Downing’s Lewis: My COP28 wishlist

Roger Lewis, head of responsible investment at Downing, shares his hopes for renewables, offsets and climate targets

Nicknamed ‘Hope-enhagen’, the climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009 delivered nothing. And despite the 27 previous COPs, none have achieved the simplest solution to climate change: commitments that legally bind a country, company or community to reduce the emissions of six types of greenhouse gas.

I share a birthday with the date the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was signed in 2015, so given this and the outcomes of previous COPs, what would a birthday wish for COP28 outcomes look like?

Easing regulation for renewable power The counterweight to these encouraging developments is the threats that exist. Solving these would be the first wishlist item to come out of COP28. There are delays and problems in permitting for renewable installations and grid connectivity. This leads to the real risk that clean power generated is lost.

Few countries can compete with the billions of green spend of the US’s Inflation Reduction Act, though they can still reduce administrative complexity for renewable power. An additional linked risk is the reversion to fossil fuels. The delicate balance for policymakers in Dubai in December is energy security, cost of living and decarbonisation, which can lead to fickle attitudes towards gas and coal.

Read the full article in ESG Clarity’s November 2023 digital magazine.