Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast

Debriefing COP28 with J. Drake Hamilton

December 15, 2023 Fresh Energy Season 4 Episode 6
Debriefing COP28 with J. Drake Hamilton
Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast
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Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast
Debriefing COP28 with J. Drake Hamilton
Dec 15, 2023 Season 4 Episode 6
Fresh Energy

The 2023 U.N. Climate Conference, also known as COP, will be held in the United Arab Emirates from November 30 through December 12. J. Drake Hamilton, senior director, science policy at Fresh Energy, was one of the more than 70,000 participants from around the globe to attend. Get the scoop from J. on some of the big discussions that  happened at the event. You can read J.'s blog from COP at

Listeners can stay up to date on Fresh Energy's work via our once-monthly email list, blog at, or by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!

Thank you to the band Palms Psalm for providing our theme song, "DGAF" off of their album Otuhaka. Get the latest from the band at

Show Notes Transcript

The 2023 U.N. Climate Conference, also known as COP, will be held in the United Arab Emirates from November 30 through December 12. J. Drake Hamilton, senior director, science policy at Fresh Energy, was one of the more than 70,000 participants from around the globe to attend. Get the scoop from J. on some of the big discussions that  happened at the event. You can read J.'s blog from COP at

Listeners can stay up to date on Fresh Energy's work via our once-monthly email list, blog at, or by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. You can support Fresh Energy’s work for a clean energy Minnesota by making a donation today!

Thank you to the band Palms Psalm for providing our theme song, "DGAF" off of their album Otuhaka. Get the latest from the band at

J. Drake Hamilton: [00:00:12] Hello and welcome to Decarbonize the Clean Energy Podcast from Fresh Energy. My name is Jo Olson. I'm the lead director of communications and engagement with Fresh Energy. And I'm here today to share with you a recording of our most recent webinar. We've had two this week, but this one is unpacking what happened at COP 28 with J.  Drake Hamilton. And thank you to the band Palm Psalm for providing our theme song, "DGAF," off of their album “Otuhaka.” Get the latest from the band at Palm All right, let's jump into the recording. Hello and welcome to Fresh Energy's webinar COP 28 and Fresh Energy discussions with J. Drake Hamilton. This is the second in our two-part webinar series about COP 28. Our first one, if you tuned in for that. We talked about what J was anticipating to come at COP. And today we're going to debrief. I think your feet have been on the ground back here in Minnesota for, I don't know, 24 or 48 hours. Um, so we're going to grill her now, uh, while it's all still fresh. So thank you for joining us. Uh, I do want to do some housekeeping first about the webinar. So, yes, we will be sharing a recording of this webinar with everyone who registered. You'll get an email probably today, uh, with a link to the recording. We'll also be posting it on our podcast, Decarbonize the Clean Energy Podcast. If you aren't already a subscriber, go ahead and find it on your favorite podcasting app. Uh, second, many of you submitted questions when you registered for today's webinar, and thank you so much for doing that. We will absolutely be taking questions at the end of the webinar, but if you have any, in the meantime, you can submit them through the nifty Q&A function on zoom.


Jo Olson: [00:02:04] It should be a little button at the bottom of your screen. If you click it, you can submit your comments, but then you can look at what other people submit as questions and upvote the ones you like, or make sure a question you have hasn't already been asked. Uh, and third, I think I'm pretty sure I opened up the webinar chat function. It's a Friday morning and we're all still kind of waking up. Or maybe that's just me, but I think it would be fun if folks hopped into the chat and introduced yourself, tell us where you're from. Um, and then we can kind of see who's in the room with us today. Uh, and now, for those of you who are new to fresh energy, I wanted to give you the quick scoop on who we are and what we do. Fresh energy has been working on clean energy and climate policy issues here in Minnesota and throughout the Midwest for 30 years. We are changing the world through bold policy solutions that move us to a just, carbon-free future. And we're helping everyone who lives here end their dependence on fossil fuel, electrify their lives, and build a healthy, clean energy economy where all can thrive. Now, let's do some introductions. Uh, I'm Jo Olson. My pronouns are she her. I'm the lead director of communications and engagement at Fresh Energy, and I'm joined by the star of the show, J. Drake Hamilton Fresh Energy's senior director of science policy. J., why don't you tell us a bit about yourself?


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:03:31] Welcome, everyone. I go by the name J.  and I'm a climate scientist by training. This was my eighth global climate summit. So I am an experienced and this really matters. I'm also now a 28-year veteran of communicating about climate. I've spoken about climate policy every single working day of my life. In the US alone. I've spoken formally with over 200,000 Americans.


