New Year, New Climate Policy: How COP27 may influence your business in 2023
There’s a lot to unpack from COP27. The two week conference saw leaders from around the world come together in Egypt, in order to discuss the growing issue of climate change and assess the responses and measures taken since the last conference, COP26 in 2021.
The host nation faced criticism over their laws surrounding human rights and protestors around the world stepped out to condemn the use of private jets for state officials to arrive in, and the evident lack of women in attendance, including the absence of popular climate change activist Greta Thunberg. Despite protests and criticism, the conference kicked off Monday 7th November, finishing Friday 18th November.
The first day of COP27 began with introductory speeches from world leaders, including a thought provoking statement from UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who described the Earth as being on ‘a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator’.
The key focuses for the day included loss and damage, forest protection, deforestation and drought resilience. The issue of ‘loss and damage’ was placed on the agenda for the first time, with aims of assessing the damages faced by developing nations since the last conference, such as severe flooding faced by Pakistan earlier this year.
The following day focused on the topics of coral reefs, water resilience and greenwashing, and included a video linked speech from Ukrainian president Zelensky, imploring attendees to recognise that ‘there can be no effective climate policy without peace’.
Other commitments were made by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to pledge $200 million in the next 5 years to build further water and sanitation resilience.
* Greenwashing refers to the act of presenting a business as climate focused for marketing and public opinion purposes, without actually tackling the carbon footprint of the business. Going forward in 2023, businesses will be expected to provide more proof and verification of their efforts to tackle climate change and reach a carbon neutral state.
The Wednesday of the conference focused on finance, with America Forests announcing a $10 million fund as an investment into urban forestry, with aims to make cities ‘sustainable, save and inclusive’. The ‘Energy Transition Accelerator’ was another voluntary scheme announced by White House climate envoy, John F Kerry, with hopes of boosting the ability for developing countries to invest in renewable energy projects.
‘Youth and Science Day’, saw the release of analysis from the Global Carbon Project (GCP), showing that carbon emissions from fossil fuels are set to hit record levels this year and if continued, would increase the likelihood of global heating by 1.5C, a number that climate scientists believe to be irrevocable.
With a focus on decarbonisation, the fifth day of COP27 funds were committed from The Netherlands and Bangladesh to enhance water security in climate vulnerable Asian nations, as well a funds pledges from dozens of countries towards the research and development aiming to reduce the impact of farming on the environment.
The UN also released a report highlighting the importance of rapid and large scale action needed to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. US President, Joe Biden addressed the conference, positioning the US as a ‘climate leader’ and pledged ‘unwavering’ commitment to combating climate change.
Coming towards the end of the first week, The Global Resilience Partnership and Shockwave Foundation announced partnership to launch the ‘Resilient Agriculture Innovations for Nature’ challenge. This initiative aims to covert seed level innovative agricultural ideas that are meeting resilience needs and then scale them to sustainable business ideas that will draw attention from private investors and funding.
Titled ‘Water & Gender Day’, the first day of week 2 has kicked off with suggested water solutions across Africa and a ‘call for help’ from the women of Pakistan, highlighting the feminine issues faced by women and girls across the country as clean water and poor sanitation become and increasing problem in the wake of catastrophic flooding.
Good things came from Tuesday 15th November, including the WWF Report, in order to ‘uncover nature’s role in climate action’. The latest science has shown that nature acts as a key player in the fight against global warming and is key to slowing the affects of global warming. A new emissions target was also set by the EU, with ambitious plans to reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 57% by 2030. Turkey also followed in the footsteps of the EU by also committing to ambitious targets of a 41% reduction by 2030.
The ‘biodiversity day’ kicked off with the launch of the ENACT partnership, a hub for party and non-state actors working on nature based solutions, which aims to restore and manage up to 2.4 billion hectares of ecosystems by the end of the decade. The key moment from the day however was a speech given by Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, who highlighted the importance of the protection of the Amazon rainforest as an ecosystem that a sustainable, healthy planet is impossible without.
The two week conference concluded with a draft from the UN of the COP27 Climate Agreement, as well as a final call to action from WWF, for world leaders to review negotiations on loss and damage, mitigation, adaptation, food systems and climate finance. The World Wildlife Fund called for leaders to intensify their efforts towards a breakthrough and conclusion on these topics.
If you’re looking to do your part in reducing carbon emissions and saving the planet, learn more about how data monitoring can improve the health and carbon footprint of your business.