Written by PhD student Lynn de Miranda from FoodBioSystems DTP
This year’s COP has been filled with controversies; however next year’s COP is already gearing up to be the same.
As the number of fossil fuel lobbyists outweighed that of indigenous community representatives fivefold, critics have questioned the credibility of hosting future COPs in fossil fuel exporting countries.
Despite the criticism, a recent poll showed that 86% of students at the University of Reading did not know how the location of COPs are decided.
The location of next year’s COP is uncertain. Normally, UN-regions are rotated on a yearly basis, with countries electing a hosting country. However, this vote needs to be unanimous within that region; this is where next year’s COP is threatening to breakdown. Due to conflicts in the area, Armenia and Azerbaijan will most likely vote each other out of contention. In addition, Russia is threatening to veto the remaining two volunteering countries, Bulgaria, and Moldova.
If Bulgaria or Moldova does manage to obtain the vote, it is unlikely they will be able to host an event as large as COP with over 100,000 people expecting to attend. This situation presented itself in 2017, when Fiji was announced as the hosting country of COP23. Here the conference itself was hosted in Bonn, Germany (the home of the UN), but was organised by the Fijian government. It is possible that something similar will have to be decided for COP29.
If a host country cannot be agreed, there are several other options that could be enacted. Firstly, the country that currently host COP can choose to run it again, in their own country or in Bonn. The UAE has already announced that it will not host COP29 in the UAE but has not commented on the possibility of having a UAE-run COP in Bonn. The other possibility is that the UN would organise the event themselves in Bonn, however the exact details of how this would be organised are currently unknown.
As it is becoming likely that some key milestones are likely to be missed at this COP, the location and hosts of next year’s COP will be crucial to the progress of climate action upholding the goals set for COP30.
In an unexpected turn of events, Azerbaijan has been announced as the host for the COP29. This comes after successful negotiations with Armenia, who had previously rejected their bid due to long standing territorial conflicts.
Although there is relief that a decision has been made, critics have been quick to point out the fact that Azerbaijan is also an oil exporting country. Around 50% of Azerbaijan’s GDP is based on fossil fuels, with Azeri oil accounting for 92% of its exports.
“Baku will need to work extra hard to demonstrate its commitment to the energy transition — especially given recent gas deals with Russia,” said Linda Kachler, executive director of the Brussels-based think-tank Strategic Perspectives.
One way Azerbaijan may demonstrate ‘’its commitment to the energy transition’’ is to diversify its resources and invest in renewables. The government has announced that by 2030 it plans to expand its renewable energy capability to 1500 MW, enough energy to power around 1.5 million homes.