Tomorrow’s energy world – what is cooking in Dubai?

The global energy landscape is undergoing significant changes, with a growing focus on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

The global energy landscape is undergoing significant changes, with a growing focus on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy. However, achieving consensus on these issues remains a challenge, as demonstrated by the ongoing discussions at the COP28 conference in Dubai.

In 2022, global energy-related CO2 emissions increased by 0.9%, amounting to 321 million metric tons. The majority of this growth was driven by emerging markets in Asia, excluding China. Notably, the United States achieved significant emissions reductions in the electricity and heat generation sector, thanks to the rapid expansion of solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power.

While there is a strong scientific consensus on the need to phase out fossil fuels to address climate change, there is little hope for a unified stance on this issue at the Dubai conference. Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, advocate for the widespread deployment of carbon capture techniques to mitigate emissions, while the European Union emphasizes the importance of transitioning away from fossil fuels entirely.

The spotlight at COP28 is on reducing coal and methane emissions and increasing the share of renewable energy and nuclear power in the global energy mix.

Renewable energy has gained significant traction worldwide, with 118 countries set a non-binding target to tripling their renewable energy capacities by 2030. This includes sources such as solar, wind, hydroelectricity, and biomass. Despite recent challenges, including higher interest rates and disruptions in the supply chain, the goal is to increase the world’s renewable energy capacity from the current 3,400 gigawatts to 11,000 gigawatts.

Nuclear power is also receiving renewed attention as a low-carbon source of electricity. A coalition of around twenty countries, including France, the US, and Canada, has called for tripling global nuclear energy capacities by 2050 compared to 2020. While nuclear power is seen as a carbon-free energy source, concerns about safety and cost remain.

It is important to note that discussions and decisions at international conferences like COP28 are influenced by various factors, including national interests and lobbying efforts. The outcome of these negotiations will determine the trajectory of the global energy transition.