Jo Olson: [00:04:05] I don't think I can say that. Um, I don't think a lot of people can say that. So thank you, J.. Thank you for being with us today. I am going to stop sharing my screen now, but then we're going to pop up the screen a few more times because I know you've got lots of, like, great visual aids for us. Um, so I'm going to let you take it from here. J.  and I will do my best to get the right pictures on the screen at the right time. Um, but tell me if I need to, like, go back or go forward. Okay.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:04:34] Thanks, Jo.


Jo Olson: [00:04:35] Yep.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:04:36] Everyone. I returned to Saint Paul at 2 p.m. Wednesday. This week I have returned from three weeks in a luxury manufactured oasis in the desert in the United Arab Emirates. I'm going to use the its nickname UAE. Dubai is the largest city in the UAE, 3.65 million in population. Over 85% of them are expatriates as they were born in other countries. Most of the city was built in the last month to the last 15 years. It's brand new. The president of COP 28 this year was Doctor Sultan Al Jaber, and he is also the head of the UAE-owned oil company called Adnoc, which stands for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. Now I think we're going to have a few pictures. I don't see them yet. Okay, there we go. Yep. So this is a view of COP. It is a critical mass of people working on climate action all in one place at the same time. So this is truly an exceptional experience. About 100,000 people were registered to be here. Next slide, please. So this is what some of the huge signs look like. Next slide, please. So now we're going to look at a couple of slides of permanent pavilions that have been rented for the two-week conference. This one is the Russian pavilion. Next slide, please. This is UAE's pavilion. It was designed by the architect Kalutara. And the next slide, I think this is the pavilion of Saudi Arabia. So these are on the campus of Expo 2020. Because of Covid, it was held in 2021. The youth space is built out and beautiful and very functional, with a large number of buildings and a few that are 12-plus floors.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:06:59] Art is everywhere and the big pavilions have extravagant water features. The campus itself is about eight compared to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, the campus is 3.3 times bigger. We are a city home to an extremely tall skyscraper. I think the next slide will show this. This slide skyscraper is in the midst of regular skyscrapers, and you can tell it's twice as tall. This is known as the Burj Khalifa, which means Khalifa Tower. It is the largest building ever built. It's 2717ft tall. I went before the COP to the outdoor balcony around the 150, 45th, 145th floor to get a look at the city next slide please. All right, so what happened? Um, at COP. I'm going to talk about four major issues. The first one is called loss and damage. On day one of COP, for the first time ever, the UN announced a very historic thing. COP 28 had set up a fund to help poor and vulnerable communities deal with climate disasters. It was advocated for by a Bangladeshi climate scientist who died on Halloween this year, and he had been to every single COP meeting for almost 30 years, asking for. The U.N. to figure out a way to finance people who were suffering because of climate change caused by people in the developed world. So, so far, they have collected $83.4 billion. Soon the loss and damage fund will get a new name. Probably it will be named after the climatologist Doctor Huck. Huck, who invented the idea. And this will be run for the first few years out of the world Bank on an interim basis. The new president of the world Bank was here at COP two.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:09:35] His name is AJ.  Banga. The fund is now being operationalized to pay for rebuilding communities from damage caused by climate change caused by developing nations. But the truth is, we have to move at a much, much faster pace. And we must deploy more not billions of dollars, but trillions of dollars in order to achieve our goals. On day two of the COP. The United Arab Emirates, headed by Sultan Al Jaber, announced a new fund called Altera. It's spelled in all caps. Al tiara. And it is a fund for the countries in the global South. The UAE committed $30 billion to this fund in catalytic capital, which will be based in Abu Dhabi. Furthermore, the USA, UAE has committed to mobilize a total of $250 billion in this fund to reduce greenhouse gases. The goal of Al Jaber is to don't leave anyone out of the progress. Most of the world's leaders and I think this is on the net. Next slide. Yes. This is the Prime Minister of India, Modi. He was the first person to get in front of the whole COP and thank President Al-Jaber for his initiative. And then every other president joined him. So that was all in place right at the start of COP. The next topic I'm going to talk about is finance. I think we have a new slide for this. Well, this is just me and my colleague who is also my husband. And maybe you're aware we're one of these rare wife and husband pairs who have been to to seven COPs together. We're all on separate money. We have separate badges. Here we are. Next slide please. Oh, you know.


