COP27 is just around the corner. This year's summit hosted in Eygpt will see more than 90 heads of state, 55 corporate sponsors and 35,000 representatives expected to attend the event.
Following a year that has seen a wave of climate-related disasters, including record heatwaves in Europe, devastating wildfires in the US and extreme flooding in Pakistan, there is significant pressure on COP27 to move forward on the action against climate change.
At COP27, leaders will discuss how we move forward and what action can be taken. Here are a few things we expect to be talked about this year:
From Plan to Action
COP26, the outcome was clear. Commitment, stronger targets needed to be met, and success were evident. COP27 is harder to judge with some of the processes still in process; on some initiatives, it may look more like a mid-term report than an indicator of success.
Rania Al Mashat, Egypt's minister for international cooperation, has said that although it may not be as clear cut as COP26, it doesn't mean we will not see progress. "The key will be seeing a movement "from pledges to implementation… the practical policies and practices, the processes that can actually push the pledges [into action], to bridge that gap."
It should also be when technical discussions should take place—creating agreements on how countries should measure their emissions review of targets. Progress with more technical conversations should develop a plan for climate mitigation. If this is successful, we anticipate seeing a global stocktake of progress at COP28 in 2023.
The funding required to cut emissions and protect against the effects of climate change will be top of the agenda again. We anticipate this to be pushed after the continued failings of wealthier countries that have failed to meet their funding pledges from previous COPs to help developed countries.
There is currently a $13billion deficit of the $100billion promised from wealthier countries which were supposed to be delivered over three years ago. A new deal to support developing countries is likely to be pushed with a significant increase in funding to help scale up efforts globally. Estimates suggest that developing countries will need $300 billion annually by 2030.
The key will be to agree on specific financial pledges over trying to negotiate over known quantities. Questions around how much it costs to end reliance on coal, the cost to stop deforestation and the investment needed into renewable energies need analysis so that tangible commitments can be made that can make a difference.
COP27 has already been set to make Africa the centre of the conversation. It is something which needs to be a focus. Six of the V20 climate-vulnerable nations are in Africa, and others are facing enormous challenges, from drought to coastal flooding.
There is also a significant debate that could be expected regarding Africa. There is a substantial fossil fuel reserve in Africa which remains largely untapped. One question is, should fossil fuels be developed, which can lift millions out of poverty, or should they be skipped in favour of renewable energy?
When richer countries have benefitted from the development of fossil fuels, which has significant economic benefits, will there be the expectation for Africa to be able to do the same before developing renewable energy?
While COP should focus on climate action, it is difficult to separate the geopolitics. This year looks to be more intense, mainly as Russia's war on Ukraine has seen countries prioritise energy security over reducing admissions. The impact could be seen to derail climate negotiations. However, it could also be a reason to drive them forward.
"There are lots of global crises that have the attention of leaders," says Redmond-King. "But it's been very clear that all of these crises are interconnected with the climate crisis. The conversation about solutions overlaps heavily with climate solutions too.
"We see it most starkly with Europe's race to end reliance on Russian gas. It's very much speeding up the clean transition. Their plans probably now outstrip their targets under the Paris Agreement."
A lot is going on in the world; the climate crisis could be a key to overcoming multiple issues the world is currently facing.
We hope to see more commitment and action resulting from COP27 to help clean tech businesses drive forward and create a better future for us all.
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