement is called, is significant only because this is the first time since 1995, when the first ever COP was held in Berlin, that there is a formal acknowledgement that emissions from fossil fuels are the main culprit driving global warming. 

  • All agreements have only spoken of the need to stem “greenhouse gas emissions.” 

  • This is despite it being common knowledge that three-fourth of such emissions and 90% of carbon dioxide are the result of burning coal, oil and gas. 

  • It was only in the 26th edition of the COP, in Glasgow in 2021, that countries agreed to tackle coal with the biggest global-warming footprint by agreeing to “phase down” its use

  • Large, developing countries like India and China, have protested against the singling out of coal among fossil fuels.

  • India, while rich in coal reserves, is still an importer of the product and has limited oil and gas reserves

  • China is rich in both coal and gas. 

  • The United States, that derives about a fifth of its energy from coal, has usually been supportive of calls to phase out coal but being heavily dependent on oil and gas reserves, has never voiced any call to action to eliminate the latter two. 

  • Now that all fossil fuels have been included in the Dubai Consensus.

  • It brings parity among fuels and acknowledgement that they all need to be done away with for the world to have a chance at preventing global, average temperatures from rising 1.5 degree Celsius over pre-industrial levels. 

  • But because there are no timelines yet, fossil fuels are going to be the mainstay of economies everywhere in the years to come.

The challenges for the world to achieve net zero by 2050?

  • Nearly two centuries of industrialization has meant that there is a well-oiled infrastructure system to extract.

  • The process and distribute coal, oil and gas to all kinds of power plants and convert them to electricity and combustible products, ranging from petrol and diesel to plastic. 

  • Unfortunately, power from natural sources of power such as solar and wind are not as easily available, on demand.

  • The infrastructure to store all of the energy produced this way is grossly inadequate

  • India’s National Electricity Plan, 2022-27, plans to add nearly 87,000 MW in this period in the form of fresh coal-fired capacity: 27,000 MW via under-construction power plants and 60,000 MW from new plants.

  • Since 2010, the number of oil barrels per day has tripled and gas production has risen two and half times in the USA

  • At COP deliberations this year, one of the trickiest conundrums was the large presence of oil and gas manufacturers and of course, the hosting of a climate summit in a petro-state

  • The Dubai Consensus agreement stating that a transition from fossil fuel, while necessary, suggests that “transition fuels” could play a role in “facilitating the energy transition while ensuring energy security.” 

  • Even though natural gas production leads to methane emissions.

  • The International Energy Agency proffer that in balance, switching from coal-to-gas reduces emissions by 50% when producing electricity and by 33% when providing heat. 

  • This of course invites criticism that such a framing of natural gas advantages countries which have natural production and distribution capabilities for this gas.

What are the alternatives to coal and oil?

  • Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and has several times more heat-trapping capabilities compared to carbon dioxide

  • It is a key component of natural gas and responsible for about a third of planetary warming just behind carbon dioxide.

  • Accelerating and substantially reducing non-carbon-dioxide emissions globally, including in particular methane emissions by 2030.

  • It is necessary for humanity to have a shot at keeping average temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 degree Celsius by the end of the century, the agreement notes. 

  • The Global Methane Pledge to cut methane emissions 30% of 2020 levels by 2030 was signed on by nearly 150 countries at the COP-27 summit in Egypt, last year. 

  • China and the U.S. have also agreed to address industrial methane emissions, that result from natural gas production.

  • India has resisted pressure to cut methane emissions on the grounds that most of its methane results from the agricultural sector.

  • It has unveiled plans to make its energy production processes more efficient to reduce its release.

Alternative energy soures

  1. Solar Power

  2. Wind Power

  3. Hydropower

  4. Geothermal Energy 

  5. Biomass 

Other Options

  1. Nuclear Power

  2. Hydrogen

  3. Energy Efficiency

  4. Storage

  5. Grid Integration



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Dubai Consensus – COP 28 UPSC NOTE
Dubai Consensus – COP 28 UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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