Jo Olson: [00:11:58] What, J. ? I think I missed the John Kerry slide this morning.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:12:02] I'm sorry. Just just turn back to me, please. Thanks. Um, so on finance parties must meet their collective $100 billion every year goal. Starting this year through 2025. How much capital is available to help developing nations transition to renewable energy and COPe with extreme weather? Where will that investment come from and what kinds of interest rates will lenders charge developing nations? Ultimately, world leaders and especially British business executives in the private sector must muster up the trillions of dollars needed for a wholesale remaking of the world's energy infrastructure. So one of the questions is, will private investors accept lower rates of return because many developing nations can't pay high loan rates? That's just the reality. The truth is, we need much more money. The estimated costs and needs of adaptation are approximately between 10 and 18 times as much as international public adaptation, final flows and adaptation finance gap. That gap is widening. So again, as I've said and John Kerry said many times at the COP, trillions of dollars will be needed and private investments will have to be the predominant source. So you should know that. And the next topic I'd like to go to and you can change the slide now. Is there were. Super fantastic commitments made on methane. So first, before the COP even even met the lead negotiator from the United States, John Kerry, he met with the president of China and his and his team in California, and they agreed to include other non-co2 gases in their new national commitments on climate planning, especially methane.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:14:30] And you can see it here in this slide. Next slide please. And methane is taking its rightful place as the biggest and fastest way to slow climate change. What happened in COP 28 was that new funding. Actually, multi-billion dollars of money was committed at the 2023 Global Methane Pledge Ministerial meeting. Over $1 billion in new grant funding for methane action. Next slide, please. Now some 50 big oil and gas firms pledged in Dubai to all but eliminate the methane emissions associated with the exploration of fossil fuels soon by 2030. They also pledged to end routine flaring of methane. That means when producers burn off the methane without even using it for customers. So it's a complete waste. The companies who committed account for about 40% of global oil production, including Saudi Aramco, the biggest oil company in the world, and ExxonMobil and shell and Adnoc of the UAE. Their participation is, therefore, a huge win. Those many oil firms pledged to trim emissions from drilling by 80% soon by 2030. The industry leaks methane now at 2 to 3% of what they produce. The adopted target is to cut methane from 2 to 3%. Emissions to a mere 2/10 of 1% of methane emissions.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:16:31] You can tell that is huge. They are going to use methane satellites. Methane data spurs quick action satellites will change the face of methane mitigation. Satellites have 200 kilometer by 200 kilometer grid cells and a view that with a sensitivity of three parts per billion, so they can capture around the world methane leaks anywhere in the world at low levels. The US has created a methane alert and response system called Mars for at for short, and it has found routinely 1000 methane plumes globally. Methane data can drive methane reduction. Methane monitoring can reduce methane emissions to avoid waste in fossil systems and even in the agricultural sector. John Kerry convened an illustrious panel at COP 23 on methane monitoring data, leading to methane action with considerable campaign money. Get this 155 countries formed a coalition that formed at COP 28, creating a global methane hub, which is has the job to locate leaks of methane on a daily basis. Satellites and allow us to see almost everywhere. And these satellites are a critical tool to drive reduction of methane losses. With methane, this super emitter can disproportionately contribute to emissions that can be reduced quickly in a matter of days. These data make the invisible visible, and I think we may have one more slide of these. If you could look, Jo, I.


Jo Olson: [00:18:36] Which one are you thinking? I'm not sure.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:18:38] Making it the visible methane. Oh, methane.


