From 6 to 18 November, Heads of State, ministers, and negotiators, along with climate activists, mayors, civil society representatives and CEOs are meeting in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh for the largest annual gathering on climate action.
The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – COP27 – builds on the outcomes of COP26 to deliver action on an array of issues critical to tackling the climate emergency – from urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience, and adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change, to delivering on the commitments to finance climate action in developing countries.
Faced with a growing energy crisis, record greenhouse gas concentrations, and increasing extreme weather events, COP27 seeks renewed solidarity between countries, to deliver on the landmark Paris Agreement, for people and the planet.
Decarbonisation and Energy are on the agenda, with Decarbonisation day discussing what has been discussed since the adoption of the Paris Agreement and all the way to Glasgow in 2021, several energy intensive sectors and companies have since come forward with plans and policies and actions aiming to reduce their carbon footprints and to gradually move towards decarbonisation. The Energy focus will deal with all aspects of energy and climate change, including renewable energy and energy transformation, with a specific focus on just transition in the energy sector, and Green hydrogen as a potential energy source for the future. It would also include energy efficiency and ways to manage the envisaged global just transition in energy. Renewable energy, smart grids, energy efficiency and energy storage are all elements of a much needed comprehensive vision of how energy ecosystems could evolve to in the near future.
Since 2015, under the legally-binding Paris Agreement treaty, almost all countries in the world have committed to:
Keep the rise in global average temperature to ‘well below’ 2°C, and ideally 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels.
Strengthen the ability to adapt to climate change and build resilience.
Align finance flows with ‘a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development’.
The Paris Agreement has a ‘bottom-up’ approach where individual countries decide what action they will take.
According to the IPCC, in all scenarios in line with 1.5°C or 2°C warming limits, global emissions must fall between 2020 and 2025. In reality, emissions are still rising, with atmospheric levels of the three main greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) all reaching new record highs in 2021.
Every fractional degree of warming translates into escalating climate impacts for vulnerable communities across the world, and moves the planet closer to irreversible ‘tipping points’ at which unpredictable destabilization will occur.
Although the COP27 host Egypt and outgoing COP president the UK have submitted revisions, neither has increased ambition. Australia, facilitated by a change in government, is the only country to have increased ambition since COP26 so far. While the US has come forward with major legislation to support climate action (the ‘Inflation Reduction Act’) this will, if fully implemented, only lead to a 40 per cent cut in emissions, with work remaining to close the gap to the NDC pledge of 50-52 per cent reduction by 2030.
Hopes of tackling this gaping gap in ambition are pinned on the agreement of the ‘mitigation work programme’ process at COP27, which aims to urgently scale up mitigation ambition and implementation before 2030. It is hoped a draft decision on upscaling ambition will be adopted at COP27 as progress will be a crucial element of global governance for closing the emissions gap this decade and keeping 1.5˚C in reach.
According to allaboutshipping.co.uk, Egypt is an appropriate place for COP27 to consider shipping’s decarbonisation. Around 19,000 transits a year of the Suez Canal make the country a key node in global logistics. The sheer number of vessels visible to politicians as they fly in will by itself give shipping greater visibility and recognition as the event begins.
Zero net emissions and decarbonisation are big buzzwords in terms of shipping, but it is going to take time to implement the changes needed.
Source – Chatham House / allaboutshipping.co.uk