COP27: Did it do enough?

Posted on 22 November 2022

​The summit intended to focus on action, with COP27 being about the delivery of the 1.5-degree pledge, a consistent demand for the phase-down of fossil fuels and for compensation for counties already suffering from the effects of climate change. Did the negotiations go far enough to make a difference?

Historical moment

COP 27 negotiations reached a funding agreement to help counties that have suffered loss and damage due to climate change. While funding has been available for those looking to cut their carbon emissions until recently, the acknowledgement that funding needs to be accessible to those affected counties is a huge step forward.

However, the agreement did not include details of how the funding would work or be accessed. The question of whether the funding will be enough is still being determined. The damage to Pakistan from the flooding is an estimated $30bn. With contributions from the EU being €60 million, can there be enough help for those countries which need it?

One positive to consider is that this is a declaration of solidary and understanding. More so than the funding, acknowledging and accepting that those who have contributed to climate change significantly need to help fix those countries' suffering is a huge step forward. Rebuilding trust and solidarity show that collective effort is required regarding climate change.

No commitment to phase-down fossil fuels

The agreement to phase-down fossil fuels was not included in the final COP27 agreement. Not committing to reducing fossil fuel usage overall is a massive blow to many calling for this to be included. It has left some wondering about the value of these summits if, after 27 of them, reducing fossil fuels is still not at the centre of any agreement thus far. This is a concern as some notable faces were not present this year after it was revealed that COP27 had more fossil fuel lobbyists attend than ever before.

New language that refers to "low emission energy" has led to some experts saying that it could create a loophole for some fossil fuels to be considered a part of green energy in the future. While there has been a line held, there were continued attempts from petrol states to roll back on the agreement to enable them to make the most of oil reserves to help their economies the way western countries did. Without a harder line on fossil fuels, if the reluctance to phase down fossil fuels is yet to be agreed upon, can the 1.5 pledge still be met?

1.5 pledge commitment is there in spirit but not in writing

Many tried to demand and bring more attention to securing the 1.5 pledge. EU and developing counties had their world leaders calling for more to be done. Wealthier countries such as the US and UK have grown their trust in developing world leaders who continue to show solidarity and commitment to the pledge. This is a crucial marker for China, which seem less concerned.

Alok Sharma used the closing session to speak about their disappointment with the agreement and what this could mean for the planet. "Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 degrees was weak. Unfortunately, it remains on life support."

"Emissions peaking before 2025, as the science tells us is necessary. Not in this text.

"Clear follow-through on the phase-down of coal. Not in this text.

"A clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels. Not in this text," he said in his speech.

"And all of us need to look ourselves in the mirror and consider if we have fully risen to that challenge over the past two weeks,"

Bridging the gap

While Alok Sharma's sentiments are shared with other global leaders, there now needs more focus on real solutions to help mitigate climate change. COP27 saw more evidence of how clean tech and climate tech can make a difference, with green hydrogen having more focus in conversations when discussing renewable energy options.

While there is still work to be done with agreements needed between nations, the clean tech and climate tech industry will continue to find new ways to help solve the issue of climate change. More funding is being set up for developing counties to help grow current climate tech opportunities, and we will likely continue to see financing within the cleantech space worldwide. The action which may have been missing from COP27 can still be seen through the companies finding practical solutions to climate change.

If you are looking for purpose-driven talent to help you make a difference to climate change, get in touch.

Share this article