Where are we and where are we going next? Key climate action themes for 2024

By Climate Champions | March 21, 2024

Beginning of the end of the Fossil Fuel era

In the COP28 outcome governments explicitly stated that we must transition away from fossil fuels in a just and equitable manner. It also underscored the importance of the global goal on adaptation in strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, as well as the vital importance of protecting and restoring nature, by 2030. The need for enhanced support and finance for developing countries was also recognised as a critical enabler of climate action. These outcomes directly reflect the groundswell of leadership from businesses, investors, cities,  states, youth and indigenous peoples that the High-Level Champions and partners work with to take voluntary action to decarbonize the economy, build climate resilience, and protect and restore nature.

These actors are already reaping benefits from bold climate action, and together with the High-Level Champions stand ready to support governments in urgently and ambitiously implementing the COP28 outcomes, including through increased collaboration and sharing of insights gained from their efforts as part of the Race to Zero, Race to Resilience, and the 2030 Breakthroughs and Sharm Adaptation Agenda frameworks – all of which are publicly available tools to support ambitious action and collaboration on climate solutions.  

This work will also support the COP Presidencies Troika – a partnership between COP28 and the next two COP Presidencies, Azerbaijan and Brazil, agreed by Parties in the UAE Consesnsus and launched in February by representatives of all three Presidencies and the High-Level Champions for COP28 and COP29. This partnership is set to “significantly enhance international cooperation and the international enabling environment to stimulate ambition in the next round of nationally determined contributions, with a view to enhancing action and implementation over this critical decade and keeping 1.5°C within reach.”

The COP28 decision specifically welcomed the leadership and efforts of the High-Level Champions in supporting the effective participation of non-Party stakeholders (NPS) in the first ever global stocktake. It also called for the High Level Champions, non-Party stakeholder and the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action to consider the outcomes of the first global stocktake in future work.

Policy incentives to increase finance flows

Sufficient levels of finance must underpin all climate action in this decisive decade. COP29 is an opportunity for governments to send a clear signal to the private sector to support the rapid increase in finance flows required to meet net zero emissions by 2050 and help those already experiencing the worst impacts of climate change to adapt and build resilience to this reality. 

At COP28, leading governments committed to making climate finance available, accessible, and affordable by 2030, via the Global Climate Finance Framework.

According to Climate Analytics, an estimated $8 trillion investment is needed to deliver on the COP28 pledge to triple renewable energy and double energy efficiency by 2030, compared to an expected $6 trillion in fossil fuels investments this decade.

There is an opportunity for private finance to mobilize action to help close this gap. Private financial institutions are already creating products, risk sharing mechanisms, risk analytics, and investing in adaptation and resilience. 0ver 600 financial Institutions responsible for around two thirds (57-71% or approximately $145.1 trillion) of global Assets Under Management (AUM) are now taking action to align their portfolios with net zero emissions through the Race to Zero campaign. An estimated 42% of Race to Zero Finance Partner members are turning pledges into flows through reporting having climate transition plans.

However, to meet the urgency of the climate crisis, a coordinated effort through enabling policies and incentives are necessary to create a functioning market for adaptation and resilience. At COP28, a number of governments recognised the finance sector’s call for collaboration to accelerate private finance for adaptation and resilience to where it is needed most.

Nature provides resilience and at least a third of the mitigation and removal opportunity required to achieve a 1.5°C-aligned pathway. Every country, city and citizen, every financial institution, and every company and civil society organisation has a role to play to protect the planet’s oceans, lands, and freshwaters by 2030, so that people and nature can thrive together into the future. 

Finance for nature-based solutions must reach an estimated US$542bn per year by 2030, compared to current levels of around US$200bn. This will be a priority at high-level political moments over the next two years, culminating in COP30 hosted by nature-rich Brazil at the end of 2025. 

Businesses and institutions are already taking action to put nature at the heart of their climate transition plans and increase investments in nature-based solutions. Over 200 businesses and financial institutions are committing to nature-focused targets, disclosures, and investments through the Nature Positive for Climate Action campaign which is spearheaded by COP28 High-Level Champion HE Razan Al Mubarak.

Finance in emerging markets and developing countries is critical to support ambition, action and stronger NDCs. The High-Level Champions and partners mobilized nearly US$2B in investment last year through Regional Platforms for Climate Projects which brought together financiers and project owners, showing that high quality projects do exist for investment. More action from public and private finance is needed to reach the estimated US$2.4T investment needs in developing countries this decade – making this a critical area of focus for the Championsand their non-State actor partners whose insights and collaboration can inform and support government efforts on finance this year. 

A next generation of national climate transition and resilience plans 

With the next generation of NDCs due by the first quarter of 2025, 2024 is a crucial year to act on the Global Stocktake outcome in COP28 and ensure that all sectors of the economy and all levels of society have a stake in enhancing national climate implementation plans.

The transition is already underway. Businesses, investors, cities, regions, Indigenous Peoples and local communities are leading the charge, providing solutions, expertise and capital that can be leveraged to help inform, support and implement greater action at national level.

With their mandate from Parties, the High-Level Champions and the Marrakech Partnership will continue to support and advance ambitious all-of-society, all-of-economy climate leadership and collaborate with Parties to achieve the urgent outcomes needed this decade to ensure a safer, sustainable and equitable world for us all.

Image: Rio Negro by @USGS. Free to use under the Unsplash License.