The transition to a low-carbon economy is underway in many economies, with recent projections suggesting that global greenhouse gas emissions – including those of China, the world’s largest polluter – may peak in 2024.1,2

Encouraging as this is, the first ‘global stocktake’ of progress towards realising the ambitions agreed at the landmark Paris Agreement makes clear that the pace and scale of change must dramatically increase to keep ambitious climate goals within reach. As the COP28 climate summit gets underway in Dubai, we outline the five broad outcomes that need to emerge from this summit to accelerate progress towards net zero.

1. Agreement on how to fast-track the clean energy transition

We welcome the COP28 Presidency’s focus on concrete actions by 2030 to fast-track the energy transition, such as tripling renewable energy capacity and doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements. If these were agreed at COP28 and implemented through national policies, these would bring us materially closer to halving global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the end of the decade.

2. Launch of a net-zero roadmap for the global food system

Despite the food system’s vulnerability to global heating and its contribution to GHG emissions, it has largely been missing from previous COPs (and national climate plans). We therefore welcome the development of a new roadmap for a net-zero food system by the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation, aligned with global goals on nature including the halting of deforestation by 2030.

3. Decreasing investment in fossil fuel supply

While conviction is growing in the transition to a new economy based on low-carbon alternatives, far less progress has been made in how we reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Whatever text emerges from the formal negotiations, it is now crystal clear that countries and companies must reduce investment in new supplies of fossil fuels to reflect climate targets and falling demand.

4. Increased focus on how we adapt to a changed climate

Awareness of the need for climate adaptation investments has increased due to physical impacts which are already being experienced and the risk of greater ones in the future. We must build on the Adaptation Agenda launched at COP27 by breaking down topic into action-orientated goals, including corporate adaptation plans.

5. National transition plans to translate international goals into clear policies

We must ensure that internationally agreed goals are delivered upon and improve the quality of nationally determined contributions (NDCs). These NDCs should be reframed as national transition plans, with sectoral roadmaps that deliver short-term targets and identify adaptation priorities, supported by dialogues with the private sector on how to remove barriers to scaling up investment.

1 Climate Analytics, 22 November 2023: When will global greenhouse gas emissions peak?

2 CarbonBrief, 13 November 2023: Analysis: China’s emissions set to fall in 2024 after record growth in clean energy

Nothing presented herein is intended to constitute investment advice and no investment decision should be made solely based on this information.  Nothing presented should be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell a particular type of security or follow any investment technique or strategy.  Information presented herein reflects Impax Asset Management’s views at a particular time.  Such views are subject to change at any point and Impax Asset Management shall not be obligated to provide any notice.  Any forward-looking statements or forecasts are based on assumptions and actual results are expected to vary.  While Impax Asset Management has used reasonable efforts to obtain information from reliable sources, we make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of third-party information presented herein.  No guarantee of investment performance is being provided and no inference to the contrary should be made.

Chris Dodwell

Global Head of Policy & Advocacy, Co-Head Sustainability Centre

Chris co-heads the Impax Sustainability Centre and is the Global Head of Policy & Advocacy at Impax Asset Management, a specialist investor focused on opportunities arising from the transition to a sustainable economy.

The Policy & Advocacy team is responsible for advising Impax’s investment teams on the impacts of public policy and leads the firm’s work to support the development of new policies to accelerate a net-zero, nature-positive transition.

Chris joined Impax in 2019.  Prior to joining Impax, Chris worked on climate policy for the UK Government for more than a decade, where he led the UK implementation of the European carbon trading system and the UK delegation to the international climate negotiations. Later, as Director of Climate Change at Ricardo Energy and Environment, Chris supported more than 15 countries in developing and implementing their national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement. 

Chris is an active member of the policy committees and advisory councils of industry associations including UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and the Investment Association.  He is co-chair of the Transition Plan Taskforce’s asset manager working group and a Climate Change Commission for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Chris has a BA Hons in Classics from the University of Cambridge and an LLM in Environmental Law from University College London.

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