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COP 28: We took a stand, now we need to act

31/1/2024

5 min read

Head and shoulders photo of Elbia Gannoum Photo: E Gannoum
Elbia Gannoum, Executive President of ABEEólica, Vice President of GWEC and a Council Member of CDESS

Photo: E Gannoum

As the energy transition progresses at various speeds, Brazil is emerging as a clear forerunner in terms of renewable energy generation and biofuels production. Elbia Gannoum, Executive President of ABEEólica (Brazil’s wind association), Vice President of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), and a Council Member of CDESS (the Federal Government’s Council for Sustainable Economic and Social Development), presents her hopes for her country’s future following COP28.

In Dubai last year I witnessed a modest indication of a reduction in the use of fossil fuels. This was an expected outcome, considering we were in an oil-rich country and the COP28 President was also the CEO of an oil company. In a nation where oil rents represent around 15.7% of GDP, this powerful product is not going to be relinquished with just one signature.

 

However, considering the historical context, there were improvements. For the first time in 31 years, there was a written commitment to the gradual reduction of fossil fuels. Simultaneously, there was the endorsement of the target to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

 

We also had a pleasant surprise early in the discussions. Five hours into COP28, we heard the announcement of resources for losses and damages – a topic that had stalled in the last two conferences. Now, there is a signal from developed countries to provide resources to developing countries as compensation for damages caused by global warming.

 

Within the plenaries on the global economic framework, I participated in 12 panels where I could elaborate on the low-carbon economy and the future of society in the new economy. This is the landscape of industrial policy where Brazil plays a clear role. I follow and work towards promoting the country as a provider of renewable energy solutions.

 

Brazil’s potential
Brazil is a country capable of attracting investments, industries and production chains for the development of decarbonised goods and services. In this regard, we have made significant progress, and it’s evident that this new model is based on energy. Not only that, but Brazil also has the potential to utilise nature-based solutions, such as the Amazon Rainforest, bioeconomy and agribusiness. We are well-positioned for the energy transition.

 

Brazil is a country capable of attracting investments, industries, and production chains for the development of decarbonised goods and services.

 

I have been attending COPs since 2014 and would say that that COP28 was the best edition. At COP27, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) launched the Global Alliance for Offshore Wind Energy Investments – a source recognised as a powerful tool in the fight against global warming due to its enormous electricity generation capacity with minimal impact. One year later, we saw Brazil signing its accession, demonstrating its openness to the development of a clean and renewable energy matrix.

 

Renewables are key
Looking specifically from the perspective of renewable energies, COP28 followed the script of previous editions: charting the path to achieve decarbonisation goals via an energy transition through low-impact environmental sources. The difference last year lay in the journey. In 2022, we discussed concerns about the speed of this transformation. We talked about structuring renewable energy policies and creating a suitable environment for investments in the sector.

 

In contrast, in 2023, we arrived at COP as the world’s largest delegation, with 1,337 people, from President Lula and his ministries to government institutions, NGOs and the business community. We presented results in energy efficiency and clean energy production, showcasing our potential for new technologies and readiness to attract investors to Brazil with the aim of financing a fair energy transition.

 

We had many milestones to share in that Conference. By the end of 2023, we reached 30 GW of installed wind energy capacity. We surpassed the mark of 1,000 wind farms in Brazil and almost 11,000 operating wind turbines. We progressed with the approval of the legal framework for hydrogen in the Chamber, with the offshore wind bill, and with the regulation for the Brazilian carbon market. We are seeking the speed indicated in COP27 as essential for the transition and decarbonisation.

 

At COP28, we came as protagonists. We moved from discussing how to do it, to making our potential effective. We demonstrated the concept of neo-industrialisation, transitioning the economy to low carbon and leveraging renewable resources. This was not limited to the domestic sphere; we also offer the world renewable energy production through electricity and biofuels.

 

I returned home with a mission to develop actions within ABEEólica and GWEC and also as a member of the Lula Council’s Energy Transition Working Group. The goal is to arrive at COP30, in Brazil, even stronger and more indispensable in this global transformation, with our country as a well-advanced case study.

 

Our work is urgent! We demonstrated Congress’ effort to approve rules and regulations to promote green hydrogen and offshore wind. Now, Brazil cannot miss the momentum. We have to definitively approve these bills, along with continuing with the carbon and future fuels market. It is our turn, the time is now, and in 2024, we will have an even more favourable COP for Brazil.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author only and are not necessarily given or endorsed by or on behalf of the Energy Institute.

 

To find out more about Brazil’s energy transition, visit the Energy Institute Statistical Review Country Transition Tracker.