Geopolitics – not just summits – will shape the transition to clean energy.

In the waning days of 2023, likely the warmest year the earth has experienced in recorded history, nearly 100,000 people came together in the United Arab Emirates – one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers – to reach a consensus on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The final agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, also known as COP28, was hailed for calling for a transition away from fossil fuels. “Whilst we didn’t turn the page on the fossil fuel era in Dubai, this outcome is the beginning of the end,” proclaimed the UN climate chief, Simon Stiell, after the agreement was announced.

2024 is the “ultimate election year,” with more voters than ever heading to the polls in a record 64 countries representing half of the global population. Under this year’s theme of “Rebuilding Trust,” the agenda prioritized the opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence; conflict and geopolitical threats from war in the Middle East and disruptions in the Red Sea, and recent elections in Taiwan; and the outlook for the global economy in the face of risks to it from rising Great Power tensions and upcoming elections. The last topic was of particular interest throughout conversations this year, with half the world’s population voting in elections in 2024 and right-wing parties gaining support in many countries.

/The Center on Global Energy Policy/