The Ethical Investor: COP 27 starts this week. Here’s what to expect from the world’s biggest climate event
From 6 to 18 November, Heads of State, ministers, along with climate activists, mayors, and CEOs will meet in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh for the largest annual gathering on climate action, COP 27.
The event will build on the outcomes of COP26 held in Glasgow last year to deliver action on an array of issues critical to tackling the climate emergency.
At COP 26, 153 countries put forward new or updated emissions targets known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which cover around 80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
As part of the Glasgow Climate Pact signed at the conclusion of COP 26, all countries also agreed to revisit and strengthen their current emissions targets to 2030 in 2022.
This commitment builds on the historic Paris Agreement signed in 2015, where countries agreed on keeping global warming below 2 Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and preferably even limiting warming to an increase of just 1.5 Celsius.
At this moment, we are not on track to meet the Paris goal.
Even if all countries manage to reduce their national emissions to the levels they have pledged, by the end of the decade, the world is expected to miss the Paris Agreement’s target.
“We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive. But, its pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action,” COP 26 president Alok Sharma said last year.
Sharma said the world needs urgent action in phasing down coal power, halting and reversing deforestation, speeding up the switch to electric vehicles, and reducing methane emissions.
Action is also needed by wealthier nations to support poorer countries to adapt to climate change.
“That many wealthier nations are also pledging money to support countries to adapt to climate change, as well as reduce their emissions, is a sign of real progress, tackling both sides of the climate crisis,” said Clare Shakya, director of Climate, International Institute for Environment and Development.
These are the main issues to be discussed at the COP 27 event.
According to the Presidential vision statement, COP27 will be about moving from negotiations and “planning for implementation” phase, to action.
The event will also see negotiations regarding some points that remained inconclusive after Glasgow.
At COP 27, countries are expected to show how they are planning to implement the Glasgow pact call to review their climate plans and create a work programme related to mitigation.
This could involve presenting more ambitious 2030 emissions targets.
All these discussions will pave the way for the first Global Stocktake at COP28 in 2023 in the UAE, which will assess the global collective progress on mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation of the Paris Agreement.
In 2009, wealthy nations promised to provide $100 billion a year to developing nations by 2020 to tackle climate change.
This has not been delivered, with OECD calculations showing the total about $17 billion short, with most countries also providing loans instead of grants.
The Glasgow Climate Pact has urged parties to act and increase financing levels substantially beyond 2025.
The Egyptian Presidency of COP 27 has said that he aims to follow up on this and other commitments and pledges made in previous COPs.
The issues here include “loss and damage” compensation.
Because “natural disasters” are being caused by the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from rich industrialised countries, developing countries have argued that they should receive compensation.
African countries, contributing less than 4% of current global emissions, hope that COP 27 will tackle climate injustice.
Advocates of compensation have called for a formal financing system to collect and distribute funds.
Denmark meanwhile has became the first country to announce that it will give $13 million to developing countries that have suffered damage due to climate change.
Methane is a powerful but short-lived climate pollutant that accounts for about half of the net rise in global average temperature since the pre-industrial era.
Rapidly reducing methane emissions from energy, agriculture, and waste can achieve near-term gains, and is regarded as the single most effective strategy to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5˚C within reach.
Participants joining this Pledge agree to take voluntary actions to contribute to a collective effort to reduce global methane emissions at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, which could eliminate over 0.2˚C warming by 2050.
With over 100 countries on board, representing nearly 50% of global methane emissions and over two thirds of global GDP, the Methane Pledge is expected to prevent more than 8 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from reaching the atmosphere annually by 2030.
At the moment, Australia’s share of the greenhouse carbon (GHC) is 1.45% of the world’s emissions.
Our commitment made at the Paris Agreement in 2015 was 26% to 28% reduction in emissions by 2030 on 2005 levels.
This will be mainly implemented through the Emissions Reduction Fund and a range of other policies currently under development. The government is also considering a potential long term emissions reduction goal.
PM Albanese has already said he won’t be attending COP 27, sending his Energy Minister Chris Bowen instead.
At the COP 27, pressure will be on Australia to finally sign the Global Methane Pledge and other important deals that it avoided under the Morrison Government.
Australia also wants to co-host the COP event in 2024 with Pacific Island nations, but it needs to have the blessings from east European countries for the right to host the talks.
Meanwhile, ASX-listed company Papyrus Australia (ASX:PPY) has been extended an invitation to COP 27.
Founded by Ramy Azer and operating in Egypt, Papyrus converts banana plantation waste into liquid organic fertiliser, banana fibre pulp and food packaging products.
The company has recently penned a contract to sell its banana fibre moulding line equipment and a moulded banana fibre product to the Egyptian government.