Leaders from around the world are gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt for COP27 (6-18 November 2022).
We know the conference will receive a lot of exposure and we want to be a useful source of information, cutting through the coverage and signposting the best resources.
Seismic is sharing regular round-ups of concise updates and useful news links throughout the conference. We hope you find this resource useful.
What should we expect from COP27?
Referred to as the ‘implementation COP’, COP27 aims to make progress on transforming pledges into action on the ground, as well as strengthening commitments to tackle the climate crisis.
We’ve refined the main points of discussion below, but you can find out all about the goals and objectives of the conference here: https://cop27.eg/#/vision#goals
COP27 has three main topics that will lead the discussions. These are:
- Reducing emissions
- Helping countries to prepare for and deal with climate change
- Securing technical support and funding for developing countries for the above
Additionally, there are some areas that were not fully resolved or covered at COP26 and will be carried over to this year. These are:
- Loss and damage finance
- Establishment of a global carbon market
- Strengthening the commitments to reduce coal use
What’s happened so far?
10th and 11th November
Wednesday 10th saw discussions of science and our future generations.
Leading global experts from the natural and social sciences today presented ten essential insights on climate change since 2021.
The report showed a key focus on the limits of humankind to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change, which include ever more frequent and severe drought, storms and floods.
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell said, ‘science provides the evidence and data on the impacts of climate change, but it also gives us the tools and knowledge as how we need to address it.’
He continues, ‘we are now clearly in the era of implementation, and that means action. But none of this can happen without data, without evidence to inform decisions, or the science that supports programs and policies.’
The UNFCCC’s official youth constituency shared a ‘Global Youth Statement’, which was contributed to by young people from 149 nations of the 193 participating in climate diplomacy through the UN.
Contributed to by young people from 149 nations, the statement outlines three major principles to deliver on the pledges outlined in the Paris agreement.
The High Level Expert Group on Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities has outlined a new set of key recommendations
These recommendations have been created to help entities develop and deliver net-zero targets in a way that negates cases of greenwash.
The timing of the report doesn’t just coincide with COP27, but also at a time when cases of corporate greenwash are rife. One in every five cases of corporate risk incidents linked to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues stems from greenwashing and misleading communications, new research has found.
The new report aims to build on the Race to Zero and Science Based Targets initiative by providing corporates and investors with time-based frameworks to deliver net-zero, based on short, medium and long-term targets.
The recommendations aim to crackdown on greenwashing and ‘weak’ net-zero pledges that the Group warns could undermine efforts to deliver the ambitions of the Paris Agreement by reducing emissions in line with 1.5C.
ISO to launch new Net-Zero Guidelines
Further to the crackdown on greenwashing, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the renowned platform for standards across a range of sectors, is at COP27 today to launch a new set of guidelines around net-zero targets.
These new guidelines aim to offer all organisations a route to net-zero based on their pledges, and is tailored to avert any issues of greenwash.
Spotlight shone on attendees from fossil fuel firms
Global Witness teamed up with Corporate Accountability and Corporate Europe Observatory to analyse the UN’s provisional list of COP27 attendees and published the results, stating that at least 636 people classed as fossil fuel lobbyists will be attending the conference in full or in part.
Compared with last year, the organisations believe there has been a 25% increase in the number of individuals with fossil fuel interests represented at the COP.
November 11th is Decarbonisation Day, promoting discussion on how heavily polluting industries such as oil and gas extraction, and construction, can reduce their emissions using innovative techniques.
A new Asia Clean Energy Coalition (ACEC) has been launched with companies including Amazon, Apple, Meta and Nike among the founding members.
The Climate Group, the Global Wind Energy Council and the World Resources Institute are jointly running the coalition, the aim of which is to drive better alignment between energy buyers, project developers, financiers and policymakers, to accelerate the energy transition.
The annual global carbon budget report has been published
Based on research from more than 100 scientists, it provides an annual stocktake of both carbon emissions and carbon sinks. The 2022 report warns that the window to limit global average temperatures increases to 1.5C as envisioned under the Paris Agreement is closing rapidly.
The results show that if current emission levels persist, there is a 50% chance that 1.5C will be breached within the next nine years.