Jo Olson: [00:18:42] I don't think we pulled. I did not pull that one out. All right, that's okay.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:18:46] These data have already delivered emissions reductions results in the real world events that were previously unknown are now known as leaks, and they become solvable. Reduction. Does that sound great? Solvable in the short time span. Reductions in one example has been a leak found from a power plant in California. What happened was, um, the team saw the leak, quickly, called up the power company, and they quickly shut off the leak. Stopped the leak permanently. That's a real win. This sends a message to the rest of the world. They need to shut down their methane leaks quickly as well. Brings me to the next topic. You know, you've heard a lot of it about this in the media, about fossil fuels. The fossil fuel fight went into overtime at COP between Tuesday night when the COP was supposed to be over, and Wednesday morning when everyone was supposed to be going home. What happened is the COP president announced that they were going to work overtime all night, the night of December 12th and possibly the night of December 13th. He said they had to hash out a unanimous consensus agreement. As of the beginning. At midnight, oh one December 13th, there was fierce resistance against even mentioning fossil fuels in the text to the COP from countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, China, India, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and other parties objected to the concept of phasing out fossil fuels.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:20:43] The African nations said, let us explore and exploit our energy resources in the near terms because we are still under developed. So that brings us to the big. Can of worms at COPs and the whole. The most important item of business is called the global stocktake. At the core of this year's climate summit, the global stocktake, which I'll abbreviate as GST, is a non-descriptive name. It's a conceals its vital role in international climate efforts. The GST was passed as a critical part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which all the countries signed on to, including the US. So, and it draws up a report card on where the world stands eight years after the Paris Agreement was signed. How do countries plan to fix their inevitable shortcomings? Can the world stave off the worst impacts of climate change, or will the world careen toward unlivable temperatures? So global stocktake is the heart of the Paris Agreement. That's according to Jennifer Morgan, who's the German climate envoy. Step one began two years ago. The UN gathered all the relevant information. Step two the UN ended the summer of 2023 with an evaluation of what the data mean. Step three happened during COP 28, which is determining how much does clean energy need to be ratcheted up. And it ended in the final global stocktake. It was accepted finally midday on December 13th and the closing session of the COP met with parties of the Paris Agreement, and it aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of efforts to eradicate poverty, to access the collective progress toward advancing the purpose of the Paris Agreement.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:23:12] And the global stocktake informs parties who are the countries who signed this agreement, how to update and advance their national climate plans. The conclusion was, unfortunately, that parties are not yet collectively on track toward achieving the purposes of the Paris Agreement. Pursuing efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. But we know that 220 23 is likely to be the warmest year on record. So the latest national climate plans can get the world down to still between 2.1 and 2 point eight degrees Celsius. Unacceptable. So for 105 degrees to be a reality globally, we need to have deep, rapid and sustained decreases in global gas emissions. To wit, we need for the peak greenhouse gas emissions to happen before 2025 right away. The goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions 43% by 2030. Write that down 43% by 2030, and the goal is to cut greenhouse gases 60% just five years later by 2035. That's what we're talking about deep rapid emissions reductions. So the parties, all the countries are called upon to take actions. These are some of the actions in the text that will be put out soon by the UN.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:25:01] This is what needs to happen. Tripling renewable energy capacity globally and doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements. Both of these things must be achieved by 2030. So to give you a sense, tripling renewable energy will go from currently about 500GW built per year to by 2030, 1500 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030. Renewables will have to grow every year about 17%. Two countries have to accelerate efforts toward their phase down of unabated coal power. Number three. They all need to accelerate efforts globally toward net zero emission energy systems using zero and low carbon fuels well before or by around 2050, transitioning away. This is the most important sentence transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly, and equitable managed manner. Accelerating action in this critical decade. Great accelerations by 2030 for phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transitions as soon as possible. All the developed countries have to develop new climate plans that must have ambitious economy wide emissions reductions targets covering not just CO2, but all greenhouse gases and all sectors of their economy in order to put them on a path to meet 1.5°C globally as a maximum. Now, nations draw up their next climate plans for evaluation starting in early 2025. That's when they have to provide them to the UN. All countries must include all greenhouse gases.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:27:29] The need for transitioning away from fossil fuels has to be aligned with the 1.5 degrees C goal. The signal of collaboration in this agreement was achieved overnight. In all night working programs between December 12th and December 13th, and it is a significant achievement. It sends a very clear signal to all countries to go further, to go faster and to go better. And people have said the fossil fuel era is ending, although this is only the beginning of the end. Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, when the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was lost, we know now that the end of the fossil fuel era is inevitable and was brought a little closer on December 13th, Wednesday of this week, when I heard special Presidential Envoy for the climate, John Kerry, who I personally know, address for an hour a live audience of 1000 people. He ended his hour long presentation and he ended by saying nothing will stop clean energy. Global transformation. It will move faster than the industrial revolution. So at the closing plenary. President Al-jabarti's told the delegates the initiatives are a climate lifeline. Your collective effort has achieved this historic outcome. You put common interest ahead of personal interest. You've allowed us to keep 1.5 degrees C within a reach. You've made an historical consensus to accelerate climate action. That's what happened on Wednesday. Next slide please.


Jo Olson: [00:29:47] And I think. J. , we have a photo of Brenda. Is it Brenda mallory to, um.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:29:52] You can skip that, please.


