UNFCCC and IEA launch new phase of cooperation on tackling climate change

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Organisations join forces to track COP28 energy outcomes, build consensus on transitions aligned with 1.5 °C, and support the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions

In an important step forward for collaboration among international organisations to address the climate crisis, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) today announced a new phase of cooperation to drive progress on the energy commitments made at the recent COP28 climate summit in Dubai with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol made the announcement at the start of the Copenhagen Climate Ministerial, where nearly 30 ministers and climate leaders from around the world are meeting to discuss the implementation of the COP28 result and key topics for COP29 in Azerbaijan.

Under the new phase of cooperation, the UNFCCC and IEA will focus on three key areas – tracking and reporting on the energy-related outcomes of the first Global Stocktake at COP28; building consensus on actions to deliver 1.5 °C-aligned energy transitions; and supporting the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. In addition, the two organisations will deepen their existing cooperation on data and capacity building.

The first Global Stocktake decision agreed by nearly 200 countries at COP28, also referred to as the UAE Consensus, included significant commitments on energy that the IEA had called for ahead of the summit, such as the new global 2030 goals of tripling renewable energy capacity, doubling energy efficiency progress and substantially reducing methane emissions. COP28 also delivered a recognition of the need to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just and equitable way, including phasing down unabated coal power.

The UNFCCC and IEA will work together to identify appropriate metrics for tracking global progress toward these goals and provide updates that inform and motivate global action to achieve international climate commitments. As part of this, the IEA will produce a report that takes stock of international progress against the energy commitments made at COP28, to be published ahead of the COP29 summit.

“Following the COP28 outcome, we now need to make sure commitments are delivered upon – where we make the text of agreements, a reality,” said Mr Stiell, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary. “I am looking forward to enhancing the cooperation between IEA and UNFCCC on tracking progress regarding the achievement of new pledges on energy transition, data exchange and capacity building for new NDCs, while supporting governments to implement existing policies and measures during this critical decade. Now is when countries will have to double down to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors while transitioning away from fossil fuels in an orderly, just and equitable manner.”

“This new era of cooperation will bring together the UNFCCC’s international convening power and deep technical expertise on climate change with the IEA’s unparalleled energy data, analysis and policy expertise,” said Dr Birol, the IEA Executive Director. “COP28 delivered the first ever global agreement on energy transitions aligned with the 1.5 °C goal – a watershed moment. The UNFCCC and IEA are joining forces to ensure that these commitments are turned into action at the pace and scale needed to ensure just, equitable and affordable energy transitions that achieve the world’s shared climate goals.”

Mr Stiell and Dr Birol also said they will work together to support positive outcomes from the new series of COP-IEA High-Level Energy Transition Dialogues, to be held over the course of 2024 to prepare for the COP29 summit in Baku. Initiated last year under the United Arab Emirates’ Presidency of COP28, the High-Level Dialogues were co-chaired by the IEA, with the support of the UNFCCC and IRENA, and will continue this year in partnership with Azerbaijan’s Presidency of COP29. These roundtable discussions will provide an important forum for international climate and energy leaders to discuss and establish priorities ahead of COP29 in November – and to share experiences and expertise as they develop transition plans and new NDCs.

To support the next round of NDCs, the UNFCCC and IEA will also work together to provide policy advice and technical support on the development of energy-related targets that are in line with the Global Stocktake outcome and the goals of the Paris Agreement. This will include the IEA contributing to the UNFCCC’s newly announced NDC 3.0 Navigator initiative.

The UNFCCC and IEA will build on their existing Memorandum of Understanding to broaden and deepen cooperation on greenhouse gas emissions data and national data capacity building. This will include joint delivery of workshops with countries to improve national energy data, and to enhance the effectiveness and transparency of energy and climate decision making.

The two organisations will coordinate their activities more closely to facilitate better engagement and alignment of the ambitions and actions of climate and energy decision makers.