By SGA Executive Director, Gary Cuneen

COP28 – Day 2

After having spent 6 days prior to COP28 trekking in the Langtang Valley of Nepal and 4 days exploring the temples and sites within Kathmandu, I decided today to visit the Nepal Pavilion at COP28 to learn more about Nepal’s goals and challenges. I missed seeing the Prime Minister of Nepal, who was late for his speech in a small Nepal Pavilion venue, but I was able to talk at length with a government delegate whose job in Nepal is to track all of its ghg emissions and report transparently the data to the UN. He has one assistant and one part-time admin staff. He explained that the challenges are many, including getting reliable data and not having adequate staff to accurately collect data that is needed.

When I asked him about transportation, he said it is almost impossible to track which vehicles (motorcycles, cars, buses and more traditional vehicles) are emitting what volume of emissions. This is actually a common data problem in the US as well. Nepal is a microcosm of a larger problem that the UN faces with respect to transparency and reporting. How do we know we are comparing apples to apples? How do we track data related to emissions and agriculture for that matter? How do we know the data is accurate? And how do countries with fewer resources get the resources to be able to track and submit reliable data? (see brief video clip of the Nepal government official). We have macro data on Parts Per Million of Carbon, but more segregated data by country and by locality and by sector is an issue globally and here in the US.

Gary Cuneen with other COP28 delegates in the energy tech hub.

I also spent time today at the Energy Transition Hub, talking with technical experts in the fields of hydrogen vehicles/charging stations, off-grid electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and the Dubai Solar Park. The Dubai Solar Park (the largest in the world) is supplying Dubai with 15% of its electricity now and by 2030 it will expand to 5,000 megawatts and supply Dubai with 25% of its total electricity as part of its 100% goal by 2050.

A very interesting business model was from a firm promoting EV “off-grid” charging stations with batteries, based on the premise that the grid in the United Arab Emirates (7 states) and elsewhere will not be able to handle the volume of electricity needs as EVs and other electric-powered machines increase in volume and that there will be a need to supplement the grid with off-grid charging technology.

Hydrogen is emerging as a viable energy alternative for industrial vehicles needing quicker charges for business and is emerging as a complementary renewable energy powered vehicle option along with EVs. One company (Topsoe) in the Technology Hub is creating renewable and non-emissions producing aviation, shipping and large trucking fuels made of out waste, fat and plants and as well as building a multi-gigawatt production facility for electrolizers and the production of green hydrogen to fuel planes, ships and trucks. With governments struggling with resources and accountability to drive change, what role will technology play within this dangerous climate predicament we’re in?