COP27 series: Day one at the climate summit
Here is senior analyst Marcus Arcanjo’s summary of day one at COP27
It’s day one of talks at COP27, where policymakers, sustainability professionals, world leaders and countless others have gathered to work on meaningful progression for climate action around the world. One of our Senior analysts, Marcus Arcanjo, is on the ground at the climate summit, attending several insightful sessions held by the organisations there. This is his summary of day one of this historic event.
- COP27 and the state of climate action
- Things to look out for at COP27
- Keep up to date with climate finance at COP27
COP27 and the state of climate action
“We are on the highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator”.
These are the stark words of UN Secretary General António Guterres during the opening speeches of the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where he added that we must “co-operate or perish”. In the opening addresses, world leaders set a somber tone, with the host country, Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, adding that “the planet has become a world of suffering today.”
In recent weeks, many of the most influential global organisations published updated reports on the climate in the run-up to COP. UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report describes the progress since COP26 as ‘woefully inadequate’ and the last twelve months as a ‘wasted year’, adding that ‘there is no credible path to 1.5C’. This certainly appears to be the consensus among scientists. Analysis from the UK Met Office found that there is now a 50% chance that the world will break the 1.5C warming threshold over the next five years, despite this being the target to limit warming by 2100.
The UNFCCC’s latest synthesis report finds that emissions are expected to rise by 10% by 2030 compared to a 2010 baseline. If we are to meet our net zero goals, emissions need to fall by 45% by 2030. Yet, under current policies, we are on track for around 2.7C of warming.
With all eyes on Sharm el-Sheikh, the need for immediate, wide-reaching action has never been greater. Speaking to people at the conference, it is clear that the hopes for this COP are focused on implementation rather than more pledges; action instead of talking. Egypt has been spearheading this message in recent months, with the President reiterating it again today – “implementation, implementation, implementation”. Therefore, unlike previous COPs, new, ambitious pledges are less likely, with the focus instead on turning commitments into reality.
Things to look out for at COP27
From listening to opening statements as well as speaking to people on the ground in Egypt, there are clear themes emerging for this COP that will likely play out over the next two weeks:
Loss and damage
A key topic gaining traction is loss and damage. This typically refers to the cost of rebuilding from the impacts of climate change that are happening already and, more importantly, who pays. Many see this topic as a hangover from COP26, where the progress that had been hoped for was not made. Pakistan, still reeling from the devastating floods earlier this year, is leading the conversation, hoping for more focus and more finance for those nations that are responsible for comparatively smaller levels of emissions.
The first big win for loss and damage was its inclusion on the agenda as its own item. While this may seem minor, the fact that it will receive its own focus rather than be hidden under away under the umbrella of climate finance is a big win. Many of the most vulnerable countries in the world are calling for the establishment of a loss and damage facility which would see countries, weighted by emissions, contribute to a financial pot that can then be drawn upon when extreme weather events occur to help cover the cost. However, The US and EU oppose such a facility as they believe it could lead to seemingly endless compensation claims.
Adaptation will also be high up on the agenda, especially how to effectively finance it.
Mitigation often takes centre stage with emphasis regularly on modelling future emissions pathways and how best to limit future emissions. But extreme weather events are happening now that require enormous investments into adaptation measures immediately, typically in Small Island Developing States and developing countries that are the most vulnerability and have the least adaptive capacity. This imbalance is reflected in the climate finance data. Climate Policy Initiative calculate global climate finance in 2020 to be USD 632 billion. Mitigation accounts for USD 571 billion and adaptation just USD 46 billion.
Moreover, the private sector accounts for less than USD 1 billion of the adaptation funding. There are many events at COP addressing this topic, which we will bring insights to you from after finance day – Wednesday November 9th.
Other key topics
Other key topics include:
- Africa: As the host of the conference there will undoubtably be a lot of attention on the continent. African nations face broad climate change vulnerabilities combined with the often-limited capacity to adapt. COP27 is an opportunity to talk about this while we have the world’s attention;
- Indigenous groups: Ensuring those on the frontlines of climate change with the most local knowledge have their voices heard during the negotiations;
- Carbon markets: if and how countries will use them to help achieve their climate goals and establishing the rules for how they will work.
Keep up to date with climate finance at COP27
If you’re interested in following Marcus’ on-the-ground reporting of climate finance at COP27, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, where we will be posting these articles for your perusal. Click the links below to follow us:
Also, head to our insightful list of climate finance events happening at and during COP27.
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