Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Inclusive Climate Leadership: Engaging All Parties for a Sustainable Future


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate change and related forums

Mains level: Climate change, challenges faced by climate vulnerable countries and Clean Energy Solutions


Central Idea

  • In recent weeks, a growing movement has emerged to remove Minister Sultan Al Jaber, the President-Designate of COP28 and CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, from his position. As representatives of climate-vulnerable developing nations like Bangladesh and the Maldives and as the leaders of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, underscore the urgency of the climate challenge. They argue that their economies have suffered staggering climate-related losses, amounting to $500 billion in the last two decades alone.

Campaign to Unseat the President-Designate of COP28

  • CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC): Sultan Al Jaber serves as the CEO of ADNOC, which is a national oil company. Critics argue that his role in an oil company creates a conflict of interest, as the fossil fuel industry is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
  • Concerns about Clean Energy Transition: Some argue that as the CEO of ADNOC, Sultan Al Jaber may not prioritize or advocate for a rapid and ambitious transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. They believe that his leadership in COP28 could hinder progress in achieving global climate goals.
  • Advocacy for Inclusive Approach: Those calling for his removal argue for a more inclusive approach to COP28 leadership, with a focus on engaging a broader range of stakeholders, including voices from climate-vulnerable countries and civil society, to ensure a more balanced representation and decision-making process.
  • Conflict of Interest and Lack of Impartiality: The campaign contends that Sultan Al Jaber’s position as the head of ADNOC raises concerns about conflicts of interest and impartiality in decision-making regarding climate policy and the transition to clean energy.

Sultan Al-Jaber’s Contributions in Advancing Clean Energy Solutions

  • Leadership in Renewable Energy: Sultan Al-Jaber has played a pivotal role in leading Masdar, a renewable energy company that has made substantial investments in solar and wind projects. Through Masdar’s initiatives, significant progress has been made in expanding renewable energy capacity and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Barakah Nuclear Power Plant: As part of the UAE’s clean energy efforts, Sultan Al-Jaber oversaw the opening of the Barakah nuclear power plant. This facility generates 6 gigawatts of clean power, further diversifying the country’s energy mix and reducing carbon emissions.
  • Tripling Global Renewable Energy Capacity: Sultan Al-Jaber, in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), has championed the goal of tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030. This ambitious target demonstrates his commitment to advancing the transition to clean energy on a global scale.
  • Practical Solutions for Clean Energy: Under Sultan Al-Jaber’s guidance, Masdar and IRENA have signed an agreement aimed at tripling global renewable energy capacity. This partnership focuses on implementing practical solutions and driving tangible results in clean energy deployment.
  • Advocacy for Clean Energy Investments: Sultan Al-Jaber has been an advocate for attracting investments in clean energy infrastructure. By promoting partnerships with sovereign wealth funds and multilateral development banks, he has sought to secure the necessary financial support for scaling up clean energy projects worldwide.
  • Vision for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company: Sultan Al-Jaber envisions transforming the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company into the Abu Dhabi Clean Energy and Grid Company by 2030. This transition highlights his commitment to steering a fossil fuel-dependent economy towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.
  • Global Financial Reform: Sultan Al-Jaber has voiced support for global financial reform, including reforms within the International Monetary Fund. His advocacy underscores the recognition that financial systems must align with the goals of combating climate change and promoting sustainable development.

How Debt is posing As a Significant Impediment?

  • Unsustainable Debt Burden: Many developing nations, including those represented by Bangladesh and the Maldives, face significant debt burdens that hinder their ability to invest in clean energy infrastructure and climate adaptation measures. These debts often become increasingly unpayable, exacerbated by climate damages caused by emissions originating from other countries.
  • Financial Instability: The burden of unsustainable debt creates financial instability, limiting the fiscal capacity of developing nations to allocate resources towards climate-related initiatives. This instability further undermines their ability to attract investments in clean energy and impairs their overall economic development.
  • Limited Access to Finance: High levels of debt restrict developing countries’ access to affordable financing for clean energy projects. International financial institutions and private lenders may be hesitant to provide loans or invest in these countries due to their precarious debt situations, leading to a lack of financial resources necessary for transitioning to renewable energy sources.
  • Risk Perception: Unsustainable debt levels increase the perception of risk associated with investing in clean energy projects within these countries. Potential investors may view such projects as financially unstable or uncertain, further deterring crucial investment in renewable energy infrastructure.
  • Inability to Prioritize Climate Adaptation: Mounting debt obligations divert limited resources away from crucial climate adaptation efforts. Developing countries, particularly those most vulnerable to climate change, struggle to allocate sufficient funding to build resilient infrastructure, enhance disaster preparedness, and implement necessary adaptation measures.
  • Need for Collective Approach: The debt problem and its implications for clean energy investment and climate adaptation require a collective approach. Addressing the debt issue at a global level is essential to ensure that developing nations have the necessary financial support and space to prioritize sustainable development and climate action.
  • De-risking and Insurance Solutions: Sovereign wealth funds and multilateral development banks (MDBs) can play a significant role in de-risking restructured debts and insuring climate bonds. By providing financial mechanisms that reduce the perceived risk associated with investing in debt-ridden countries, these institutions can unlock clean energy investments and facilitate climate adaptation efforts.
  • Global Financial Reform: Tackling the debt impediment also necessitates global financial reform. Reforming international financial systems, including initiatives within institutions like the International Monetary Fund, can address the structural barriers that perpetuate unsustainable debt burdens and hinder sustainable development efforts.


