United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP28

Welcome to Macquarie's highlights from COP28 in the UAE

Between 30 November and 12 December 2023, climate leaders from across the globe will meet in the UAE for COP28, the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

COP28 is formed around a two-week thematic program, focused on real world solutions to close the transition gap to 2030, particularly in emerging markets.  

A delegation of senior Macquarie leaders, led by Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Shemara Wikramanayake, will join sessions and events throughout the conference.

Here, we bring you some of the highlights from on the ground. 

COP28 concludes with progress in some key areas

COP28 concluded with an agreement on the Global Stocktake and considerable progress in some key areas:

  • 118 nations pledged to triple renewable energy capacity to 11,000 GW and double energy efficiency by 2030 which is an important step towards meaningful progress in decarbonising the power sector.
  • The final agreement, the UAE Consensus, included a historic agreement to transition away from fossil fuels.
  • 50 oil and gas companies pledged to reach near-zero methane emissions by 2030, along with various announcements in heavy-emitting sectors such as cement and steel.
  • Nations agreed on the operationalisation of a loss and damage fund, with a total pledge of $US792 million and $US85 billion of new climate funding was raised alongside commitments from countries and multilateral development banks to unlock more low-cost finance for emerging markets.
Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, speaks at the Women Building a Climate-Resilient World panel during COP28. Photo: ©UNFCC

Macquarie remains committed to supporting our clients and communities in the global transition to a low-carbon economy, including through new initiatives announced at COP28 such as the Industrial Transition Accelerator (ITA), to decarbonise heavy emitting sectors, and the World Bank-backed Private Sector Investment Lab, to develop solutions to address the barriers to private sector investment in emerging markets.

5 and 6 December

Mark Dooley, Global Head of MAM Green Investments, joined a panel discussion with other business leaders and policy makers on ‘Accelerating global renewables expansion’, which looked at the opportunities and bottlenecks of renewables deployment, and how to rise to the challenge set by over 120 countries planning to treble renewables capacity by 2030. 

Kristina Kloberdanz, Chief Sustainability Officer for Macquarie Asset Management (MAM), joined several roundtables with global chief sustainability officers and multi-sector representatives on topics including accelerating climate finance from the private sector and uniting around a rapid response to the Global Stocktake that is under discussion for the first time at this year’s COP. Kristina also moderated a panel on the role of storytelling in investing, including a discussion on how impactful narratives can drive positive change in the world of finance, and how organisations are leveraging storytelling for social and environmental good.

Suraj Vanniarachchy from the Global Carbon team in Macquarie’s Commodities and Global Markets business spoke at a series of events, including on UK ocean conservation charity Blue Marine Foundation’s panel to debate rights in blue natural capital projects. Alongside panellists from Blue Ventures, RARE, World Economic Forum and the Lloyds Registry Foundation, the conversation focused on the importance of empowering people by fostering inclusive community participation and operating locally and contextually in developing blue carbon projects.

Suraj also took part in an event hosted by the Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Programme at the Pakistan Pavilion, discussing the prospects of the voluntary carbon market and the role it plays in Pakistan. The conversation included agreeing on the importance of clarity and assurance, both at national and international level, to ensure more private sector capital into the carbon markets. 

Paul Plewman, Macquarie EMEA Chief Executive Officer, and Stephen Moir, Macquarie’s Head of Corporate Affairs in EMEA, met with Macquarie Foundation partner Last Mile Health, which was at COP to discuss the intersection of climate change and health.

4 December

Finance Day at COP28 saw a continuing focus on emerging markets. Shemara joined a discussion on Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETPs) and talked about Macquarie’s involvement in the Indonesia and Vietnam JETPs, as well as our work on CFLI India and Columbia, at a Bloomberg Green event.

At a Bloomberg Green event, Shemara joined Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered PLC, in a discussion on JETPs.

From there, Shemara joined a panel discussion hosted by the Independent High Level Expert Group on Climate Finance to mark the publication of its new report, ‘A New Framework for Climate Finance’. 

The focus then moved to one of the main COP28 plenary halls where Shemara joined former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, and other panellists in a discussion on ‘Women Building a Climate Resilient World’.

The day was closed by a COP28 client reception hosted by our Commodities and Global Markets business.   

2 and 3 December

Increasing climate finance flows in and to emerging markets and developing economies (EM&DEs) is a key priority of the COP negotiations. A number of emerging markets have made significant strides in the energy transition in recent years. In 2022, some 75 per cent of new power generation capacity added in emerging markets and developing economies, excluding China, was low carbon.1 Energy transition investment in these markets reached a new record of $US85 billion, up 10 per cent from 2021.2 However, low-carbon investment in and to EM&DEs continues to fall significantly short of what is required to meet net-zero emissions goals by 2050.3

Shemara Wikramanayake speaks on a panel with Bill Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered (right), moderated by Jon Moore, CEO of BlombergNEF (left).

These trends, and how different stakeholders can work together to support the transition in emerging markets, was the main topic of the Bloomberg Business Forum, which our CEO, Shemara Wikramanayake, joined. The event began with Ajay Banga, the President of the World Bank, welcoming Macquarie as one of the 15 founding members of the Private Sector Investment Lab, which will develop solutions to address the barriers to private sector investment in emerging markets.

Shemara also joined a panel discussion with Bill Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered, to discuss the work they co-lead through the GFANZ workstream on Mobilizing Capital for Emerging Markets & Developing Economies. The discussion, moderated by Jon Moore, CEO of BlombergNEF, and Luiza Demoro, Head of Energy Transitions, BlombergNEF, included the launch of a new report on investment trends in these countries.

