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It’s Never Too Early to Start Thinking About COP

President-Designate Mukhtar Babayev kicked off the climate diplomatic year in Berlin.

Mukhtar Babayev.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The United Nations’ climate summit in Dubai ended last December with a mad dash to lock in a location for this year’s gathering. Which is how we wound up with yet another petrostate — Azerbaijan — as the host.

On Thursday at a climate conference in Berlin, Azerbaijan’s minister of ecology and natural resources and COP29’s President-Designate Mukhtar Babayev outlined his vision for the November get-together. “Our previous promises now need to be delivered, not re-interpreted. Fulfilled, not re-negotiated,” he told participants in the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, according to a transcript of his prepared remarks. “Everyone has a duty to make sure their actions match their words.”

And by actions, he means cash.

The first few days of last year’s conference saw nations attempting to outdo each other with headline-grabbing funding pledges, the delegates stopped short of adopting a comprehensive financing plan. That’s top of the priority list for 2024. In an interview with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C., last week, Babayev said, “The agenda is to invite all the donors to at least increase their contribution for developing countries. Because with the climate change there, we are daily faced with all these impacts.”

Babayev (who was also, it should be noted, employed by the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan for more than two decades) was in Washington for the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and apparently found them uninspiring. “We know that the world needs to increase the overall flow of climate finance by several multiples,” he said in Berlin, according to Bloomberg. “While we heard a great deal of concern and worry, we did not yet see adequate and sufficient action.”

“Enable action” constitutes the second of the twin pillars Babayev outlined for COP29. The first, “enhance ambition,” has a handful of sub-pillars, including “ensuring all Parties receive the support they need to design and implement the next generation of” Nationally Determined Contributions, which parties to the Paris Agreement — a product of COP21 — submit every five years; adopting National Adaptation Plans by 2025; and filing Biennial Transparency Reports on their progress toward their stated goals.

In some ways, though, COP29 will be a mere prelude to the really big show: COP30, set for Belem, Brazil. That meeting will represent the 10th anniversary of the Paris COP. According to the UN, 2025 is also when global emissions must peak to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. According to Tom Evans of climate consultancy E3G, “With faith in the Paris Agreement on the line, what happens between now and Belem is vital for keeping multilateralism alive in a context of geopolitical turmoil and division.”

Belem was proposed as a host for COP30 way back at COP27 and formally selected in December of last year. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, will have a comparatively slim 10 months to prepare. Surely it will all be fine, if only they can deal with the lines.

Jillian Goodman profile image

Jillian Goodman

Jillian is Heatmap's deputy editor. Before that, she was opinion editor at The Information and deputy editor at Bloomberg Green.


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