COP27 update: 24 Hours to Save the Planet

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Following the relative disappointment of COP26, it was expected that the overriding theme of this year’s COP27 would be implementation.  With emissions continuing to rise, financial commitments not being met and a widening rift between developed and developing nations over climate-related loss and damage, a successful COP27 is seen as crucial to maintaining hopes of keeping the world on track to face the worst of the climate crisis.  The conference ends this Friday 18th of November.  NordSIP will report on the final COP27 declaration, but how has progress been so far in this second week?

    24 hours to save the draft agreement

    As of Thursday 17th November, there remains much work and negotiation to be done to produce a joint COP27 declaration that would satisfy climate campaigners and the most affected developing nations.  There is little or no enthusiasm among the latter so far for the draft in its current form.  The most glaring omission is a call to “phase down” all fossil fuels, not just coal.  It is encouraging to see that India, the US and the EU are pushing for this wording to be included.  If successful, it would make it much harder for gas to be labelled as a “clean” or “green” energy source alongside renewables.  The draft is still very vague regarding “loss and damage”, with no concrete proposal for the establishment of a dedicated fund.

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    Speaking on Thursday 17th November, Yeb Saño, Greenpeace International’s COP27 Head of Delegation is damning in his assessment of the current draft: “we came to Sharm el-Sheikh to demand real action on meeting and exceeding climate finance and adaptation commitments, a phase out of all fossil fuels and for rich countries to pay for the loss and damage done to the most vulnerable communities within developing countries by agreeing a Loss and Damage Finance Fund.  None of that is on offer in this draft.  Climate Justice will not be served if this sets the bar for a COP27 outcome.”

    The time has come to pay up

    Money is at the heart of much of the COP27 agenda, given the enormous funding gap and prior commitments and targets that have often not been met.  There have been some positive moves, with the US government joining forced with the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Bezos Earth Fund to launch an Energy Transition Accelerator.  The plan is for the initiative to operate until 2030, with a possible further 5-year extension.  It will aim to drive private investment into energy transition strategies that will facilitate the deployment of renewable energy and the retirement of fossil fuel assets in developing countries.

    The UK government announced various new pockets of environmental financing, including GBP 65.5 million for green tech innovation and clean energy investments with Kenya and Egypt as well as a new Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership incorporating GBP 150 million for protecting rainforests and natural habitats, including the Congo Basin and Amazon.  The UK government also committed to tripling its funding for climate adaptation to reach GBP 1.5 billion by 2025.  Although welcome, these amounts are overshadowed by the UK’s existing climate finance commitments, all of which will have to be fully funded.

    Loss and damage compensation and adaptation measures

    The highly controversial issue of “loss and damage” has only been partially addressed, with new funding promised so far by Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Scotland and New Zealand.  With even the 1.5 degree warming target expected to be accompanied by more extreme climatic events, delegates at COP27 have also taken steps towards global adaptation measures.  The UN-supported Early Warning for All Action Plan was broadly welcomed and supported.  It will involve more than USD 3 billion worth of investments between 2023 and 2027 aimed at ensuring that the whole global population is protected by potentially life-saving early warning systems.  The potential return on such investments is huge, with the Global Commission on Adaptation estimating that spending just USD 800 million on such systems in developing countries would avoid losses of USD 3 to 16 billion per year.

    Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay (edited)
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