Over 100 countries attended COP27 to discuss curbing global temperatures by 1.5°C
Conservation of biodiversity, mitigation of climate crises, achieving food sovereignty for all, and influencing policies are the messages that filled the air at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. Venter Mwongera, Communications and Advocacy Coordinator at ABN, shares some highlights about COP27.
Approaches to lowering the planet’s warming by less than 1.5°C and mitigating the hunger situation in Africa were topics given prominence at COP27. November 6th to 18th, 2022, were days when researchers, CSOs, youth, women, policymakers, representatives of various government institutions, politicians, environmentalists, and the media were able to focus on talks on the management of climate crises to change the current trend and called for actions leading to sustainable futures. They suggested mitigation approaches and called on developed countries to pledge their commitments to reduce global temperatures by 1.5°C.
There are many challenges facing the world today, especially the developing countries and are associated with the global warming. For example, increased wildfires, droughts, increased malnutrition, desertification and increased losses and damages associated with increased temperatures. Weak implementation of aligned policies or a lack of them add to the challenges. Unsustainable food production systems, unmet global agreements such as Sustainable Development Goals formed an agenda for developed countries to strengthen action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, boost support of finance, technology and capacity building became urgent if the implementation of The Paris Agreement was to take place.
Some gains at COP27
African countries bear the brunt of the carbon emissions by developed countries. A commitment by the developed countries to transition to low carbon emission, establish a programme on a just transition, to build on and complement the work with an urgency to scale mitigation ambition, and implementation was a deep reprieve for the continent but only if this commitment will be honoured.
The Paris Agreement calls on signatories to consider “the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs by nationally defined development priorities.” By this, it means that a just transition is not a fixed set of rules. Rather, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, it is “a vision and a process based on dialogue and an agenda shared by workers, industry, and governments that need to be negotiated and implemented in their geographical, political, cultural and social contexts.”
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, in his opening speech at the event, said that UN Climate Change would support Parties and future COP Presidencies to navigate the path to the new phase of implementation. “The heart of implementation is: Everybody, everywhere in the world, every day, doing everything they possibly can to address the climate crisis,” said Stiell.
The provision of loss and damage funding for vulnerable countries adversely affected by floods, droughts, and other climate disasters was a hallmark of COP 27. It was a historic moment due to its recognition of the need for finance to respond to loss and damages attributed to the devastating effects of climate crises. The formation of a transitional committee to make recommendations on operationalizing the new funding arrangements and the fund for consideration and adoption at COP28 next year was another achievement for COP27. The transitional committee’s first meeting is expected to take place before the end of March.
“This outcome moves us forward,” said Stiell. “We have determined a way forward on a decades-long conversation on funding for loss and damage – looking at how we address the impacts on communities whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the extreme impacts of climate change.”
Countries committed to “mitigate” climate change to get to where science says governments need to be by 2030 to build the global economy. In line with that, a mitigation work programme was established in Sharm el-Sheikh, aimed at urgently scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation. The work programme will start immediately and continue until 2026 when there will be a review to consider its extension.
During COP27, governments were reminded to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their national climate plans by the end of 2023, to accelerate efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. Governments emphasized the importance of a clean energy mix, including low-emission and renewable energy, as part of diversifying energy sources and systems while mitigating the adverse effects of air pollution.
The world is in a critical decade for climate action. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says limiting warming to around 1.5°C requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 and be reduced by 43% by 2030. That’s seven short years from now. Yet, the world is currently off course to keep 1.5°C within reach.
Implementation of the loss and damages, among other agreements at COP27, requires considerable funds. The developed country Parties were tasked to provide resources for the second replenishment of the Green Climate Fund. All countries welcomed the pledges made to the Adaptation Fund (totaling USD 211.58 million), the Least Developed Countries Fund (totaling 70.6 million), and the Special Climate Change Fund (totaling 35.0 million).
At COP 27, serious concerns were expressed that the goal of developed country Parties to jointly mobilize USD100 billion per year by 2020 was not met. The developed countries were urged to meet this goal, and the multilateral development banks and international financial institutions were called on to mobilize climate finance.
UN Climate Change Standing Committee on Finance was requested to prepare a report on doubling adaptation finance for consideration at COP28, and the biennial progress report on the USD 100 billion goals starting in 2024. “Clear follow-through on the phase down of coal was not in the text.” The revised text read, “low emission and renewable energy,” which could be seen as a significant loophole that could allow for the development of further gas resources, as gas produces fewer emissions than coal.
ABN collaborates with partners in the network to accompany communities across Africa to conserve biodiversity, mitigate climate change and protect ecosystem services for food sovereignty and promote harmonious living with nature.
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