COP29 and Baku’s Climate Diplomacy

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Zaman Bajwa

Amidst the ancient minarets and modern architecture of Baku, Azerbaijan, the 29th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP29) convenes world leaders, policymakers, and climate scientists to attend this conference. Marking a turning point in the history of both Azerbaijan and the worldwide struggle against climate change, this event is set for November 11, 2024, through November 22, 2024.
The choice of Baku as the conference location represents a significant diplomatic win for Azerbaijan. It draws attention to the nation’s dedication to combating climate change. It’s an opportunity for Baku to showcase its environmental initiatives and carry out significant climate diplomacy by hosting COP29. The decision to have Azerbaijan host COP29 is evidence of its dedication to tackling climate change and renewable energy. By 2050, the country aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, and by 2030, it intends to get 30% of its power from renewable sources. The main elements of Azerbaijan’s plan to diversify its energy system and establish itself as a pioneer in green energy include initiatives in wind, hydro, solar, and green hydrogen.
Baku offers an appropriate backdrop for this important meeting with its rich history and dynamic culture. Delegates, climate specialists, and negotiators are gathering with the destiny of our world on their shoulders. The city’s contemporary goals and historic foundations blend, mirroring the delicate balance we seek between preserving tradition and embracing innovation. Baku plays the important role of a bridge builder, a site where different nations can come together to make agreements, share expertise, and plan a sustainable route, thanks to its strategic location as a link between Europe and Asia.
Building upon the 2009 pledge of $100 billion annually, COP29 seeks to approve a new financing target. The support of global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change depends on this Climate Finance. Still, a hot topic for this meeting is Global Emissions Reduction. Techniques to lower greenhouse gas emissions and the goal of keeping global warming to 2°C over pre-industrial levels must be shared by all nations. This conference can also serve as a platform to address Climate challenges in the Caucasus region.
Baku’s position in the Caucasus region offers it a perfect platform to address region-specific climatic concerns. These difficulties include rising sea levels, melting glaciers, shifting river flows, and rising temperatures. Reduced rainfall in certain areas in the Caucasus region affects both ecosystems and agriculture. Complex patterns can be seen through spatial correlations, with surrounding weather stations displaying different trends. The mountains of the North Caucasus serve as a climate barrier, affecting precipitation and temperature. The way they control air masses has an impact on the dynamics of the local climate. Resilience to climatic impacts has to be strengthened in the Caucasus. Therefore, this is essential and involves community-based adaptation, sustainable land management, and water conservation.
The Framework for Action of COP29 The two primary pillars of the conference will be encouraging action and raising aspiration. To manage global temperatures and remain below the crucial 1.5°C barrier, deep, fast, and persistent emission reductions are required. When it comes to translating ambition into practice, financing will be essential in assisting countries with emission reduction, climate change adaptation, and loss and damage management. An Inclusive Process Leads to Inclusive Results. To guarantee that all perspectives are heard, COP29 seeks to be an inclusive event that engages with a wide spectrum of international stakeholders. The president’s goal is to deliver results based on cooperative solutions that leave no one behind.
COP29 highlights International collaboration and cooperation. The active engagement of major carbon-emitting countries at COP29 is critical for achieving a sustainable and resilient future for our planet. Developed Economies like the United States, China, and the European Union are the main emitters of Carbon Dioxide and bear pertinent responsibility. Of their environmentally unfriendly practices, the developing economies become the major victims facing catastrophic challenges like floods, tsunamis, extensive droughts, and extreme heat waves and, heavy rains. Azerbaijan and other developing countries are disproportionately impacted by climate change. The South Caucasus region also requires specific assistance due to its particular vulnerabilities. As a kind of climate compensation for developing nations, the developed economies ought to foot the bill for “loss and damages.” Such an agenda should bring all the nations on one page rather than causing a rift between both sides. These nations have financial resources and cutting-edge technology. By exchanging renewable energy technologies, contributing to adaptation programs, and encouraging capacity-building, they may assist poor countries.
It is imperative that large emitters must work together. Progress toward climate targets may be accelerated by teaming together to create circular economies, invest in green infrastructure, and switch to renewable energy sources. Worldwide demand for carbon-free products and services is rising. Economically and ecologically, nations that take the lead in reducing emissions stand to gain.
In Baku, under the watchful gaze of the Flame Towers, delegates will negotiate, innovate, and commit to a sustainable future. As former president of the USA Barak Obama said, “Climate change is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening here; it is happening now.”COP29 is not just a conference but also it’s a beacon of hope, urging us all to rise above borders and safeguard our shared planet. In order to provide the foundation for a successful conference, the COP28 Presidency and the COP29 incoming Presidency engage parties throughout the year as part of an open and inclusive process leading up to COP29. Azerbaijan’s hosting of COP29 offers world leaders a critical chance to unite and advance the battle against climate change. COP29 has the potential to be a watershed in our efforts to protect the environment for coming generations because of its emphasis on action, ambition, and inclusion. The results of this important meeting are anxiously awaited by the entire world.

The Writer is Executive Director of Islamabad Think Tank YFK and a freelance contributor. He tweets @zamanbajwaa.