COP27: What you need to know

It’s hard to believe, but COP27 is already upon us. With the promises and commitments of COP26 still fresh in our minds, all eyes will be on world leaders to see if commitments have been kept and promises met or if, once again, climate change priorities are being pushed further down the road.

What to expect from COP27

This year’s iteration is being held in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt which, in itself, will have a huge influence on the direction of the summit. As a leading African nation with a geopolitical position right between northern Africa and the Middle East, Egypt’s influence in that area of the world is undoubtedly important and there is an expectation that the COP27 agenda will focus on the developing world’s increasing need for financial support and climate leadership from the world’s wealthier nations. 

COP27’s strapline ‘Together for Implementation’ highlights the need for collaboration between nations and the importance of acting on climate change promises now. 

However, the idea of collaboration between nations and helping other countries financially has been under threat in recent times; with the war in Ukraine, heightened tensions between East and West and the cost of energy and oil rocketing alongside inflation rates, many governments are turning their thoughts inward to the day-to-day concerns of their nations. 

COP27 will look to address this by highlighting the very real impact of climate change on the planet should the Paris Agreement targets fail to be met. It is no longer a distant risk to be managed, but a present catastrophe that cost more than USD329 billion economic losses due to extreme weather and climate-related events. 

This year’s summit will focus on four main areas:

Mitigation

Currently an estimated 80% of the overall climate finance portfolio is dedicated to mitigation. COP26 was the first real test of the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting global warming to below 2°C (with the objective of working towards a target of 1.5°C).  However, the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions have universally fallen short. With new targets for reducing set to be addressed at COP27, there is demand for improvement and progress now, before it’s too late. 

Adaptation

Adaptation is the ability to adjust to both the current and the predicted future impacts of climate change and receives only 20% of funding compared to the 80% that goes to mitigation. Recent effects of climate change in developing countries have seen climate change take a more central position on political agendas. As a result, we can expect louder calls for assistance to help the developing world meet the targets set at COP26 in the Glasgow Climate Pact that sets out targets for developed countries to double adaptation financing.

Finance

There will be a strong focus on finance. With the global political climate being impacted by the war in Ukraine, rising gas and oil prices and increasing rates of inflation, there is a very viable concern that developed countries will, once again, not properly fulfil their own commitment while also supporting the urgent investment required by developing countries the $100 billion per year pledged to aid with combating climate change as they grow – something even more pertinent given these countries are expected to bear the brunt of the impact of climate change .

Loss and damage

Loss and damage refers to the irreversible loss or damage of areas due to climate change that cannot be avoided through adaptation or mitigation. It looks at ways to give aid to people who have been directly impacted by climate change. So far the subject has proved contentious with no firm workable plans or procedures being put in place to provide equitable and targeted assistance to those most vulnerable to climate change. The developing world (who historically have created less emissions and, therefore, had less of a negative impact on the climate) will likely feel the force of climate change more than in the developed world. As such, the calls for financial support from developed countries to aid the cost of loss and damage as well as toward adaptation and mitigation are likely to be louder than ever at COP27.

What you can do

In short, we all need to be doing our bit while working together in tackling climate change. If you’re not already tracking, monitoring and acting on data to improve your environmental impact then the next best time to start is now.

As our reliance on fossil fuels and the far-reaching impact on their rising costs is highlighted ever more to us, the importance of companies having strong and workable ESG strategies is only going to increase.

From reducing your emissions to finding new ways to work within your business and throughout your entire supply chain, the ‘E’ in your ESG strategy has never been more important.

The only way climate change summits like COP27 will create positive change is if we all work on improving things at an individual level so we can make an impact and be part of something much bigger. 

If you’d like to discuss your ESG strategy in more detail, get in touch with our team today.

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