Climate conference in November to emphasise ‘peace’ and ‘truce’

The choice of Azerbaijan as the host means that it will preside over COP-29 proceedings and try to steer countries into achieving consensus on addressing the climate crisis.

Updated - June 07, 2024 06:58 am IST

Published - June 07, 2024 01:24 am IST - BAKU

A view of Dubai’s Expo City, where the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 was held. File

A view of Dubai’s Expo City, where the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 was held. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

The annual climate conference to be held here in November will lay particular stress on “peace” and “truce” to enable countries to focus on climate solution amid ongoing conflicts, a top adviser to the Azerbaijan government said at a media briefing this week.

The 29th edition of the Conference of Parties (COP) — as the climate conference is called — is set to further agenda points decided in the 28th edition in Dubai such as a firm commitment to “transition away from the use of fossil fuels... in a just, orderly and equitable manner, and accelerating action in this critical decade, to achieve net zero by 2050.”

The choice of Azerbaijan as the host means that it will preside over COP-29 proceedings and try to steer countries into achieving consensus on addressing the climate crisis. Most countries have agreed on the urgency of the problem and the need to keep temperatures from rising 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by the end of century. 

A long-standing criticism and a matter of deep division between developed and developing countries is that a 2009 commitment by developed countries to mobilise $100 billion a year between 2020 and 2025 for developing countries has only been partially realised. A major item that is expected to be firmed up in 2024 is to decide a new annual target above $100 billion and agreement on whether these will be in the form of grants or loans.

However, deliberating on all these would require an atmosphere of peace. “We are now seeing that geopolitically the world is in a Cold War-like situation,” said Hikmet Hajiyev, top adviser to Azerbaijan President, Ilham Ayilev, “The world is divided but Azerbaijan’s position is that the climate issue is something different. Countries can be on different sides on geopolitical matters but climate affects everybody and needs an inclusive process. So, we are proposing a COP-truce. During the COP [meet], all cannons should stop.” He said this in reference to the Russia-Ukraine war

Mr. Hajiyev said he had sounded out the UN on this and as an example, he highlighted the recent cessation of hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Technically in Azerbaijan, it was inhabited by ethnic Armenians, who claimed it as an independent territory following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its independence was recognised neither by Azerbaijan nor Armenia. President Ayilev announced in September 2023 that Azerbaijan had successfully “reclaimed” the territory following a military occupation. The episode has however triggered a humanitarian crisis- the largest since the dissolution of the Soviet empire—with thousands fleeing to Armenia.

Azerbaijan as a petro-state is almost entirely dependent on oil and gas exports for its economy and does not yet have a firm plan for transitioning away from fossil fuel. To a question, Hajiyev said that “one of the options under consideration” was to chalk out a firm plan to be carbon neutral or “net zero” by 2050. “We are working towards it but several countries in the developing world do not have the institutional capacity to prepare their NDCs. However there is also limited awareness on the financial aspects for achieving this,” he responded. NDCs refer to concrete plans laid out by countries as contributions to stem greenhouse gas emissions in line with achieving the 1.5c target. Several countries provided their latest NDCs by 2023 and are next expected to do so by 2028.

(The writer was part of a South-Asia media delegation invited to Azerbaijan)

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