As Cop29 president, I will build bridges between the diverging north and south to keep 1.5C in reach

(The Guardian, 12 Mar 2024) Re-establishing trust between developed and developing nations is essential if our goals are to be achieved.

Last year was a double first: in 2o23, both electric vehicle usage and worldwide electricity generation from coal reached new heights. Increased electricity demand and energy-disrupting conflicts in Europe and the Middle East played their part. But it is a stark reminder that meeting 1.5C obligations requires clean energy consumption and production to shift together, and that we must find mechanisms to guard against further interruption of both by future geopolitical events.

This can start at Cop29 in Azerbaijan. We must break for good the stop-start of Cop agreements so there is follow-through from one to the next. This began last month with the launch of the Cop Presidencies Troika, ensuring Azerbaijan will be the bridge in decision-making and implementation from the leadership of the 28th summit in UAE through to the 30th in Brazil next year. This rolling mechanism will ensure the summits themselves transition away from staging grand announcements to a platform for continuity through monitoring and implementation.

It also matters that a bridge is created between the industrialised and developing worlds. Last year’s increased use of fossil fuels by the former makes the pressure it places on the latter not to carbonise its economies harder to sustain. It makes green technology transfer and funding pledged for it – but not yet produced – ever more urgent. It means that Azerbaijan’s Cop presidency must, above all, be the bridge that reconnects the diverging aspirations of the global north and global south.

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The Guardian, 12 Mar 2024: As Cop29 president, I will build bridges between the diverging north and south to keep 1.5C in reach