Jo Olson: [00:29:53] Okay, great.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:29:54] All right. This is the president, President al-Jubeir. And what was interesting is after he initially. He summarized what countries had to do, which was very, very clear. He took some questions or some comments from the floor. And a woman from Samoa. And Rasmussen, who is the leader of the delegation from the Alliance of Small Island States, made the public complaint. That Oasis was not even in the room when the group approved the global stocktake. She was responded to by a standing ovation in the plenary by many, many countries. She told the COP president, you are not ensuring 1.5 degrees C was safeguarded in a meaningful way. You did not deliver on the phaseout of fossil fuels and many people agreed. I heard a representative tell the plenary from the Marshall Islands. He told them, quote, we will not go silently to our watery grave. Nonetheless, the champions of rapid, ambitious climate action far outweighed at the COP the PR might of OPEC. The proof of whether or not COP 28 worked will be in delivery of the new climate action plans by every country, and this review will start at COP 30 in Brazil in 2030. So the summary is especially with the global stocktake, we have achieved an historic shift to a much more rapid pace for climate action. I heard from former Vice President Al Gore, who I know personally has he trained me over the course of about a week's time over several years. In this case, he was addressing a room full of 700 people.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:32:12] I was one of those. He called himself a capitalist, saying capitalism is the most useful tool to stop climate change. Gore spoke for 40 minutes without slides, just answering a few very prickly journalist questions, and he drew a standing ovation from 700 people at the other end of friends. To me, some of you know that whenever I go out to a COP, I try to make new friends. One of the new friends I befriended was a young Chinese graduate student. Here she is. She is finishing up her master's in public policy at the University of Chicago. Her name is Jamie Yang, but her real Chinese name is pronounced J. . Just like my J. . And she stood out as the best student in her class. J.  asked me if we had an extra few days of badges, and it turned out that my husband, who works at the Science Museum, had a badge for about four days. And we gave the badge to her and helped supervise her work. She contributed to my online blog on the work, her work with the International Finance Corporation. Check out her entry there. Pat and I look forward to watching this young woman. J.  is now 23 years old, but in mid 2024 she will begin her energy financing career and we tend to work with her closely. So the lessons about diplomacy we learned. No single multilateral process alone could solve the climate crisis. It's too big, but. Nations at COP 28 have taken a definitive step to transition away from fossil fuels.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:34:18] It is the first time all three fossil fuels have been in the COP text. Nations have taken a definitive step to deliver on global targets on adaptation. We I've spelled them out for you already. And the nations have started to scale up finance for climate action. John Kerry said the bottom line is this COP needs to be committed to phasing out all unabated fossil fuels. The result, the end of the fossil fuel era, was brought a little closer on December 13th. The UAE's presidency role is to guide the delegates through the upcoming challenges. And he also said repeatedly over the past year he wanted to ensure transparent and inclusivity. We should judge COP 28 President Al-jabarti's. By his results, which have been very great. And I'm going to take your questions in a few minutes. But I wanted to tell you some of my next steps. I'm very happy to report that on November 1st, Governor Tim Walz appointed me to the Governor's Advisory Council on Climate Change for terms of three and a half years. I will be one of 15 individuals from different places across the economy in Minnesota, and we, for three and a half years, will recommend even bolder, more ambitious climate and clean energy policy levers to Governor Walz. So I think Jo has a little information to tell you. And soon we'll be opening it up to your questions. Thank you.


Jo Olson: [00:36:19] I do indeed. And you know what, J. ? I popped on to your Google Drive where you conveniently put all of your photos from COP, and I pulled the methane map. Um, so I'm going to put that up, and maybe you can just, like, tell us what you were thinking about saying for that. I think this is the one you meant, right?


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:36:38] Yes. On the left side, you see, what is visual imagery, visible imagery. So when you have a normal satellite that's taking a picture of the earth, that's what it looks like. The plume of methane was detected by the methane detectors on certain satellites fitted out by their owners. Those satellites are up and being tested right now, and they will come back showing perhaps a thousand plumes of methane leakage all over the globe. And the US has set up and quick action task force that is already practicing and having great results, detecting previously unknown leaks, calling up the owner of that entity and getting them to shut down that leak, typically within 24 or 48 hours. And the UN likes this because the UN operates with a process that's called. It may seem a little blunt to you, but it's called naming and shaming polluters. This is a classic example of how we can now detect methane leakage. We can identify who owns that process and get them to shut it down. That's what the US is planning and wants to show the rest of the world. They need to do this too, because the satellites. Cruise across the skies all over the world and will make this data visible to anyone who wants it. Isn't that great? That's the way technology can help us out.


