International Climate Efforts

The United Nations annual climate change conference—officially known as the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”), or COP27 for short—held in Sharm el Sheik, Egypt, finally concluded early Sunday morning. COP27 was held amidst the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine and its consequent economic turmoil, as well as increasingly tumultuous global weather events over the past year. Against this challenging backdrop, COP27 was never going to be straightforward. But difficulties were compounded by divisions between the developing and developed worlds over the priorities that should form the focus of the Summit, most clearly manifested in tensions over the issue of “loss and damage.” Although COP27 will be viewed as historic for its creation of a fund to compensate countries most impacted by climate change, there were also lost opportunities to adopt more ambitious and accelerated climate mitigation commitments that will be needed given the dire scientific warnings about the rapid impact of climate change on the planet.
Continue Reading COP27: A Flawed Though StillConsequential Climate Summit

Negotiations over the text of the final Declaration appear to have not progressed significantly since yesterday. The issues holding up progress now are the same issues that had been identified at the outset as key: loss and damage; mitigation gaps (weak NDCs); the $100 billion in climate finance promised to developing countries from 2020; and the doubling of the proportion of the $100 billion going to adaptation projects. The dual Egyptian Foreign Minister and COP President called on delegates to find solutions—though normally the responsibility for moving text forward lies with the host country.  

Continue Reading Highlights from Cop 27: Solutions Day

COP 27 was electrified yesterday by the speech of President-elect Lula of Brazil. Promising to reverse the deforestation of the Amazon and commenting that Brazil is already a global agricultural giant without the need to clear any more rainforest, he called on wealthy nations to make good on their COP 15 pledge to set aside $100 billion per year for adaptation and demanded additional funding for loss and damage, noting that the countries least responsible for climate change were those currently suffering from it the most. He also underlined the importance of international partnerships, including the recent agreement between Brazil, Indonesia, and the Congo to work together on conservation.

Continue Reading Highlights from COP 27: Biodiversity Day

On November 15th, all eyes were on the G20 Summit where news that the meeting between Presidents Biden and Xi had been broadly positive–including instructions for officials to re-engage on climate change–along with the announcement of funding to help Indonesia move away from reliance on coal-fired energy, served as a welcome boost to the mood in Sharm.

Continue Reading Highlights from COP 27: Energy Day

COP27 was never going to be a ‘Big COP’ in the way that COP26 in Glasgow was.  It was not originally designed to be one of the five-year ratchet reviews of NDCs set out by the 2015 the Paris Agreement and there were no major new climate change texts due to be negotiated.  Sharm’s value is likely to be assessed, at least in part, on whether it effectively tees up important items for next year, including:

  • the Global Stocktake (the technical dialogue will conclude in June next year, and the political phase at COP28);
  • the Global Goal on Adaptation, due to conclude next year;
  • the New Collective Quantified Goal on climate finance, due to conclude in 2024; and
  • the increasingly important future discussions on loss and damage. 

However, COP27 remains an important waypoint – not least in how successful it eventually is in avoiding acrimonious debate and significant tensions over loss and damage.

Continue Reading COP 27: Week One Summary

Today, water and gender day, kicked off the second week of COP 27 after a rest day on Sunday.

Normally technical negotiators would hand over negotiations to ministers after the COP weekend to focus on political issues in the second week. However, at this COP, the Egyptian presidency is apparently not planning to bring ministers into negotiations until Wednesday. That would leave very little time to agree on the final texts before the end of COP.

Continue Reading Highlights from COP 27: Water and Gender Day

The day started with the gloomy release of the Global Carbon Project Report which concluded that 2022 was the highest ever emitting year, with increased coal use in India and increased airline use in the U.S. as the main culprits. UN projections are that global emissions must peak by 2025 and halve by 2030 if the world is to meet the 1.5 degree ambition agreed at the Paris COP in 2015 (emissions in 2022 are more than 5% higher than in 2015).

Continue Reading Highlights from COP 27: Decarbonization Day

After the opening two days of COP27 – which were focused on the High Level Segment (HLS) dedicated to Heads of State and Government – today, November 9, was the first day of the ‘main COP’ with the opening of negotiations on official texts and agreements. Reports are that the opening phases of the talks are positive. Appropriately, given tensions earlier this week over financing for loss and damage, today was billed as Finance Day.

Continue Reading Highlights from COP 27: Finance Day  

Yesterday, November 8th, was the second day of the ‘High Level Segment for Heads of State and Government’ with a focus on their speeches and declarations. The real business of COP will begin in earnest today when most of the senior politicians have departed.

Financing for Climate Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries

Climate loss and damage is quickly emerging as the key point of contention at this COP and foreshadows a more tense meeting than last year’s in Glasgow. This issue has been moving up the agenda and recent extreme climate events have increased the perceived urgency around this topic, particularly for vulnerable countries.

Continue Reading Highlights from COP 27: Financing Takes Center Stage