UN’s COP28 to address energy transition, emissions reductions

UN Council of the Parties meeting in Dubai

The 28th meeting of the United Nations Council of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai is bringing together global officials to deliberate on the energy transition, the assessment of progress toward meeting international climate change goals, the value of current commitments and near-term reductions in carbon.

“Together, we will prioritize efforts to accelerate emissions reductions through a pragmatic energy transition, reform land use and transform food systems,” said H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the President-Designate for COP28 UAE, which ends on Dec. 12.

The Engine Technology Forum (ETF) said the increasing size and scope of the world’s climate challenges point to the need for a diverse set of solutions in both policy and technology.

“A pragmatic energy transition begins with the understanding that we must continue to utilize and optimize our existing energy systems, even as we accelerate efforts to develop new fuels and technology options for a reduced carbon future that relies less on fossil fuels,” said ETF Executive Director Allen Schaeffer.

He said the possibility for a new energy economy built on renewable electric power and new fuels, such as hydrogen, holds equally great potential and uncertainty of success.

“There is an increasing, and shared, recognition that such a shift to a new energy economy will be uneven both in duration and effect,” Schaeffer said. “Until then, the global economy must continue to function by enabling mobility, providing power, and working the land to serve the growing global population.

“Internal combustion engines function at the intersection of our two energy worlds; utilizing abundant energy from fossil fuels and cleaner energy from renewable fuels. They are uniquely suited to leverage the best of both worlds; the role that they are playing today. One out of every two economic sectors depend on internal combustion engines and fossil fuels. Trucks, trains, buses, marine workboats, as well as agricultural, forestry, mining, and construction equipment rely almost exclusively on diesel technology.”

According to Schaeffer, with new fuels and technologies emerging, internal combustion engines will continue to serve many key sectors for decades to come, and continued advancements in internal combustion engines and fuels are essential to the kind of progress needed, both near term and long term, in meeting global climate goals.

“We must value carbon reductions in whatever form they come and recognize all opportunities for investment. There is an undisputed time value to carbon removal in the near term,” Schaeffer said. “Substituting an increasing percentage of low-carbon renewable biodiesel fuels for fossil fuels across the population of millions of existing diesel engines, vehicles, and equipment is proven to yield valuable and immediate reductions in greenhouse gases as well as other emissions. These benefits are achievable in a relatively short timeframe at lower cost compared to that required to introduce new technologies and their supporting fuel infrastructures.

“We cannot deny developed or developing countries the opportunity for progress. Tackling the multiple challenges of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as implementing adaptation and mitigation measures, ultimately requires many technologies and solutions. It only makes sense that we leverage the best of what we have available from internal combustion engines using advanced renewable biofuels as new fuel and energy technologies emerge.”

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