Jo Olson: [00:38:30] Thank you J. , and thanks for circling back to that topic for me. So just two quick things before we dive into the Q&A. So I guess a reminder for people to submit your questions via the Q&A or the chat, which is now open. I first think the first couple of minutes of this webinar, it was shut down, but it's back up now. Um, so first, uh, we will be sharing a recording of this webinar via email yet today. So keep an eye on your inbox and remember it will be on our podcast to decarbonize the Clean Energy podcast. And then second, I'd be in huge trouble with our development team if I didn't remind you all that Fresh Energy is a nonprofit. We rely on individual donors to help make our work happen, and you can support work like what you're seeing today by making a year end donation. So, um, that's my spiel now before we go into the Q&A and I want to kick off, if you're, um, up for this kind of tougher question that I've been hearing a lot, and I know we talked about it a bit on the prior webinar. We did, um, but. Tell us your thoughts about a Petro State hosting cup. I know you have some thoughts and opinions.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:39:40] Yes, my opinion is everyone who's a signer to the treaty underlying the COP, and that treaty is called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It was passed in Rio de Janeiro back in 1992. Nearly 200 countries have signed that. Everyone who is a signer to that treaty is known as a capital P party. So they were the only people at any COP who can vote on the text approved by the United Nations. The rest of us, like me, I was merely an observer. I don't have a vote, but I can watch the people who vote. And it's very important to have all the signers of a treaty agree on the next steps. The UN formally has a position that these parties need to reach consensus. So every country who's a party needs to sign off on everything, every line of the text. Now, the text for this COP is likely going to be about 21 pages, single spaced. Imagine trying to get countries as different as Saudi Arabia and. The Marshall Islands. A very rich country and a very poor country. Marshall Islands are projected by scientists to be completely underwater before 2050. So to get every country along that whole continuum to agree is a huge feat. And that feat was accomplished. And that was led by the president of COP, led by the oil executive who ran COP.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:41:40] And he did his job. He said, I am going to work to get. My other OPEC nations to agree. With language that identifies coal, oil and natural gas as causing this problem and they need to be transitioned away from and get that language in the text. And he did it. And I was very interested because I've mentioned John Kerry's name a lot. I know him personally. I met him when we were at Paris just before President Obama signed the Paris Agreement. But I was in a room with 11 people and John Kerry in Paris. That was the first time I met him. And since then he has always seen me in his audiences, comes over and gives me another hour of his time because he is the best diplomat I've ever seen, and he is very interested in letting people know how diplomats get their work done. So I very much value him, and he was the one who told people all over the world, you know, I have a good sense and I know this guy. Call President al-Jubeir. Well, and he means what he's saying. And remember, he came to the COP on day one and delivered the loss and damage fund that was promised a year ago in Egypt. That was point one on point two. He brought to everyone's attention that the UAE had committed $30 billion of their money to a fund, Altera.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:43:38] To to lend money at reasonable rates to the Global South. And not only that, later that day he said, oh, by the way, our real commitment is to raise a total of $250 billion for this brand new Global South Fund. And then finally, he extended the period of COP 28 for up to another 48 hours because he said, I need to make sure we're coming forward with our very best results for the people. And the nature of the world. And they did. They said, we are planning for a transition away from fossil fuels, and it must be just and it must be equitable and it must be fast. So. The president has come through in a very big way, and we need to make sure that every country comes through in that way, too. And the truth is, in the UN process, they have decided to aggregate up from their own country's climate plan. And now, now that they've done the five year global stocktake, everyone realizes they didn't make muster and now they have to go back and rewrite their climate plans and came up with much bolder, much more ambitious and much faster changes that they're making across their economies. That is the charge of all of these nearly 200 countries. They have to do this.


Jo Olson: [00:45:34] J. , if you're up for it. I have kind of like an administrative, uh, question next. So you mentioned that there's going to be a, a product. Um, so a 42 page single spaced document. And as the communications person, I'm like, oh, who puts it together? When will it be out? When can we expect it? Is that something? Yeah, yeah. Can you give us a little more background on how how it happens in the, in the time frame around it and then what the implications are of having that document.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:46:02] Yes. The paper is now out. Okay. Great. Um, and it is um, the last time I saw it before midnight on Tuesday, it was 21 pages, single spaced. So I think it'll be okay eventually, the same length I will send to you a COPy of this. Okay. So everyone can look at it. Perfect. If you need some kind of interpretations because they use UN speak and I can translate from the UN speak to you too. So I encourage people if they like what a little I've been able to say in these 40 minutes, if they want to know more, if they want to know more details, if they want to know some of the more lurid stuff I saw, like, uh, I would be happy to talk with you personally or to present to your group.


