COP27 roundup – 1.5°C target ‘just about alive’

21st November 2022

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Chris Seekings

IEMA CEO, Sarah Mukherjee MBE, believes that the target to limit global heating to 1.5°C is “just about alive” following COP27. Below is a roundup of the key takeaways from the summit.

As many expected, the COP27 negotiations in Sharm El-Sheikh were not concluded by last Friday’s deadline and instead carried on deep into the weekend.

The final text on outcomes, known as the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan, was only agreed on Sunday, and included a historic breakthrough to provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters.

However, there was no ambition to phase out all fossil fuels – just the importance of enhancing the clean energy mix – and no concrete measures to limit global heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Reacting to the agreement, Mukherjee said: “Despite the glacially slow progress at COP27, I’m delighted that the world has agreed that there should be a loss and damage fund for those most and first at risk of the effects of climate change. As always, the devil will be in the details.

“However, as we turn our attention to COP28 in the UAE, the absence of a specific reference to fossil fuels is a huge gap in the world’s statement of intent, if we are really going to get to grips with global heating.

“It’s better than nothing, but the decisions made at Sharm El-Sheikh have not really changed the planetary trajectory towards unsustainable global heating. Whilst 1.5°C is still just about alive, it’s probably heavily medicated and in intensive care.”

Key takeaways

Loss and damage fund - Governments agreed to establish new funding arrangements, as well as a dedicated fund, to assist developing countries in responding to loss and damage. A ‘transitional committee’ will make recommendations on how to operationalise the new funding arrangements and the fund at COP28 next year.

Brazil is back – Brazil’s president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced that “Brazil is back” during the conference, bringing an end to four years of anti-environmental rhetoric from the current administration. He said: “There is no climate security for the world without a protected Amazon. We will spare no efforts to have zero deforestation and the degradation of our biomes by 2030.”

Emission commitments – The US also announced plans to cut methane emissions during the conference, which president Biden said would lead to an 87% reduction by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. Mexico has upped its commitment to cut carbon emissions from 22% to 35% by 2030.

Indonesia Just Energy Transition Partnership – Although this was announced at the G20 Summit held in parallel with COP27, the partnership will mobilise $20bn over the next three to five years to accelerate a just energy transition.

Early Warning System – An action plan for the Early Warning for All initiative was launched at COP27, which will be able to give early warnings against increasingly extreme and dangerous weather to everyone on the planet within five years.

Clean technology – Governments representing over half of global GDP set out a 12-month action plan to help make clean technologies cheaper and more accessible everywhere, as part of the ‘Breakthrough Agenda’.

More focus on adaptation – New pledges, totalling more than $230m, were made to an Adaptation Fund at COP27. Meanwhile, a G7-led plan called the Global Shield Financing Facility was launched at COP27 to provide funding to countries suffering climate disasters.

Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership launched – This will hold annual meetings with government representatives on progress to halt forest loss and land degradation by 2030, which was agreed by over 140 countries at COP26 in Glasgow last year.

Catch up on all our coverage of COP27 here.

Image credit: Unsplash


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