Key Takeaways From The UN Climate Change Conference 2023 (COP28)

The UN Climate Change Conference 2023 (COP28) has concluded in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). COP28 endeavoured to avoid empty promises and instead implement plans that drive tangible environmental and societal change. 

A lot was covered over 12 days and 40 events. This blog will focus on confirmed announcements and pledges that impact electronic manufacturers, the electronics supply chain, and the overarching climate deal itself.

Urgent action is essential to prevent global warming from reaching 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Did the 70,000 attendees from 198 countries at COP28 unite, act, and deliver as the event initially promised? Keep reading to find out. 

UN Climate Change Summit COP28 logo.

COP28 climate deal at a glance

“We have language on fossil fuels in our agreement for the first time ever,” said COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber.

COP28 has seen significant progress, with nations committing to many vital climate initiatives. Breakthroughs include the headline climate deal from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This agreement outlined the specific, intentional, and unanimously agreed upon wording to ‘transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly, and equitable manner, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 keeping with the science.

At a glance, this overarching deal also saw nations commit to other essential goals, including: 

  • Tripling global renewable energy capacity and doubling the average rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030
  • Aggressive actions to significantly reduce non-CO2 emissions, specifically methane emissions
  • Quickly decreasing unabated coal use and restricting approval of new and unabated coal power generation
  • Accelerated reduction of road transport emissions through approaches including infrastructure development and rapid deployment of zero-emission vehicles
  • Phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transitions 
  • Utilising zero and low carbon fuels to achieve net-zero emissions energy systems before mid-century
  • Expediting the development and implementation of zero and low-emission technologies, including renewables, carbon capture and storage, nuclear, and low-carbon hydrogen production

While this marks the first instance in 30 years where COP summit attendees have agreed to move away from coal, oil, and gas, critics would prefer the term ‘phase out’ or ‘transition’ to be used. This new deal also allows for loopholes, like permitting a role for transitional fuels like gas. Not to mention, none of the commitments are legally binding.

Silhouette of a piece of mining equipment with the sun setting in the background.

1st - 2nd of December: World Climate Action Summit & First Global Stocktake

There was an equal measure of excitement, anticipation, and trepidation leading up to COP28. The first two days of environmental events saw the World Climate Action Summit (WCAS) and the first-ever Global Stocktake (GST) to launch discussions and track the progress of work stemming from the Paris Agreement. Important points for electronic manufacturers to know from the first two days include: 

  • Over 850 businesses and organisations in the Business and Philanthropy Forum committed $5 billion to fund the climate transition. This investment could present an opportunity for electronic manufacturers who contribute to green technologies. 
  • The Industrial Transition Accelerator (ITA) saw agreements to ramp up decarbonisation in heavy-emitting sectors. To do this, the ITA helps policymakers and investors to scale emission-reduction projects rapidly. Electronic manufacturers may feel pressure to reduce emissions and have access to financial support if they fit certain criteria.

Protester in a crowd holding a sign that says 1.5 degrees.

3rd of December: Health, relief, recovery & peace

For the first time in COP history, an entire day was dedicated to health and the COP28 UAE Declaration on climate and health was launched. The goal of this day was to mobilise support and find ways to set in motion efforts to encourage international peace and reduce health challenges resulting from the climate. 

In particular, the 3rd of December focussed on vulnerable communities, including areas impacted by conflict and tropical diseases. Critical takeaways for electronic manufacturers include: 

  • As the world warms, an increase in natural disasters has led to destruction and death. $221 million was committed to disaster preparedness, risk insurance, and proactive measures to minimise the impact of severe weather events on people. This financial injection could help minimise climate-related supply chain disruptions

Person holding an umbrella in an area that has been damaged by a severe weather event.

4th of December: Finance, trade, gender equality, accountability

As they say, money makes the world go round. The 4th of December aimed to address financial roadblocks regarding energy transition and promote inclusive and equitable climate finance. Points of note for electronic manufacturers from this day include: 

  • The ALTÉRRA Climate Fund looks to encourage private climate investments. This fund could support new environmentally friendly technologies. 
  • Many public finance institutions pledged to deliver net-zero economies and decarbonise trade by 2050 through the Net-Zero Export Credit Agencies Alliance. Future trade policies could impact how electronic manufacturers do business globally. 