Jo Olson: [00:46:53] Actually. So, um, I have a few more questions coming to you, but I think what I'll say to folks is we'll put your email address, like the, the email with the recordings will come from me, but I'll include your email address in there so people can reach out to you directly about an event or to to hear about those details. Um, okay. So the next question is about nukes, and this one is from Tony. S. Um, Tony asks, was nuclear energy discussed at COP?


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:47:21] Yes, nuclear energy got a little mention in the text, and a lot of countries are interested in looking at it further. But what they're looking at is the cost of nuclear. And a recent nuclear project proposed for the US was recently cancelled because it was costing too much. But there are a lot of people interested, and I think that's the way people should be, because what I've heard from the best diplomats from any country in the COP is that. To do our jobs here. To pass a set of policies in our countries to keep global warming to less than 1.5 degrees C. We cannot have people any longer saying, yes, I like solar energy, but I don't like wind. We have to change the way we talk about all solutions, and we should adopt a policy of saying yes, and we have to think about yes and everything we need to do, because it's literally across the globe. It's thousands of things we need to improve and we need to improve all of those things. If we're going to be successful at keeping global warming to less than 1.5°C. And a really great meeting I was at. Was one where seven US senators came to COP 28 and they were bipartisan senators. There were six Democrats and one Republican. The Republican was Senator Lisa murkowski from Alaska.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:49:13] She's been before. And these seven got up together and talked. There were so many people that they didn't all fit on the stage. So we had one group of four and then a group of three. And they were led by Senator Cardin from Maryland. And one of the greatest voices was Senator Chris Coons from Delaware, because he got applause from every other senator, because Senator Coons has been working religiously almost for the past about ten years. He is trying to get bipartisan agreement to all parts of climate action needed, because he knows we don't know who's going to be in control of the government at the state level or the US level. Republicans or Democrats. And it changes from time to time. Senator Coons has been very active in working with Republicans. He's a Democrat to make sure that he has agreements to keep things alive, no matter who is in charge of the government, because he believes climate change is not a red or blue issue. It's all of our issues. And that's what was most different about COP 28, because everyone who was there, I've never seen anywhere near a hundred thousand people at a climate summit before, and I've never seen them all working together. Reaching out to talk to people who are slightly different than themselves.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:50:55] And one thing that I heard was that when a member of the audience asked one of the senators on the stage and it was Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island. Many of you may know of him. He has been by far, I think, one of the most outspoken and practical speaker on climate action needed in the US Senate. And he got asked by us, by someone in the audience. He was asked about where carbon taxes are, and he began talking about this idea that's spreading in Europe about a carbon border adjustment mechanism. And what Senator Whitehouse said about that is he liked the cbam because it would put a price on carbon. But then. He's a guy who's talked a lot about carbon taxes. He pivoted immediately because he really wanted to talk about the United States Methane Enforcement Task Force, because he is not sure that climate taxes are going to pass through the US Congress any time. But he knows that the US already has a methane enforcement task force. And what that means is we have the ability to cut off about 0.5 degrees C of warming if we manage these leaks. That takes us about a third of the way where we need to be, and that's a huge change. Another senator who was on the stage was Senator Schatz from Hawaii, another Democrat, and he said he brought everyone's attention back to saying yes.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:52:52] And what more do we have to do to control climate action, to control climate change? And he said, in the US, we need to identify and track whether we are building enough things. And he specifically pulled out the huge victory that President Jo Biden had when he signed into law in August of 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act. The president is not wrong. He signed the best climate and clean energy law ever to be passed in any nation of the world. So because the IRA is bringing lots of investments, voluntary investments that regular people can make in any state in the country and get federal help for this, nothing is mandated. Everything is voluntary. So everyone listening to this call should figure out is my household and is my business doing everything we can to use those investments from IRA to improve climate action and make it happen faster and stronger in Minnesota. Ultimately in the US, and ultimately to benefit the rest of the world. Look at what we're building. Are we building enough renewable energy, enough energy efficiency, enough heat pumps, enough electric vehicles, enough transmission lines because we need all of these things to come to fruition.


Jo Olson: [00:54:43] Thank you, J. . And I want to say, um, Peter B had like kind of submitted a question in advance about putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions and carbon border mechanisms. And I feel like you you addressed his question there. So thank you. Yes. Um, and I do I'm going to just share a link to Fresh Energy's electrification and you website that we created, um, to kind of summarize some of the state and federal rebates and tax credits that are available on the consumer side for electrification. So that URL is in the chat. Um, I'll also make sure to put it in the email after. And then we have another question. Um, coming from Amy. And I know that at COP they don't often address like current events, but Amy B is wondering, um, if there was any discussion about the greenhouse gas emissions as a result of military action. Was that discussed at all? At at COP?


