The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, or COP27, concluded last weekend. Held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the conference built on the previous COP26 and brought countries together to act towards achieving the world’s collective climate goals as agreed upon under the Paris Agreement and the Convention.
These are the key takeaways from COP27:
- On loss and damage: Last-minute negotiations made a breakthrough to secure a hard-fought deal for a loss and damage fund to provide financial assistance to developing countries suffering from the effects of climate change. For nearly two weeks, the EU and the US rejected the setting up of a new fund to address loss and damage, instead insisting that existing funds should be redirected for the purpose. Eventually they gave if certain conditions were met:
- The EU demanded to ensure big economies and emitters still classed as developing countries should be included as potential donors and excluded as recipients.
- The US emphasised the need for the vulnerable to be prioritised, and to open the door to voluntary contributions from countries still classed as developing.
- On 1.5 C: Last year’s COP called on countries to intensify their national emission targets by COP27, but only a handful have done so. Nearly 200 countries reaffirmed their commitment to keeping global temperature rises to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels. Yet, lack of ambition was pointed out when:
- Some nations did not want to explicitly mention the target in the conference’s final agreement (unsuccessful).
- Some countries tried to abandon the 1.5C goal and abolish the requirement to strengthen commitments every year (unsuccessful).
- The COP26-agreed resolution to cause emissions to peak by 2025 was taken out.
- On fossil fuels: Despite pressure from various countries to broaden the language to pave the path to phase down “all fossil fuels”, the agreement’s wording remained unchanged from last year: “accelerating efforts toward the phase down of unabated coal power and phase out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”
Besides the intense negotiations that occurred in the Blue Zone, many side events were held and key collaborations, partnerships and linkages were developed in the larger realms of the Conference.
We’ve summarised some highlights below:
- Launch of the “Global Shield”, supported by G7, to address loss and damage - Germany will provide €170 million ($172 million) to a “Global Shield” insurance initiative that helps low-income and vulnerable countries to rebound in the event of climate calamities. The fund allows communities to access aid quickly and recover when an extreme weather event like flooding strikes.
- Endorsement of a new Climate Finance Roadmap - experts agree on a novel framework to mobilise $1 trillion in annual external finance required by emerging markets and developing countries—excluding China. The roadmap draws on the findings of a recently released report, Finance for climate action: Scaling up investment for climate and development, by the Independent High-Level Expert Group on Climate Finance.
- Launch of the “Climate Finance +” initiative - U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and USAID are collaborating to accelerate the use of innovative finance mechanisms to leverage billions in new public and private investment in low and lower-middle income countries. Climate Finance + will support potential green bonds and other climate-related financing through MCC technical assistance in Indonesia, Mozambique, and Zambia and USAID support for the development of green bonds in at least five additional countries via public-private partnerships.
- Launch of Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation (FAST) initiative by the Egypt COP27 Presidency and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - Key priorities of the initiative are access to finance, knowledge and capacity, and policy support and dialogue - ultimately with the aim to increase the resilience of food and agriculture sectors, especially in the world’s most vulnerable communities.
- Launch of the Initiative on Climate Action & Nutrition, or iCAN - in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), this looks at building a multistakeholder and multisectoral initiative to help foster collaboration, and accelerate action on building affordable, healthy, sustainable and climate-resilient diets.
- Launch of Climate Responses for Sustaining Peace (CRSP) - With the support of the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA), and in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Union (AU), the initiative is the first of its kind to deal with the relationship between climate change and peace. Amongst its goals are to strengthen the relationship between climate change adaptation and peacebuilding, and sustain peace through climate-resilient food systems.
- Launch of Net Zero Guidelines by the International Standards Organization (ISO) - Aimed at establishing common references and clear pathways to net zero and counter accusations of vague sustainability targets to greenwashing.
- International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) reaffirms commitment to a net zero world by 2050 - ICC launched a report at COP27 that seeks to provide a roadmap for policymakers to enhance real-world functioning of market-based climate policies towards the goal of accelerating emissions reductions and boosting energy security.
- Net-Zero Government Initiative launched by the US - Getting governments to lead by example and achieve net-zero emissions from national government operations by no later than 2050. 19 countries that have since committed to the target.