5th of December: Energy and industry, just transition, indigenous people

This thematic day at COP28 aimed to make tangible progress toward closing the 22 Gt CO2 emission gap by 2030. Through inclusive initiatives related to energy and industry, discussions on the 5th of December looked to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable economy. Key takeaways for electronic manufacturers from this day include: 

6th of December: Multilevel action, urbanisation, built environment and transport

Near the halfway point of COP28, a day was dedicated to addressing the vital role of cities in minimising the effects of climate change. With a localised approach, discussions were around resilience and sustainability regarding urban development and transportation. Several talking points may impact electronic manufacturers, including: 

Crowd of shipping container idling in the ocean.

  • The Green Shipping Challenge launched at COP27 was reiterated during this year’s event. New announcements saw nations and companies commit to reducing CO2 emissions further. Electronic manufacturers may benefit from choosing sustainable delivery options. 
  • Thirty shipping leaders signed a joint commitment to scale up renewable-based hydrogen fuel. The use of this fuel will help meet maritime industry decarbonisation targets. Changes in this space could impact our global supply chain. 

8th of December: Youth, children, education and skills

The youth are the future. Many of the urgencies around mitigating climate change relate to leaving behind a comfortable future for today’s young people. December 8th focussed on bringing young people into discussions that shape international climate policy. Things electronic manufacturers need to know from this day include: 

  • The second-ever RewirEd Summit promoted the training and education of people required for a sustainable economy. This focus on learning could see more skilled workers in the green technology space.

9th of December: Nature, land use, and oceans

By emphasising the importance of nature in achieving goals outlined in the Paris Agreement and the Global Biodiversity Framework, December 9th set in motion transformative steps to better manage and restore natural ecosystems. Component Sense’s mission is to lead electronic manufacturers toward zero waste, so many talking points of this day were welcome news as we look to minimise the dumping of electronics. Key points of information for manufacturers from deliberations include:

Person planting trees in a field.

  • Over $2.5 billion was announced across various partnerships, including the UN High-Level Champions, for large-scale forest protection and restoration projects. These efforts are vital for carbon sequestration. Those in the electronics industry could align with forest conservation and carbon offsetting programs like One Tree Planted

10th of December: Food, agriculture, and water

Climate change is a significant threat to global food systems and water supplies. On the 10th of December, events centred around enhancing processes, fostering new policies, and looking at financial investments for more resilience regarding food and water. Critical discussion points that may impact electronic manufacturers include:

  • The announcement of Aim4Climate initiatives saw investments totalling $17 billion, most of which will go toward creating climate-related technologies related to food systems and agriculture. This new money could provide opportunities for electronic manufacturers working in this space. 
  • To increase the adoption of technology in sustainable agriculture, initiatives like the Regen10 framework look to support private companies. Electronic manufacturers working in the agriculture technology (agtech) area could benefit from increased demand for their products and services. 

Keep your excess component stock out of landfills with Component Sense

The final two days of COP28 saw attendees iron out details for the headline climate deal, setting the downfall of fossil fuel reliance in motion. As discussed earlier, some people are hailing COP28 as a meaningful step in the right direction. However, many activists are less than impressed and deem this year's event a failure. 

After announcing the deal, COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber warned, “The agreement is only as good as its implementation.” At Component Sense, we do not know what the future holds. However, electronic manufacturers have a significant role in creating a circular economy. You can stay current with COP28 actions on the Global Climate Action tracker (GCAP).

Component Sense is driven to encourage a circular economy. Our business is near net zero, and we plan to be officially planet-positive by 2025. Learn more about our efforts and the role of redistributing excess and obsolete component stock in reducing e-waste

If you would like to streamline your excess and obsolete electronic component stock to minimise waste and maximise profit, speak to one of our expert team today:

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