Back in the Blue Zone at the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Forum, Shemara joined a panel on infrastructure investment in EM&DEs hosted by Sir Alok Sharma, COP26 President, and featuring public and private leaders including Sir Tony Blair, Noel Quinn, CEO of HSBC, and Sumant Sinha, CEO of ReNew Power.

The Macquarie team also attended a discussion on the Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETPs) for Vietnam and Indonesia, which have been established to bring together governments and a coalition of private finance institutions, including Macquarie, to mobilise financing in their energy transitions. Vietnam and Indonesia both released their first major coal transition plans in the week preceding COP28 and were leading discussions to mobilise support around their implementation.

COP26 President Sir Alok Sharma (centre) hosted a panel on infrastructure investment in emerging markets and developing economies, attended by leaders of public and private organisations, including Shemara Wikramanayake, and Sir Tony Blair (left).
Shemara Wikramanayake speaks at an event hosted by the International Emissions Trading Association, alongside the Association’s President and CEO, Dirk Forrister, and Jakob Stausholm, CEO of Rio Tinto.

Macquarie also hosted an event for clients and stakeholders from Latin America, an area of growth for the Group, where we were joined by the Bancolombia delegation, led by its CEO, Juan Carlos Mora Uribe, and BBVA, the co-chairs of CFLI Colombia, of which Macquarie is a founding member. 

With a broader focus on the role of the global transition, Shemara joined Jakob Stausholm, CEO of Rio Tinto, at an event hosted by the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) to discuss the role of financial institutions and high-emissions industries in the transition to net zero.

The Macquarie team also attended the launch of an important new initiative supported through GFANZ, the Industry Transition Accelerator, which will focus on supporting heavy emitting industries develop and fund the solutions they need to decarbonise. Nick Gole, Macquarie Capital's Head of Energy Transition in Infrastructure and Energy Capital, spoke at an event hosted in the Australian Pavilion and chaired by the CEO of Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), Ian Learmonth, to discuss the supply of critical minerals for the clean energy transition.

Janet Dietrich, Global Lead of Energy Transition in Macquarie’s Commodities and Global Markets business (second left), took part in a discussion about supply chain decarbonisation in the semiconductor industry.

Janet Dietrich, Global Lead of Energy Transition in Macquarie’s Commodities and Global Markets business, attended the launch of ‘Energy Collaborative’, a new clean energy initiative by SEMI, the industry association of the semiconductor industry, and took part in a discussion about supply chain decarbonisation in the industry.

Alongside these public events, the Macquarie team continue to meet key clients to discuss the role that Macquarie can play in supporting their decarbonisation and transition ambitions.  

1 December

As COP28 got underway in Dubai, delegates from the nearly 200 countries that are signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed the details of a new fund that will support vulnerable countries mitigate the impacts of climate disasters. The idea of the fund was agreed at COP27 last year and countries had committed to finalise the implementation rules by COP28.

The host country, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Germany, the UK, Japan and the US are some of the countries that contributed to an initial $US260 million to the fund. More commitments, which the World Bank will administer initially, are expected over the coming days.

Participating countries also agreed on the agenda of the negotiations happening over the next two weeks, with tripling renewables and tackling methane emissions by 2030 high on the list of priorities. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced his country’s ambition to host the 33rd COP climate talks in 2028.

Macquarie’s first full day at COP28 started with a focus on mobilising the transition in emerging markets and developing countries (EM&DEs). Our CEO, Shemara Wikramanayake, who co-chairs the GFANZ workstream on this topic, helped launch a major new initiative, the Global Capacity Building Coalition, to increase the technical assistance to financial institutions in these countries to support their transition planning.

Senior leaders of multilateral development banks, finance, and international organisations – including Shemara Wikramanayake (second from right) – join UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions, Michael Bloomberg (centre) at the announced launch of the Global Capacity Building Coalition.

A key plank of global efforts on EM&DEs is the development of country platforms. These platforms are designed to get all parts of the financial system, across public and private sectors, working together, and they are a major focus at COP. One early mover on this was the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI) in India, co-chaired by Macquarie and Tata & Sons, and supported by Michael Bloomberg in his capacity as the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action. Read more about this work in a joint article originally published in India’s Economic Times.

The wider topic of transition finance was the subject of a Sustainable Markets Initiative panel discussion at the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Forum, where Shemara spoke alongside Ron O’Hanley, CEO of State Street, James Scriven, CEO of IDB Invest, Dr. Ridha Wirakusumah, CEO of the Indonesia Investment Authority, Siddharth Sharma, CEO of Tata Trusts, and Emmanuel Givanakis, CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Abu Dhabi Global Market.

Shifting to one of the developed world’s most mature renewables markets, the UK, Macquarie joined a Roundtable with the Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer MP, on the challenges and opportunities facing the country’s transition.      

Shemara Wikramanayake takes part in a Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) panel discussion at the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Forum.
Shemara Wikramanayake speaks with the UK’s Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer.

Green Energy Conference (GEC) 2023

Macquarie Group’s GEC event series brings together leaders in industry, finance and policy to discuss the challenges, opportunities and progress in the global transition to net zero.​ This year, events took place in London, New York and Sydney.

How partnerships are powering the path to decarbonisation

Partnerships have been part of our approach at Macquarie and in this paper we set out the importance of working together to accelerate the decarbonisation of the economy. 

Our capabilities and commitments

Macquarie is supporting practical climate solutions around the world, find out more about our activities and capabilities.

We recognise the science on climate change and the widespread disruption it is causing. We believe that we can contribute positively to the challenges and opportunities of climate change mitigation and adaptation through the financing of practical solutions driven by our core capabilities.

We also believe that the transition must be managed and orderly, which is why we are actively supporting carbon intensive industries to reduce their emissions and continuing to work with oil and gas companies, in recognition that much of the world will depend on these industries for years to come.