Ministers and senior officials from nearly 40 countries worldwide, in collaboration with international organizations, industry representatives, civil society, and youth organizations, convened in Madrid on Monday for a high-stakes International Climate and Energy Summit. Co-hosted by the Government of Spain, currently presiding over the European Union, and the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Summit aimed to galvanize international efforts to realize the Paris Agreement’s ambitious target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
Chaired by Vice President Teresa Ribera of the Government of Spain and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, the Summit commenced with statements from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and COP28 President-Designate Sultan Al Jaber. The primary focus of the event was to bolster support for initiatives that accelerate the transition to clean energy while reducing reliance on fossil fuels in the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, ensuring the realization of the Paris Agreement’s commitments.
The summit brought together high-level policymakers who engaged in robust discussions on facilitating an equitable energy transition and setting and achieving global targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Additionally, representatives from industry and civil society contributed their insights during a roundtable discussion with government officials.
The discussions at the Summit were underpinned by the recent release of the IEA’s influential report titled ‘Net Zero Roadmap: A Global Pathway to Keep the 1.5°C Goal in Reach – 2023 Update.’ The report emphasized the urgent need for a significant increase in ambition and enhanced global cooperation to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.
The key takeaways from the Summit discussions highlighted the known, cost-effective actions needed to dramatically curb emissions this decade. Tripling renewable energy capacity, doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements, expanding electrification, and reducing methane emissions from fossil fuel operations are integral components of achieving the 80% emissions reduction required by 2030 to align with the 1.5°C warming limit outlined in the IEA report.
Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, emphasized the importance of the gathered stakeholders’ commitment to global ambition, stating, “The IEA’s data shows that even if no new climate policies are enacted, demand for all three fossil fuels will peak this decade – the result of spectacular progress among key clean energy technologies such as solar and electric cars. However, this is still insufficient to limit global warming to 1.5 °C, a target that scientists have said is essential. Today, a broad coalition of stakeholders showed their commitment to increasing our global ambition – a sign of what is needed to keep the 1.5 °C goal alive during a crucial period for action ahead of COP28.”
Vice President Teresa Ribera added, “We have the power to deliver a positive outcome from COP28, but we must act quickly. The leaders from government, international organizations, the private sector, and civil society who came together today showed dedication to keeping the goals of the Paris Agreement within reach. Now, these conversations must translate into bolder commitments and even stronger cooperation. Climate change is a global problem and it requires a global response.”
To maintain the 1.5°C target within reach, the Summit outlined five key objectives for COP28:
- Support the tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
- Aim to double the rate of global energy intensity improvements by 2030.
- Ensure the orderly decline of the use of fossil fuels.
- Recognize that scaled-up investment is required.
- Highlight the critical role of the fossil fuel industry in Methane reduction.