Facts for prelims

Major Positive Outcomes of COP27 Summary of COP26
  • Agreement on the establishment of a loss and damage fund
  • Reaffirmation of the commitment to increase funding for adaptation
  • Launch of the first report by the High-Level Expert Group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities
  • Introduction of the Executive Action Plan for the Early Warnings for All initiative
  • Presentation of master plans to accelerate decarbonization in major sectors
  • Launch of the Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation (FAST) initiative
  • Inadequate reduction commitments by developed countries
  • Exhaustion of a significant portion of the global carbon budget
  • Political disputes over the phasing out of coal
  • Doubts regarding developed countries’ ability to meet commitments

The Crucial Role of Finance in Enabling Clean Energy Transitions

  • Scaling Up Clean Energy Infrastructure: Adequate financing is crucial for scaling up clean energy infrastructure in both developed and developing countries. Investment in renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind power plants, is essential to transition away from fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Technology Development and Deployment: Finance plays a pivotal role in supporting the research, development, and deployment of innovative clean energy technologies. Investment in research institutions and initiatives facilitates the advancement of technologies like energy storage, carbon capture, and renewable energy integration into existing grids.
  • Access to Affordable Financing: Developing countries, in particular, require access to affordable financing options to facilitate their clean energy transitions. International financial institutions, governments, and private investors can contribute by providing loans, grants, and favorable investment conditions to ensure affordability and accessibility of clean energy technologies.
  • Climate Adaptation and Resilience: Financial resources are necessary for implementing climate adaptation measures and building resilience against climate change impacts. This includes developing climate-resilient infrastructure, improving disaster preparedness, and supporting vulnerable communities affected by climate-related events.
  • Capacity Building and Technical Assistance: Finance is crucial for capacity building initiatives and providing technical assistance to developing countries. This support helps enhance local expertise and knowledge in clean energy project development, management, and operation.
  • Mobilizing Climate Finance: Mobilizing climate finance is essential to fulfill the commitments made under international agreements like the Paris Agreement. Developed countries have committed to providing financial assistance to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation efforts, including the Green Climate Fund and other climate finance mechanisms.
  • Socially Responsible Investing: Finance plays a role in promoting socially responsible investing, where investors consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their investment decisions. By allocating funds to clean energy projects and divesting from fossil fuels, investors can contribute to the transition towards a low-carbon economy.

Way ahead

  • Strengthen International Cooperation: Enhance collaboration and dialogue among nations, fostering a spirit of unity and shared responsibility in addressing the challenges of climate change. Strengthen international platforms like the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Conference of Parties (COP) to facilitate meaningful discussions and decision-making.
  • Ambitious and Equitable Commitments: Encourage all nations to enhance their commitments to greenhouse gas emissions reduction in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Emphasize the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, ensuring that developed countries take the lead while providing support to developing nations for their clean energy transitions.
  • Mobilize Climate Finance: Scale up financial resources dedicated to climate change mitigation and adaptation, particularly in developing countries. Developed nations should fulfill their commitment to provide $100 billion per year in climate finance, while exploring innovative financing mechanisms and private sector engagement.
  • Technology Transfer and Capacity Building: Facilitate the transfer of clean energy technologies from developed to developing countries, accompanied by capacity-building initiatives to enhance local expertise. Encourage knowledge sharing, technology partnerships, and the establishment of research and development centers to foster innovation in clean energy solutions.
  • Support Vulnerable Communities: Prioritize the needs of vulnerable communities, particularly those in climate-sensitive regions, by allocating resources for climate adaptation and resilience-building efforts. Ensure that climate finance reaches those most affected and that local communities are actively involved in decision-making processes.
  • Mainstream Climate Considerations: Integrate climate considerations into policymaking across sectors, including energy, transportation, agriculture, and urban planning. Foster collaboration between governments, businesses, and civil society to develop and implement climate-friendly policies and practices.



  • The leaders representing the most climate vulnerable developing nations urge American and European parliamentarians to embrace inclusivity. Collaborative and united action, with finance at the core, is vital for a successful COP28. Together, we must work tirelessly to save our planet and secure a sustainable future for all.

Also read:

India’s Possible Role in facilitating Loss and Damage Fund


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