Today is the fifth day of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Here’s what has happened so far:
- US climate envoy John Kerry announced the “Energy Transition Accelerator” idea that has so far received mixed reviews.
- “Loss and damage” takes centre stage as Scotland, Austria, Belgium, New Zealand, and Germany lead the way, pledging a total of about €240 million.
- China is now willing to contribute to the “loss and damage” fund, its climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said today. He also repeated China’s stance that the US “closed the door” to climate talks, adding however that “informal talks” are being held between Bejing and Washington.
- Greenwashing is condemned by a UN expert group that calls for “red lines” to ensure honesty in efforts to reach net zero.
November 11: Decarbonization Day
♦ Biden addresses COP27
In his much-anticipated COP27 speech, US President Joe Biden praised the work his administration has done to create a “cleaner, safer healthier planet for all of us,” describing the Inflation Reduction Act, passed this summer, as the “biggest, most important climate bill in the history of [the US].”
Happening Now: President Biden delivers remarks at the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27). https://t.co/XfUW3ChdHY
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 11, 2022
Biden also pledged $500 million to help Egypt finance and facilitate its clean energy transition, and revealed that the US is on track to meet the Paris Agreement goals by 2030:
“Today, thanks to the actions we have taken, I can stand here as president of the United States of America and say with confidence the US will meet our emissions targets by 2030.”
"My commitment to this issue has been unwavering."
— Bloomberg (@business) November 11, 2022
“If we’re going to win this fight, every major emitter needs to align with the 1.5C,” Biden added. Read more.
November 10: Science and Youth Day
♦ Over 50 developing countries are in danger of bankruptcy
Achim Steiner, the UN’s global development chief, warns that as a result of the energy crisis and rising interest rates, 54 countries are in danger of default.
One solution to boost #RenewableEnergy faster & reap the development benefits that come with it may be debt forgiveness.
— Achim Steiner (@ASteiner) November 10, 2022
This would likely carry huge sociopolitical consequences for the nations affected, whilst also preventing them from being able to address the climate crisis. Read more.
♦ Israel, Lebanon, and Iraq team up to cut emissions
Israel is still officially at war with Lebanon, and Iraq and Israel have a history of hostility. However, despite these circumstances, the three countries have signed an agreement to “act in a coordinated way on mitigation and adaptation.” Read more.
The UN COP27 climate conference brought together ministers from Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Iraq, Kuwait, and the PA. They vowed to work together, taking actionable steps on climate change. The environment does not discriminate. pic.twitter.com/7qiZ4923lJ
— Shaiel Ben-Ephraim (@academic_la) November 8, 2022
♦ Demonstrators hold silent protest for imprisoned activist
“No climate justice without human rights,” states the banner held by protestors.
#COP27 participants hold a silent protest calling for #HumanRights and #ClimateJustice in Egypt, and demanding for human rights have been front and center at COP. #FreeThemAll pic.twitter.com/jk3wUX3Bf2
— Egyptian Front for Human Rights (@egyptian_front) November 10, 2022
Abd el-Fattah was sentenced last year for “spreading false news,” having shared a social media post about torture. El-Fattah’s lawyer, Khaled Ali, has been prohibited from visiting his client and it is now believed the activist is on both a hunger and water strike. Read more.
♦ Norwegian energy giant postpones $10bn oil project
Norway’s state-owned energy company Equinor announces it is delaying its plans for the Wisting oil field in the Arctic, which would have become the world’s northernmost oil exploration. According to analysts, delaying this $10 billion project is likely to mean that it will never be realized.
WE WON! 🎉🎉🎉
The plans for the northernmost oil field, Wisting, have been stopped!
💥 200 million tons of CO2 stay in the ground
🌊 Vulnerable and valuable nature is left alone
💚 Norway can focus on a green, just transition
— Greenpeace Norge (@GreenpeaceNorge) November 10, 2022
Although Equinor blamed the delay on a “cost increase due to increased global inflation” and “uncertainty about the framework conditions for the project,” Uplift Director Tessa Khan pins the delay as a victory — as do activists, campaigners, and Norway’s Green Party members.
“Even if Equinor puts the decision down to rising costs, this is a victory for the climate. Equinor spends a lot on PR telling people that it is transitioning away from oil and gas, but in reality it is planning to develop huge new oil and gas projects,” Tessa Khan said.
♦ COP27 welcomes a record number of fossil fuel-related delegates
Over 600 delegates linked to fossil fuel industries are currently at COP27, reveals a report by the Corporate Accountability, Global Witness, and Corporate Europe Observatory.
”Global Witness found more than 600 people at the talks in Egypt are linked to fossil fuels.
That's more than the combined delegations from the 10 most climate-impacted countries.”
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) November 10, 2022
This represents a 25% increase compared to COP26 in Glasgow, when the fossil fuel industry had more delegates (503) than any individual county. The only country with more delegates in Sharm el-Sheikh this year is the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 1,070 individuals (UAE had 176 delegates at COP26). Read more.
November 9: Climate Finance Day
♦ US unveils global carbon credit trading initiative
US Climate Envoy John Kerry pitches a new carbon credit trading programme named the “Energy Transition Accelerator,” which he claims will prove “critical” in assisting developing countries in their changeover to renewable energy sources.
Initial reactions to the concept have been mixed, with one anonymous climate expert naming the scheme “unworkable.” Read more.
♦ New Zealand pledges $12 million to “loss and damage”
New Zealand will be allocating NZ$20 million (US$12 million) to address loss and damage in developing countries.
