COP28 – what is it? And why will Temasek be there?

COP28 – what is it? And why will Temasek be there?

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COP28 is set to ratchet the emissions reduction ambitions of nations around the world this December, as the UAE hosts a stock-take of progress.

How can Temasek, a long-term generational investor, contribute? 

The stakes could not be higher. As government, business, and civil society prepare to meet in the United Arab Emirates for the UN’s 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) meeting to negotiate cuts in carbon emissions, the planet is groaning under the strain of relentless human activity. The consequences are becoming increasingly stark and undeniable — rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and disrupted ecosystems. The window for averting the worst impacts of climate change is rapidly narrowing. 

The challenge is immense, but the potential for positive change is equally huge, and that is why Temasek will be contributing to COP28, driving ideas and initiatives in the areas of climate finance, food, and energy and decarbonization. 

Not on track

The UNEP Emissions Gap Report published in 2022 made it clear that we are off track to limit warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. While the rate of growth in greenhouse gas emissions has slowed in the past decade, emissions are still growing - and they need to fall if we are to avoid the worst impacts of global heating, or, as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has labelled it, global boiling

The target of a 45% reduction in global emissions by 2030, originally set at COP in Paris 2015, is moving out of reach. That target is what was seen as necessary to limit the worst effects of climate change. Our failure to mitigate climate change means increased physical climate risks. We are already witnessing disasters becoming more widespread and devastating, such as the wildfires in Canada and Hawaii, extreme heat and droughts in China, and record temperatures globally this year. 

Every year we do not cut carbon emissions means that future actions will need to be more severe to keep the global goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 alive and a livable planet within reach. The extent of the course correction needed is clear.

Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Climate Action Tracker, BCG Analysis, WEF, Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders. Notes: The blue line segment represents estimates for 2020-2021, extrapolated from IPCC's 2019 data. NDCs= nationally determined contributions; p.a. =per year. 1 IPCC median projection, 5th to 95th percentile range: 2.2 °C to 3.5°, at medium confidence. 2 Climate Action Tracker's median projection. 3 IPCC median projection.

The Conference of the Parties, or COP, also known as the UN Climate Change Conference, hosts the annual negotiations for actions taken by countries to limit global warming and restore the ecosystem. Hosted in Dubai this December, COP28 is the first Global “stocktake” of the worldwide response to the climate crisis, assessing progress against the commitments that countries made in Paris in 2015, and announcing each country’s updated plans.  

Why is Temasek participating?

Climate change requires everyone’s action: individuals, businesses, governments, and investors.

“So Every Generation Prospers”. Temasek’s purpose is clear. It means that as a company, we strive to ensure that tomorrow’s generations benefit from today's prosperity — the foundation of the concept of sustainability. This is why we need to take decisive and urgent actions to limit the impacts of global heating as climate change presents long tail risks to business and society’s resilience and commercial viability.

We know that climate change is one of the most significant threats to our purpose. The annual COP summits are the place where leaders from all stakeholder groups come together to discuss, negotiate and agree to enact changes that will affect the speed and impact of global warming. 

For Temasek, it will be an opportunity to bring a global investor’s perspective on mobilising private capital to take urgent and sustained action against the climate crisis. 

What is Temasek focusing on during COP28?

We will be talking about:

  • Bridging the finance gap: How we crowd-in and scale capital through strategic partnerships and innovative financing mechanisms.  

  • Accelerating the energy transition and decarbonisation: What does it take to deploy catalytic capital to finance clean energy solutions of different levels of maturity?

  • Building a nature-positive agri-food system: What are some innovative agri-food solutions that are nature-positive and uplift the community?

Governments, business and civil society will come together to negotiate climate commitments at UN's annual Conference of the Parties in Dubai.

Addressing the climate crisis is a complex challenge that is beyond the capabilities of any single stakeholder group. At our core, we believe in the strength of collaboration, forging partnerships with like-minded companies to pool resources and collectively address the intricate challenges of the climate crisis. To that end, Temasek and BlackRock established Decarbonization Partners, a joint venture, in 2021, to launch a series of late-stage venture capital and early-growth private equity investment funds that focus on advancing decarbonisation solutions.

We have also launched agri-tech startup Rize with Breakthrough Energy Ventures, GenZero, and Wavemaker Impact, to accelerate rice agriculture decarbonisation in Asia.

Yet, the journey to net zero goals demands more than just collaboration — it requires a radical reimagining of financial mechanisms. Recognising this imperative, Temasek established Pentagreen Capital alongside HSBC, to unlock marginally bankable projects for sustainable infrastructure, using blended finance at scale. Our goal is to establish a tradeable asset class that attracts both private and institutional investors, including concessionary and philanthropic funders. This will accelerate the development of clean infrastructure in Southeast Asia, with a keen focus on renewable energy and storage, clean transportation, as well as water and waste management.

As we embark on this transformative journey, it is crucial to recognise the significance of platforms like COP28 that provide an important opportunity to engage with other stakeholders, participate in the global discussion, and push the agenda forward.

Join us to hear from global business leaders and Temasek executives on how we are deploying catalytic capital to finance sustainable solutions and close the financing gap. Find out more here.

COP28 Priorities

In a joint statement from the President of the COP28 meeting and the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, the key priorities for the meeting are:

  • To galvanise G20 nations to commit to maintaining the 1.5°C target;

  • To energise leadership in transitioning to renewable energy and reducing emissions, while also ensuring economic growth and sustainable development;

  • To ensure unity and decisive action in response to the extreme climate events witnessed globally;

  • To emphasize the urgency of supporting vulnerable nations through adaptation finance and operationalising loss and damage funds;

  • To catalyse a transformation in climate finance, urging G20 countries to lead by example and align financial systems with climate goals, setting a determined path forward at COP28. 


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