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:55:45] Um, I usually hear it at every COP I'm at because everyone knows the Department of Defense's defense is so big and has the ability to make things go much faster toward climate change, or to pivot and switch over to electricity versus fossil fuels. So it can be a pivot point in a number of ways. So always a lot of people are there talking about it. I didn't happen to hear anyone talking about it when I was there, but that was probably because there are 30 or 50 presentations going on at any hour of the day at COP, and I chose different ones apparently.


Jo Olson: [00:56:30] So that makes sense. Yeah, and I didn't. I mean, there's just so much happening all at the same time.


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:56:37] But the question reminds me to remind people that when I went over and read to you about seven points in the COP text that told all countries what they needed to do when they needed to have it in their countries. New climate plan. Remember, I often use the worm and do all of this by 2030. I did that to make it clear to people 2030 is just around the corner. So that is why. Everyone that I know of who works at Fresh Energy is always talking up IRAs beauties to everyone in Minnesota and beyond to remind them that this is Congress making big investments in clean energy and climate policy. It's money available now. All of it is voluntary. None of it is mandated, but all of it is available to everyone in the country. So people should look at their own lives, and especially at the businesses they work for and the businesses they buy for, and ask those private sector people whether they are investing enough in climate action. Remember also the word that I mentioned a lot. We need trillions of dollars for the loss and damage fund and for the new climate action and adaptation plans. Most of that money will come from the private sector. You know, people in the private sector, a lot of you are in the private sector. We need to be having many more conversations and see many more businesses come to the table to help everyone else in the world help solve this climate crisis.


Jo Olson: [00:58:40] Perfect. Thank you J. And I think, you know we're coming up on time. So we're going to let you off the hook. I think we've actually got through uh, the majority of the questions I want to recognize and thank the members on the Fresh Energies communications team who helped, uh, you get your daily updates up for every single day during COP. So Isaac Quam, um, helped write some of them, and then, uh, Christine McCormick got them posted on the website and on social media. And you know what? I think without the two of them, we would not have been hearing from you quite as much at COP. Um, but also so much recognition to you for taking time every single day after oodles of sessions to actually write these summaries for us. Um, I think that was a really great benefit of of you being at COP. And oh gosh, I remember my last question. Tell us, what is the thing you're most excited about for the next COP? Because you you said the location is chosen. How do you feel about it?


J. Drake Hamilton: [00:59:41] The next location is in another Petro state. It has to be somewhere in Central or Eastern Europe and Azerbaijan. The city of Baku. Baku in Azerbaijan has been chosen. This will likely to be earlier than this year. It'll be before Thanksgiving so people can get home for Thanksgiving. It'll probably be starting on November 11th. Baku has about 3 million people too. I've never been there. I'm looking forward to it. And what I'm looking forward to is the best and star countries who are parties to this treaty will already have worked out their new and more ambitious climate plan, and maybe a lot of them will be willing to talk about elements of that plan to instigate and kind of force other countries to be even bolder. Because people need to see other people in person. That's why COPs are held mostly in person, because countries have a hard time looking a person in the eye from another country and telling them no, they will not be helping out the rest of the world. Who are all signers to this treaty. Everyone needs to put their best effort forward.


Jo Olson: [01:01:15] Thank you, J., and thanks for taking that that last minute question. I realized we can't close this webinar without talking about what's next. So thanks everyone for joining us. Look for an email from me. It will have all sorts of links to the recordings, additional resources. And then also it will have J. 's email for anyone who wants to reach out to her about booking an event. And with that, I'm going to close the webinar. And thanks again to Steve Marino, our colleague, for getting through our technical issues this morning. It was, uh, I guess a caffeine shot pretty early in the morning. So thanks everyone. Have a great day.


J. Drake Hamilton: [01:01:49] Thank you.


Jo Olson: [01:01:51] Well, thank you for tuning in to the audio recording of our webinar, debriefing COP 28. You can stay up to date on Fresh Energy's work at or follow us on social media. Thank you to everyone for listening and subscribing to our podcast. You can support Fresh Energy's work by making a donation today. Head over to our website, and click donate in the upper right corner. And now our new closing theme music credit to Palm Psalm. Thank you for tuning in.