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Azerbaijan Declares 2024 as "Green World Solidarity Year"

By Gunay Hajiyeva December 27, 2023


Azerbaijan plans to increase the share of renewables in the overall energy production to 30 percent by 2030 / Shutterstock

President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on Monday, declaring 2024 as the “Green World Solidarity Year” and reaffirming Azerbaijan’s commitments to global climate change efforts.

The document aims to set a framework for the 2024 UN Climate Change Conference (COP29), which will take place in Azerbaijan next year.

“The unanimous decision to host the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP29) in Azerbaijan reflects the international community's profound respect and trust in Azerbaijan, recognizing the nation's endeavors in environmental protection and addressing climate change on national, regional, and global scales,” the decree noted.

On December 11, the participants of the plenary session of COP28 collectively backed the decision to confirm Azerbaijan as a host country of COP29. The event is scheduled for November in 2024.

In a government meeting on December 15, President Aliyev said around 70-80 thousand foreign guests are expected to visit the two-week COP29 in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1995. The country acceded to the first global climate change protocol of the Convention, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, in 2000. The Kyoto Protocol limits emissions of greenhouse gases, which cause global warming.

Azerbaijan later confirmed the commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 35 percent by 2030 and bring it to 40 percent by 2050.

Baku signed the 2015 Paris Agreement, a legally binding treaty on climate change, in April 2016 and has since been actively working to deliver on the issues prioritized by the government.

The Paris Agreement sets long-term goals to guide all nations to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions substantially and hold global temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. It adds that nations must pursue efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and recognizes that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

It also calls on the signatories to periodically assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of this agreement and its long-term goals, as well as provide financing to developing countries to mitigate climate change, strengthen resilience and enhance abilities to adapt to climate impacts.

Azerbaijan, an oil and gas exporter, has taken measures to combat climate change in recent years, including adopting laws, rules, and programs related to transition to green energy and decarbonization.

The country also owns vast renewable energy resources. The technical potential of renewables is estimated at 135 gigawatts on land and 157 gigawatts at sea. The economic potential of green energy sources stands at 27 gigawatts, which includes 3 gigawatts of wind energy, 23 gigawatts of solar energy, 380 megawatts of bioenergy potential, and 520 megawatts of mountain river potential, according to the Energy Ministry.

Azerbaijan is an active participant in regional and global initiatives on climate change. In addition to commitments under Kyoto and Paris Protocols, in 2016, the implementation of the "EU4Energy" program began in the country. The program promotes the implementation of sustainable energy policy with the Eastern Partnership countries of the European Union.

This resulted in the adoption of the law on "Efficient use of energy resources and energy efficiency", "National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency" and "Roadmap to accelerate the adoption of eco-design and labeling requirements for energy-using products".

In addition, the "Azerbaijan 2030: National Priorities for Socio-Economic Development" program was announced in February 2021. The fifth priority mentioned in the program envisages the transition to a "green development" by contributing to a clean environment.

In May 2021, the law "On the use of renewable energy sources in the production of electricity" was adopted to expand the action plan in the speedy transition to clean energy.

Azerbaijan also cooperates with the world's leading companies to increase the share of alternative energy resources in energy production. In October of this year, a 230-megawatt solar power plant built in Baku's Garadagh district with the investment from Masdar, a leading operator of large-scale renewable energy projects in the United Arab Emirates, was inaugurated. The $200-million station will produce 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of energy per year and will reduce carbon emissions by 200,000 tons.

In addition, Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power is expected to launch a 240-megawatt wind power plant in Azerbaijan with a total investment of $300 million. The annual production capacity of the station is equal to 1 billion kilowatt-hours of energy.

BP, one of the world's largest energy operators, is among the supporters of Azerbaijan’s transition to green energy. The company plans to build a 240-megawatt solar power plant in the Zangilan-Jabrayil region of the liberated East Zangezur economic region.

Another green energy project will be implemented in Nakhchivan, an Azerbaijani exclave in the southwest of the country, by Nobel Energy, a part of NEQSOL Holding that operates across the energy, telecommunications, hi-tech, and construction industries in more than 10 countries. The electricity produced at the 400-megawatt power station will address the domestic energy need and will be supplied to the Turkish market.

Azerbaijan plans to increase the share of renewables in the overall energy production to 30 percent by 2030.