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Azerbaijan to Host Global COP29 Climate Summit in 2024

By Yaver Kazimbeyli December 14, 2023

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Famous Flame Towers skyscraper trio in Azerbaijan's capital Baku / Courtesy

Azerbaijan will host the 29th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, known also as COP29, in 2024.

The announcement came from President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday.

“Azerbaijan consistently supports global climate action and implements various energy efficiency measures. Clean environment and green growth are among our national priorities. Renewable energy is gaining momentum in Azerbaijan,” President Aliyev said in a social media post.

“Hosting the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP29) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2024 stems from our firm determination to contribute to global efforts to cope with climate change,” he stated, adding Baku will spare no effort to make the COP29 a success story.

Confirmation of Azerbaijan’s COP29 host status came at the plenary session of COP28 on December 11, after Baku won collective backing from other Eastern European countries. The event is scheduled to take place in November next year.

“The challenges we face demand collective action and dedication to the commonly agreed objectives and aspirations,” Azerbaijan’s Ecology and Natural Resources Minister Mukhtar Babayev said at the session.

“Azerbaijan understands the critical importance of collaborative efforts to combat climate change. Strong political will demonstrated by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the support by other Eastern European Group member states to Azerbaijan’s nomination to host COP29 have been crucial in today’s success,” the minister added.

Azerbaijan confirmed the commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 35 percent by 2030 and bring it to 40 percent by 2050.

Baku signed the 2015 Paris Agreement, a legally binding treaty on climate change, in April 2016 and has since been actively working to deliver on the issues prioritized by the government.

The Paris Agreement sets long-term goals to guide all nations to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions substantially and hold global temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. It adds that nations must pursue efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, and recognizes that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

It also calls on the signatories to periodically assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of this agreement and its long-term goals, as well as provide financing to developing countries to mitigate climate change, strengthen resilience and enhance abilities to adapt to climate impacts.

Meanwhile, Armenia, which had been at odds with Azerbaijan in a conflict in the latter’s Karabakh region for nearly three decades, was also among the Eastern European Group nations supporting Azerbaijan’s bid to host COP29.

Yerevan’s backing was announced on December 7 in a statement issued jointly with Baku. Then, the Office of the Prime Minister of Armenia declared that as a sign of good gesture, the country supports the bid of Azerbaijan to host COP29 by withdrawing its candidacy. In response, the government of Azerbaijan announced its support for Armenia’s candidature for Eastern European Group COP Bureau membership.

David Moran, an Advisor to the Washington-based think tank Caspian Policy Center, says creative diplomacy guided the two nations to find common grounds in fostering bilateral normalization.

“The agreement between the governments of Azerbaijan and Armenia on the former’s bid for the COP29 presidency is not only creative diplomacy in support of an important bilateral peace process. It also unlocks a wider stalemate on who will host the 2024 global climate change summit. The world will look to Azerbaijan to lead international action to meet Paris Agreement Commitments and move from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” Moran states.

The transition from traditional sources to alternative energy is among the priorities of Azerbaijani government. Renewables are expected to make up 30 percent of Azerbaijan’s electricity generation by 2030. Estimates put the renewable energy potential of Azerbaijan at 37,000 MW, 10,000 of which have been unveiled after the liberation of the country’s territories from the Armenian occupation in 2020.

The potential of wind power stands at 59.2 percent of the overall renewable energy potential of Azerbaijan. The solar power comes in at number two with a total of 8,000 MW potential. Biomass, geothermal, and hydropower (excluding large hydropower stations) are also introduced as promising renewables at 900 MW, 800 MW, and 650 MW, respectively.

The Azerbaijani government also plans to transform the liberated Karabakh (Garabagh) and East Zangazur regions fully into a “Net-Zero Emission” Zone as a priority within the ongoing reconstruction and development projects, as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2050. The green energy potential of the liberated territories of Azerbaijan includes almost all types of renewable energy sources, including hydro, solar, wind, and geothermal.

The Caspian Sea sector of Azerbaijan has also 157 GW of renewable energy potential.