The 27th United Nations climate change conference (COP27) kicked off on November 7 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Attended by more than 90 heads of state and representatives of 190 countries, the climate summit offers a platform to accelerate global climate action through emissions reduction, scaled-up adaptation efforts and enhanced flows of appropriate finance. Here’s a brief recap of everything that happened during COP27 week 1.
Monday, November 7: World Leaders Summit
- UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ Speech: During the opening of the climate summit on Monday, UN Secretary-General Guterres told world leaders that the Earth is on “a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator. […] We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing.” He added that the Earth is fast approaching tipping points that “will make climate chaos irreversible.
- Loss and Damage: The conference started with a deal to discuss the climate compensation of developing nations for the damage they have to endure due to global warming. Delegates placed the issue of ‘loss and damage’ on the summit’s official agenda for the first time.
- Forest Protection: The new Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) coalition plans on mobilising US$1.5 billion in finance for tropical forest countries that are committed to protecting their forests, the largest-ever public-private effort to protect tropical forests. On Monday, Korea – the first Asian government to announce its commitment to providing financial support to LEAF – joined the UK, US, and Norway in backing the Coalition. Ecuador has also become the first forest nation to sign a LEAF memorandum of agreement.
- Deforestation: 26 countries launched the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP), a voluntary partnership of high-ambition countries that will unite action by government, business and community leaders to accelerate momentum to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. Together, these nations account for roughly 35% of the world’s forests. This is one of the major announcements following the Glasgow forest pledges last year.
- Drought Resilience: the UNCCD launched the International Drought Resilience Alliance to boost doubt resilience.
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Tuesday, November 8: World Leader Summit
- Coral Reefs: The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed to scaling resilience action in partnership with the Global Fund for Coral Reefs Accelerates Coral Reef Resilience Action (GFCR), launched during the 75th UN General Assembly in 2020. USAID’s contribution brings GFCR to a total mobilised of $187 million.
- Water Resilience: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) joined partners at COP27 to announce the ambitious mobilisation of more than $200 million from 2021 to 2025 to build water and sanitation resilience and security in Asia and the Pacific. The Netherlands and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are among the supporters.
- UN Report on Greenwashing: The UN released a report stating that climate pledges by companies, banks and cities often amount to little more than greenwashing. The report draws a red line around false claims of progress in the fight against global warming that can confuse consumers, investors and policy makers.
- Zelensky’s Speech: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke via video saying that “there can be no effective climate policy without the peace.” He highlighted the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global energy supplies, food and water security, and Ukraine’s ecosystems.
Wednesday, November 9: Finance Day
- US Carbon Trading Scheme: On Wednesday, White House climate envoy John F. Kerry outlined its carbon trading scheme in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, saying the plan would be “critical” in helping developing nations transition to cleaner energy sources. The new voluntary scheme – dubbed the “Energy Transition Accelerator” – seeks to expand the sale of carbon credits with the goal of boosting renewable projects in developing countries. It would allow companies to claim carbon credits for investing in clean energy and decarbonisation projects across the developing world. The credits are tied to decarbonisation projects and will not be open to fossil fuel companies. The plan faced backlash, as critics said it won’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Forestry Investments: American Forests announced a $10-million-fund – The Tree Equity Catalyst Fund – which complements the US Inflation Reduction Act’s $1.5 billion investments in urban and community forestry by equipping cities and community-based organisations that have historically lacked access to large-scale public funding with the support necessary to help make cities more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11.
- Other announcements: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that carbon price must go up to at least $75 by 2030. Meanwhile, the European Union said that cop must mobilise finance if the world hopes to stick to the 1.5C goal.
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Thursday, November 10: Youth & Science Day
- New Emission Report: A new analysis by the Global Carbon Project (GCP) released at COP27 on Thursday suggested that carbon emissions from fossil fuels would hit new record levels this year and, if continuing at this level, they would make 1.5C of global heating within the next decade more probable than not.
- Mangroves: UNCCD and Global Mangrove Alliance announced a joint initiative which aims at driving and unlocking public, philanthropic, and private finance for the protection and restoration of mangroves ecosystems.
- New Data on Deforestation in West Africa: a new analysis revealed that cocoa farming contributed to forest loss of 2.4 million hectares – an area almost the size of Rwanda – in Côte d’Ivoire between 2000 and 2019. Cocoa is the main driver of deforestation in the Western African region.
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Friday, November 11: Decarbonisation Day
- Water in Bangladesh: The Netherlands announced its €6.5 million (US$6.7 million) commitment to fund a joint SNV (Netherlands Development Organization) and Government of Bangladesh project to enhance water security in the climate-vulnerable Asian nation. The five-year project will contribute to improving sanitation, solid waste and flood management to protect the health and well-being of communities across 12 cities.
- $8 Billion for Agriculture Sector: Dozens of countries and organisations pledged to steer more than $8 billion into research and development projects aimed at reducing the impact of farming on the planet. The funds double investments committed since the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate was unveiled a year ago. It will support the realisation of 22 additional projects.
- UN Report: A new report from the United Nations underscored the importance of rapid and large-scale action to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from the energy-intensive countries, which account for about 25 per cent of the total CO2 emissions globally and 66 per cent in the industrial sector.
- Women and Climate Change: 41 grassroots organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America have formed an alliance to demand governments increase climate finance for local women’s movements.
- Biden’s Speech: US President Joe Biden took the stage on Friday after missing the first days of the conference due to the US midterm elections. In his address, he cast the US as a global climate leader and pressed his ‘unwavering’ commitment to combating climate change. There was no mention of the loss and damage agenda.
Saturday, November 12: Adaptation & Agriculture Day
- Sustainable Agriculture: The Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) and Shockwave Foundation are partnering on the Resilient Agriculture Innovations for Nature (RAIN) challenge. The challenge aims to convert seed-level innovative agricultural ideas that are meeting resilience needs in East Africa and scale them to sustainable business ideas of interest to private investors and funders. It will align potential funders to these initiatives and drive attention to the urgent need for agricultural systems transformation.
- Carbon-removal Project in Asia: The Global EverGreening Alliance and Mirova launched the “Restore South-East Asia” programme, one of the largest nature-based carbon removal programmes in Asia, beginning with a $15million investment in the Philippines. The programme aims at restoring lands across the region with a potential of impacting over 600,000 households.
This is part 1 of the COP27-Recap series. Check out ‘COP27 Week 2 Recap’ here.
Featured image by UNFCCC (Flickr)
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