This paper is taken from the website of the World Economic Forum (WEF) (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/11/what-happened-cop27-climate-change-what-is-next/), as part of the WEF Report on the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 (https://www.weforum.org/events/united-nations-climate-change-conference-cop27-2022)
COP27 was dubbed the Africa COP and COP implementation. It provides an opportunity to structure important issues for the continent and an opportunity to turn words, composed at COP26, into action. Faced with a global food and energy crisis, rising extreme weather events, and record concentrations of greenhouse gases, COP27 is an important milestone to instill new solidarity between countries and realize the important Paris Agreement.
The World Economic Forum hosts more than 50 interactive sessions, bringing together more than 800 leaders from different sectors, generations and countries. These sessions encourage multi-stakeholder action across areas such as increasing climate ambition, financing the Net-Zero transition, accelerating industrial decarbonization, water security, adaptation financing, marine innovation and more.
Was COP27 a success?
COP27 does not advance commitments or show evidence of significant action by countries to further reduce global emissions. Every year and every COP is critical to achieving this key goal – and without it, the world would not limit global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. By this measure, COP27 is a missed opportunity and has the potential to be a step backwards.
On the other hand, as the ‘African COP’, issues of great importance to emerging economies, including climate adaptation and losses and damages are brought to the fore, rebalancing negotiations and restoring trust between the parties. A breakthrough deal to provide a loss and damage fund to vulnerable countries affected by climate disasters is seen as a success, although the details of the funds still need to be refined.
What does COP27 achieve?
As you tackle climate issues every day, you walk out of every conference with the feeling that more can be achieved. Although we did not leave COP27 with such feelings, there are many positives that make us optimistic for the future.
Along with the agreement reached on losses and damages, it is also encouraging to watch China and the US reopen their conversations on tackling climate change, and see adaptation dialogue begin to increase resilience for the 4 billion people living in the most vulnerable communities to climate by 2030.
Innovative financial models that are largely untapped (enabled by the COP negotiations, which make money avoid or reduce emissions through carbon markets) are leveraged by African countries, which announce carbon market partnerships. Under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, countries can work together to raise money for much-needed decarbonization and adaptation projects, through carbon credit trading in regional or international markets.
Then, at the G20, which ran alongside COP27, the Equitable Indonesia Energy Transition Partnership was launched to help finance the energy transition. This is important because coal accounts for three-quarters of the electricity sector’s CO2 emissions and coal needs to be removed almost six times faster than over the past five years to align the electricity sector with a global average below 1.5 degrees Celsius. temperature rise.
Private sector enhances its role
We also see the private sector taking a leading role at COP27, particularly in the areas of climate ambition, low-carbon technology and climate adaptation. It is recognized that the adaptation market could be worth $2 trillion per year by 2026, with developing countries benefiting from most of this. Leaders at COP27 are also committed to keeping work towards 1.5 degrees Celsius.
What is encouraging is the increase in members of the First Movers Coalition, from 25 at the time of formation at COP26 to 65 members, which includes companies and governments. The coalition sends a $12 billion market signal to advance critical, low-carbon future technologies to decarbonize the cement and concrete industries.
More than 100 CEOs and senior executives of large multinational corporations, all members of the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, signed an open letter to leaders at COP27 committed to working side by side with governments to deliver bold climate action and encourage all businesses to accelerate the Net Zero transition by setting science-based targets, disclosing emissions and catalyzing decarbonization and partnerships across global value chains.
In addition, major agricultural trade and processing companies launched the Agricultural Sector Roadmap, which moves the industry towards science-based, transparent and traceable actions to prevent and reverse deforestation. And, 26 countries signed a global MOU that 100% of new truck and bus sales will be zero emissions by 2040.
Beyond COP27 Leaders On The Road Ahead
We also heard some very encouraging thoughts on one of the closing panels of Beyond COP27 Leaders On The Road Ahead. From a national perspective, James Mnyupe, the President’s Economic Adviser to the Office of the President of Namibia, said he was pleased to have “mobilized approximately $63 million in grants to run various projects in Namibia, which will help us mobilize concession financing.” He added: “And we are also mobilizing around €500 million of framework loans, which will also be available to us on very lenient terms.”
Speaking on behalf of the business, Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ingka Group (IKEA Retail), said he came to COP27 full of optimism for the commercial sector in particular: “I want to call companies here that are not waiting for legislation or promises, but are aware with their own ethical and moral motivations and understand that sustainability and climate are not about making sacrifices. It may be about making an upfront investment and taking some leaps of faith, but it’s really about being a winner in the economy,” he said.
Anish Shah, Managing Director and CEO of Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group, added that it is time for businesses to: “Make it a personal matter and ask what impact will it have on the society we live in? What is the impact on my company and me as individuals, and not only in terms of threats, but also in terms of opportunities?”
Janet Ranganathan, WRI’s Managing Director of Strategy, Learning and Results, added that every individual on the planet also has a role: “We need citizens to hold countries accountable to see policies implemented. and money is mobilized, otherwise it’s all in vain,” he said.
Youth raise their voices
One group of people whose voices are definitely heard at COP27 is future generations, whose planet that will be inherited from the present generation is at stake. Pato Kelesitse, Global Shaper at Gaborone Hub and Founder of Sustain 267, said: “When we use our money as young people, we need to know that whatever we give is what we choose. Whatever we give our money is what we demand. So, when businesses come to COP27 they need to know that if you’re not going to bring us closer to 1.5 then you’re not going to get our money.”
Looking forward to COP28
For companies that have not fully embraced ambitious climate action, this message from youth, civil society and businesses at the forefront of the COP27 agenda is clear: the private sector has a unique role to play to provide capital and solutions to meet our global climate goals. With the results of the Global Inventory Process published at COP28 and the UN setting out its recommendations for reliable climate action from non-state actors, 2023 is about countries and companies demonstrating how they are meeting their climate commitments, while the pressure is still on boosting ambitions.
The Annual Meeting in Davos will be an important milestone to continue the progress made at COP27 and embark on the Road to COP28. More than 2,500 leaders from government, business and civil society around the world will gather in the Swiss city from January 16-20, 2023 to focus on the theme ‘Working Together in a Fragmented World’. Find out more here