8th and 9th November
Finance has dominated the conversation so far, with the long-debated issue of loss and damage emerging and the needed finance for developing countries to deal with the devastating effects of climate change.
Scotland has offered $5.7 million in compensation funds to vulnerable nations
For 30 years, developing nations have been calling for compensation from industrialised countries for the cost of devastating storms and droughts caused by climate change. During COP26, only Scotland committed funds for “loss and damage”, offering $2.2 million.
On Tuesday, the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, pledged an additional $5.7 million, following negotiators from developing countries’ success in placing the issue of loss and damage on the formal agenda for the conference, for the first time.
The UK has also said it would allow some debt payment deferrals, while Austria and New Zealand put forward funding for loss and damage.
British PM Rishi Sunak has said that the war in Ukraine is a reason to act faster to tackle climate change
Stating that ‘climate and energy security go hand-in-hand’, Sunak has pressed that ‘Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine and rising energy prices across the world are not a reason to go slow on climate change. They are a reason to act faster’.
Leaders have urged rich countries to keep on track to stop climate change, despite the war in Ukraine and the resulting global financial problems.
The family of the jailed British-Egyptian hunger striker Alaa Abd el-Fattah have voiced fears of force-feeding in Egyptian prison
The British PM has expressed ‘the UK government’s deep concern’ about Abd el-Fattah’s case, and Seif, Abd el-Fattah’s sister, has told a press conference at COP27 that ‘this has to end’. The discussion has been thrust into the limelight of the COP27 discussions as Egypt hosts the conference.
Tuvalu has become the first country to use United Nations climate talks to demand an international fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty
Tuvalu is the first to demand this treaty, which would phase out the use of coal, oil and gas. The small Pacific islands, a nation acutely vulnerable to sea level rises caused by global heating, has also called for an agreement to end the burning of fossil fuels.
Climate activists have welcomed the move but condemned large polluters, such as the US and China, for ensuring that fossil fuels have largely been shielded by previous iterations of the Climate talks.
US climate envoy, John Kerry, announced global carbon credit trading initiative
John Kerry has said this initiative would be ‘critical’ in helping developing countries transition to cleaner forms of energy. Kerry said the new scheme, called the Energy Transition Accelerator and launched in conjunction with the Rockefeller Foundation and Bezos Earth Fund, would generate funding through voluntary ‘high quality’ carbon credits.
While the details of the program are still limited, Kerry has highlighted the importance of mobilising private capital to help deliver trillions of dollars in investment to boost renewable energy in developing countries that often struggle to secure funding for such projects.
We’re two days in, and around 30,000 people have registered, with an estimated 40,000 expected to attend. Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th comprise the World Leaders Summit, crucial for world leaders to set out their priorities for the conference.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak widely criticised for initially declining COP27 invitation
Rishi Sunak has been widely criticised by environmental circles, including by COP26 President Alok Sharma, for initially declining an invitation to COP27.
Sunak has stated that it was important to prioritise domestic policy-making to steady the UK economy, but Green Groups are urging Sunak to ensure that he does not attend merely for the sake of appearances, but rather to make sure that the UK shows genuine leadership and pushes for an ambitious treaty.
The UN chief has said the world is on the ‘highway to climate hell’
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told delegates on Monday that the world is on the ‘highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.’
He has described Climate Change as the ‘defining issue of our age’, calling for a ‘historic pact’ to be formed between developed and emerging economies, in which all countries make an ‘extra’ effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree warming goal.
Former UK PM Boris Johnson called on world leaders to resist going weak on net zero commitments
Many countries, like the UK, have set targets for reaching net zero by 2050, but there are doubts over whether that will happen based on current policies. Boris Johnson has urged emission commitments to be taken seriously in order to reach these targets.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he is committed to the £11.6bn international climate fund that was pledged by the government last year
Further to his initial criticism amidst his U-turn decision to attend the conference, Sunak has stated that the UK ‘remain committed’ to the international climate fund pledge, and have seen the benefits such international climate finance can bring to the countries around the world. He has said that the plan time-frame, originally set at five years, will depend on the project ‘being ready at the right time’.
What’s up next?
Global leaders will continue to announce their priorities for the conference, and we will enter the first themed days of discussion beginning on Wednesday 9th, focusing on the issue of finance.
We’ll keep you updated here!