Aotearoa New Zealand 🇳🇿 is supporting countries to deal with the impacts of loss and damage from climate change, as #COP27 gets underway in Egypt.
— Nanaia Mahuta (@NanaiaMahuta) November 8, 2022
According to Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, the country is not opposed to the creation of a centralised loss and damage fund, as they recognise the need for a wide range of funding arrangements. Read more.
♦ China is willing to contribute to “loss and damage,” its top official says
Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua says the country is willing to contribute to fundraising for “loss and damage.”
Xie Zhenhua said #China supports claims from developing nations, especially the most vulnerable nations for claiming loss and damage compensation but it should follow the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities #COP27 pic.twitter.com/dE0OZqEgH4
— Zhang Meifang张美芳 (@CGMeifangZhang) November 9, 2022
Zhenhua tells that he has spoken informally with US envoy John Kerry regarding a joint effort between China and the US to promote the COP27 agenda. He also stresses it must be the US that initiates reconciliation with China as it was the US who “closed the door” to climate talks. Read more.
China's Xie Zhenhua speaking at #COP27
"It is for the US to clear the barriers [created by Pelosi's Taiwan visit]…But I have already started informal contact with John Kerry here…We have already exchanged 8 letters [before arriving]…We are old friends." pic.twitter.com/D04VWLcmIr
— Leo Hickman (@LeoHickman) November 9, 2022
November 8: “Loss and Damage” Pledges Grow
♦ Austria joins the list of nations pledging for “loss and damage”
Austria follows in Scotland’s footsteps and pledges €50 million to address loss and damage over the next four years.
Austria has joined Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and Scotland in pledging millions for "loss and damage" from climate disasters.
🇧🇪 €2.5 million
🏴 £7 million
🇩🇰 €13.4 million
🇦🇹 €50 million
🇩🇪 €170 million
— Yale Environment 360 (@YaleE360) November 9, 2022
The country’s climate minister Leonore Gewessler states that “Austria is taking responsibility” and addressing the demands from the Global South that the more industrialised countries provide support. Read more.
♦ New report reveals the climate funding needed for developing countries
A new report by climate economist Nicholas Stern shows that by 2030, around $2tn will be needed each year to help developing countries with climate resilience and mitigation of emissions.
We have today published the report of the Independent High-Level Expert Group on Climate Finance, which I co-chaired with Vera Songwe. It was commissioned by the Presidencies of COP26 and #COP27. https://t.co/6vgIUediMI
— Nicholas Stern (@lordstern1) November 8, 2022
The report states that “around half of the required financing can be reasonably expected to come from local sources,” but external finance, including funding provided by banks, will be vital. Read more.
♦ Scotland allocates millions for “loss and damage” funding
At last year’s COP26, Scotland became the first European nation to commit funding (£2 million) to tackle the loss and damage caused by climate change.
This year, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon pledged another £5 million in debt-free grants to aid communities suffering in nations most impacted by climate change. Read more.
“The funding Scotland has announced today is a small sum in terms of the overall scale of the loss and damage that developing countries face but I hope that it sends an important message,”
— Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland.
♦ Zelensky: Ending the war in Ukraine is key to addressing the climate
“There can be no effective climate policy without peace,” says Ukraine’s president Volodymr Zelensky in his virtual speech at the Summit.
This is due to the five million acres of forest that have been destroyed by the war, and the energy crisis caused by the conflict that has, Zelensky asserts, “forced dozens of countries to resume coal-fired power generation.” Read more.
♦ UN defines and condemns greenwashing
A “high-level expert group” established by UN Secretary-General António Guterres released a report at the conference that aims to eradicate greenwashing and ensure net zero commitments are being worked towards honestly.
An honour to accept UN Secretary General @antonioguterres' invitation to Chair his High-Level Expert Group on Net-Zero Commitments of Non-State Entities from biz to investors to cities. Each pledge must deliver ambitious, real, immediate reductions in transparent, verifiable way. pic.twitter.com/0gZU5wSXfH
— Catherine McKenna (@cathmckenna) March 31, 2022
“Right now, the planet cannot afford delays, excuses, or more greenwashing,” states Catherine McKenna, the expert group’s chair and the former Canadian climate minister. Read more.
November 7: UN Chief Issues Words of Warning
♦ Macron calls for “energy sobriety”
The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, calls for “energy sobriety” and the continued prioritisation of the climate despite disruptions caused by the Russo-Ukraine war.
Macron also urged the need for a huge uptick in climate funding, particularly from the World Bank and IMF. Read more.
♦ Germany and Belgium kick off “loss and damage” pledges
Germany and Belgium commit €170 million and €2.5 million respectively towards climate-related “loss and damage,” a cause that has previously only been pledged towards by Scotland, Denmark, and the Belgian region of Wallonia. Read more.
— DW Politics (@dw_politics) November 8, 2022
♦ Rishi Sunak says addressing the climate crisis is the “right thing to do”
In a speech criticised as “tepid,” the UK’s Prime Minister states the UK will honour climate pledges since it is “morally right.”
This follows a much more passionate speech he delivered to broadcasters regarding how to tackle migration. Read more.
♦ UN Secretary-General warns: “We are on a highway to climate hell”
During his opening ceremony speech, UN Chief António Guterres called for the formation of a “climate solidarity pact” after stating that “we are in the fight of our lives and we are losing.”
I have just warned global leaders at #COP27:
We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.
Our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.
We need urgent #ClimateAction.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 7, 2022
He also advocated for a universal tax on windfall profits of fossil fuel companies to raise funds for “loss and damage.” Read more.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: COP27 Scene. Featured Photo Credit: UN Climate Change.