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Koch Weighs In on the Location of the UN’s 2024 Climate Summit in NY Times Article

January 17, 2024

The New York Times

Natalie Koch

Natalie Koch

For the second year in a row, the United Nations climate summit known as COP will take place in a petrostate. COP29 will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, and there is a poignant historical resonance: By some measures, Azerbaijan is where the modern oil industry began. In the 19th century, Azerbaijan was the site of multiple innovations that gave rise to the modern oil industry, including one of the first mechanically drilled oil wells and the first oil tanker.

The summit may highlight Europe’s continued dependence on oil and gas, even as the region strives to be the global leader in climate policy, argues Natalie Koch, professor of geography and the environment. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Azerbaijan’s gas exports to Europe gained importance.

And while there is an unavoidable conflict in a petrostate hosting a climate summit, it may also be fitting: The country that was home to the oil industry’s beginnings may also host negotiations that could one day bring the petroleum era to an end. “It is possible to frame it as something of a closure,” Koch says.

Read more in the New York Times article, “Tackling Climate Change in the Birthplace of Oil.”

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