Curated & Moderated by:
Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou

The main takeaways in the wake of COP27

December 16 2022

Every year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) holds the Conference of the Parties (COP), where the necessary decisions are taken to promote the effective implementation of the Convention, including various institutional and administrative arrangements.

At the end of each COP, the main conclusions from the talks are published and international action agreements are announced. COP21 (Paris, 2015), where 196 countries signed an agreement to limit the average global temperature increase to near +1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels by 2050, is considered a landmark event.

The assessment of the current situation and the redefinition of the international framework for action against climate change is based on the commitments and initiatives announced at the COP by governments, financial institutions, and other private actors. For example, the commitments just before the start of COP26 (Glasgow, 2021) put us on track for a global average temperature increase of +3.5°C, while a year later, just before COP27 (Egypt, 2022), the new estimate indicated we were at +2.5°C.

The main objectives of COP27 are to accelerate global climate action, scale up the adaptation efforts of the most vulnerable countries, and stimulate the flow of financial resources for transformational innovation and clean technologies.

Based on scientific evidence, two key areas for effectively addressing climate change and the transition to sustainability are Energy (ΙΕΑ[1]) and Land Use (FABLE[2]). At COP27, there was significant progress in both sectors. For example, in the energy field, the EU signed a Memorandum of Strategic Cooperation with Kazakhstan on raw materials, batteries, and renewable hydrogen, which ensures the development of a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials. Moreover, the European Parliament and the European Council agreed on the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR), which sets national targets for reducing CO2 emissions from road transport, domestic maritime transport, building heating, agriculture, small industrial installations, and waste management[3]. In regard to land use, another important development was the announcement of the launch of the “Forest and Climate Leaders' Partnership (FCLP)[4]” for the joint action of governments, corporations, and leaders to strengthen the efforts to implement the commitments made by more than 140 countries last year at COP26 in Glasgow to halt deforestation and land degradation by 2030.

A major success of COP27 is undoubtedly the support of the “Loss and Damage Fund,” which aims to provide financial support to vulnerable states coping with damage caused by natural disasters as a result of climate change. A number of countries such as Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Austria, and Belgium have already contributed or committed to contribute to the “Loss and Damage Fund” with a total amount already exceeding €250 million.

Perhaps the most optimistic message coming out of this year’s COP is the mobilization of non-state actors and their commitment to take action. Their contribution to strengthening resilience, and increasing finance and climate action, is noteworthy through initiatives such as: 1. the Αdaptation Agenda[5], the first comprehensive global plan for cooperation between states and non-state actors, 2. ENACT (Enhancing Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for Climate Transformation),[6]an effort to promote collective action on climate and biodiversity that helps fill the funding gap for nature-based solutions, 3. SURGe (Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation)[7], a city-led initiative providing a holistic framework for sustainable and resilient urban systems, in partnership with national governments, development banks, and the private sector, and 4. the commitment of millions of dollars to scale up financial support and promote climate-aligned systems—such as the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program [8], or innovative financial tools, such as the Cool Capital Stack[9]

In conclusion, pledges by states alone are not enough to effectively tackle climate change, nor do they put us on track to achieve zero emissions by 2030. Synergies between governments and the private sector are needed to promote policies, share expertise, and finance innovation to accelerate and scale up the results of all parties’ efforts. Recognizing this need, the SDSN Global Climate Hub (GCH) [10], which I lead, aims to support policy makers and all stakeholders in fighting climate crisis and preventing further deterioration. Using data from different sectors, scientific findings and technologies, it develops action plans and detailed pathways to help each country achieve climate neutrality and resilience.

[1] World Energy Outlook 2022, https://www.iea.org/news/world-energy-outlook-2022-shows-the-global-energy-crisis-can-be-a-historic-turning-point-towards-a-cleaner-and-more-secure-future

[2]  https://www.foodandlandusecoalition.org/pathways-for-food-and-land-use-systems-to-contribute-to-global-biodiversity-targets/

[3] https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_6724

[4] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/world-leaders-launch-forests-and-climate-leaders-partnership-to-accelerate-momentum-to-halt-and-reverse-forest-loss-and-land-degradation-by-2030

[5] https://climatechampions.unfccc.int/cop27-presidency-announces-ambitous-climate-resilience-agenda/

[6] https://www.iucn.org/press-release/202211/egyptian-cop27-presidency-germany-and-iucn-announce-enact-initiative-nature

[7] https://unhabitat.org/cop27-presidency-sustainable-urban-resilience-for-the-next-generation-surge

[8] https://gca.org/programs/aaap/

[9] https://onebillionresilient.org/2022/11/09/arsht-rock-announces-cool-capital-stack/

[10] https://unsdsn.globalclimatehub.org/