COP28 Delivers Significant Initiatives That Will Bend the Emissions Curve

Memos From Mark
Minute Read

Last week, Brookfield joined COP28—the UN Climate Change Conference hosted by the UAE—to advance progress on global climate action, particularly climate finance. COP28 was significant for many reasons beginning with The Global Stocktake—the first review since the Paris Accord of global efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The bottom line is that, while the world has made progress, efforts need to be redoubled. In that spirit, the UAE Presidency tackled many of the toughest challenges in climate change head on.

Breakthroughs included COP’s first explicit recognition of the need to transition away from fossil fuels. That overarching objective was backed by pragmatic, measurable commitments to triple renewable energy capacity this decade, double the rate of energy efficiency by 2030, achieve near-zero methane for oil and gas industries this decade, and triple nuclear capacity by 2050.

These and other COP28 initiatives have the potential to reduce emissions by 5-7 gigatons, equivalent to around one-third of the emissions reductions required by 2030 if the world is to get on track for 1.5 degrees.

Heading into COP28, I highlighted in an op-ed in The Economist the need to address three gaps—those in data, action and investment. Significant progress was made on each:


In addition, there was substantial progress on several other fronts:

  • A tripling of renewables: Over 140 governments pledged to triple the world's renewable energy capacity by 2030. They also agreed to double the annual rate of energy efficiency improvements.
  • A breakthrough on nuclear: The U.S. and China agreed to triple nuclear power capacity by 2050, and at least 22 countries, including the U.K. and France, pledged to do the same.
  • The role of oil and gas, including methane: Fifty companies, representing more than 40% of global oil and gas production, signed the O&G Decarbonization Charter. These signatories committed to net-zero operations by 2050 across Scope 1 & 2 emissions (that is, focused on emissions in production, not in use); zero methane in upstream operations by 2030; zero routine flaring by 2030; and increased transparency in emissions reporting.
  • Blended finance as the topic du jour: Multilateral development banks collectively committed over $22.6 billion, and Altérra committed $5 billion in catalytic capital. These commitments have put a spotlight once again on the need to efficiently use public money to crowd in multiples of private capital, especially in emerging markets.
  • Voluntary carbon markets’ coming of age: Accreditation bodies committed to aligning integrity protocols and initiatives connecting coal phaseout to carbon credits. These will continue to push this market toward more maturity and generate more confidence for investors.
  • A framework and initial funding for “loss and damage”: Nations pledged over $700 million in a groundbreaking agreement to operationalize and capitalize funding for loss- and damage-related expenses into a fund housed at the World Bank.

The announcements at COP28 are a big step in the right direction. The focus now shifts to translating pledges into projects and delivering real-economy impact, while growing these critical coalitions. Brookfield will continue to play a key role across many of these priorities—from the rapid buildout of renewables, to the expansion of nuclear capacity, to “going where the emissions are” in heavy-emitting sectors to help get those emissions down.

COP28 reinforces that the transition to net zero will spur the world’s largest deployment of capital over the next quarter century. Carbon is the new vector of value: Those who continue to produce it will increasingly be saddled with stranded assets, while those who can reduce it have the potential to create long-term value.

End Notes

1. “Brookfield Launches Emerging Markets Transition Fund with Anchor Commitment from ALTÉRRA Alongside Investment in the Brookfield Global Transition Fund; Both Funds to Help Deploy Over $20 Billion in Climate Initiatives,” December 1, 2023.

2. Private Equity International, “Altérra: What we know about the UAE’s $30bn climate vehicle,” December 6, 2023.




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