"COP-29", demonstration of the "green" vector of Azerbaijan

2024-04-18 20:40:00, Kosova & Bota Khazar Akhundov

"COP-29", demonstration of the "green" vector of Azerbaijan

In November 2024, Azerbaijan will host the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-29).

This forum will become an important international platform for the discussion of current issues in the field of ecology, climate problems and the development of "green" energy. On the eve of this important event, the state structures of the republic study the world experience of the "COP" forums and consult with global partners on organizational issues. The first press conference of the presidency of "COP-29" held in Baku on April 15, was another step in this direction. The conference outlined the main global priorities that will be discussed this fall, as well as the goals that Azerbaijan wants to achieve within the framework of the UN climate conference.

Initiated by the UN and held since 1992, the "COP" summits are considered the main platforms for the discussion of the global climate agenda and in these meetings all the main decisions to combat global warming have been made. For example, during COP-3 in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was signed, according to which the nations of the world made voluntary commitments to reduce emissions and began trading carbon credits for greenhouse gas emissions. A very important historical moment was "COP-21" in 2015, which culminated in the signing of the Paris Agreement, according to which the countries of the world agreed to curb the increase in global temperatures in the 21st century to within 2°C of pre-industrial levels and ideally preventing a rise of up to 1.5°C.

Sadly, the continuation of geopolitical conflicts and economic crises since the coronavirus pandemic, largely linked to the Russian-Ukrainian and Middle East wars, has increased inflation, hunger and the prospect of energy collapse in some of the world's poorest countries. Increasing processes of global desertification worsen the situation: the lack of fresh water reduces crop yields, while shallow rivers reduce the production of electricity in hydropower plants, forcing many countries to return to environmentally harmful fuels - coal, peat and diesel. All these negative factors push the UN climate agenda to the background, mainly in developing countries, and in the context of declining incomes, they deprive poor countries of the opportunity and desire to invest in the expansion of the generation of green" against the backdrop of falling living standards, social problems, rising food and fuel prices, etc.

The International Energy Agency (IE) estimates that in the economically developed regions of the world alone, 4 trillion dollars will need to be invested in the renewable energy sector (RE) over the next 10 years, to ensure the basic objectives of " "Great Energy Transition" and to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees worldwide, at least 20 trillion dollars will have to be invested in the RES and energy efficiency segment, as well as in solving other environmental problems.

This task is very difficult, especially given the fact that in a number of the richest countries in the world, which until recently were at the forefront of the fight against climate change, the number of climate skeptics is growing and they are in no hurry to share aid with the developing world as part of UN efforts. On the other hand, many oil-producing countries are advocating for a gradual and longer transition period towards full carbon neutrality. Precisely in such contradictory conditions, global steps are being taken to implement the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Against this challenging background, Azerbaijan's efforts to organize the next Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention are even more valuable and important, during which it is planned to discuss the most important aspects of the climate agenda, outline future goals for the energy transition and define local targets for developing regions.

"COP-29" is an excellent opportunity for Azerbaijan to accelerate the green transition. Many argue that a priori the oil and gas country cannot be a leader in the environmental sphere, in environmental protection and in the fight against global climate change, but the upcoming event is a good chance to allow us to show the falsity of these opinions", said Mukhtar Babayev, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan, appointed president of "COP-29", during a press conference in Baku on April 15. He pointed out that in this regard, Azerbaijan plays the role of a bridge between developed and developing countries and Azerbaijan can become a good example for other oil and gas countries.

It is important to remember here that while it has increased the extraction of fossil resources, in recent years Azerbaijan has forced the development of the sector of renewable energy sources, as well as set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 per percent by 2030 and 40 percent by 2050. Elnur Soltanov, Director General of "COP-29", who spoke at the conference, noted that Azerbaijan's share in global emissions is about one thousandth, with about 70 percent of emissions burdening the energy sector, and today the country is witnessing a rapid transition from traditional hydrocarbon energy sources to renewable ones.

In particular, for these purposes, a "green" energy zone is being formed in Karabakh, "smart" cities and villages are being built with elements of renewable energy sources, a dozen and a half small hydropower plants have been reconstructed and built from money, and in the near future new solar and wind stations will be created here. Similar steps are being taken on the Absheron Peninsula and will also start soon in the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan, where solar stations will be built and a RAN-Turkey-Europe energy center will be created. For the same purpose, preparations have begun for the laying of the Black Sea Energy underwater electric cables along the bottom of the Black Sea: this power line with a capacity of 1000 MW aims to supply electricity produced in the renewable energy sector from Azerbaijan in Europe.

The next step will be to attract foreign investment to develop the potential of wind energy in the Caspian Sea, the production of "green" hydrogen, etc. Azerbaijan is also making an important contribution to combating the effects of climate change, working to improve the environment, returning and increasing green spaces, starting the recycling of cars that pollute the atmosphere, and implementing pilot projects for energy efficiency, including economic enlightenment and digital management of the municipal sector in large cities.

"COP-29", demonstration of the "green" vector of Azerbaijan

"According to the plans, by the end of 2030, the generating capacity in the renewable energy sector, mainly in solar, wind and hydropower plants, will reach 5 thousand MW. The figure I expressed is quite realistic and will be reached on the basis of already signed contracts, and the target protocols speak of an even greater figure - about 10,000 megawatts. Thus, we will be able to export a large amount of our natural gas, which we will save," Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, said earlier this year, stressing that by doing so, the country would also contribute to the solution of climate change issues.

The Republic has begun large-scale work to prepare for the "COP-29" conference, and several government agencies and public organizations are already involved in this work. Also at the end of last year, by order of the head of state, the year 2024 was declared the "Year of Solidarity for the Green World", with the aim of strengthening international solidarity in the global fight against climate change.

"Azerbaijan, within the mandate to host the 'COP-29' conference, approaches the negotiation process with all participating parties through the prism of transparency, inclusiveness and neutrality. Visits have been made to many countries, experiences of holding such forums and the main topics of COP-29 negotiations, including climate finance, other documents to be adopted during the conference, as well as Azerbaijan's proposals for the climate agenda, have been comprehensively discussed with the partners", said the chief negotiator of "COP-29", Yalchin Rafiyev.

As for the specific goals that Azerbaijan sets for itself, according to the president of "COP-29", Mukhtar Babayev, these are a series of steps towards a "green" transition included in the country's national priorities, including the initiatives of the Global Commitment of Methane, which envisage the voluntary reduction of methane emissions and the increase of the share of renewable energy sources in the country's installed energy capacity to 30% by 2030.

Holding "COP-29" in Azerbaijan helps to solve a number of local problems: within the framework of the forum, our country plans to strengthen cooperation on the "green" agenda with international donors, including such projects that are already being implemented with the Asian Bank for Development, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It is planned that within the framework of "COP-29", the State Oil Company (SOCAR), as well as "Azercosmos", will come out with their cooperation programs on the "green" path, taking into account the capabilities of the observation services in Earth distance, geographic information. systems etc.

According to the senior leader of the United Nations for Climate Change, Nigar Arpadarai, within the framework of "COP-29", business forums aimed at attracting the private sector, civil society and investors in climate projects will be held. Finally, the holding of "COP-29" promises a significant increase in the dynamics of foreign tourist flow: it is expected that about 70,000-80,000 conference participants, media representatives and other foreign guests will arrive in Baku in November.

Source: caliber.az

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