COP27 Day 1: Turning ambition into action

By Climate Champions | November 7, 2022

Discussions at COP27 begin near the end of a year that has seen devastating floods and unprecedented heat waves, severe droughts and formidable storms, all unequivocal signs of the unfolding climate emergency. At the same time, millions of people throughout the world are confronting the impacts of simultaneous crises in energy, food, water and cost of living, aggravated by severe geopolitical conflicts and tensions. In this adverse context, some countries have begun to stall or reverse climate policies and doubled down on fossil fuel use.

COP27 is also taking place against the backdrop of inadequate ambition to curb greenhouse gas emissions. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, CO2 emissions need to be cut 45% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels to meet the central Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. This is crucial to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, including more frequent and severe droughts, heatwaves and rainfall. A report published by UN Climate Change ahead of COP27 shows that whilst countries are bending the curve of global greenhouse gas emissions downward, efforts remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Turning the Tide on Shipping

Norwegian Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Store and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry launch The Green Shipping Challenge. The Challenge seeks to complement broader work on ocean and climate action such as the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy and the UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue.

Emissions from the shipping sector are significant, rising, and on a trajectory that is incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement.  If shipping were a “country,” it would be the eighth largest emitter.

At COP26, many Parties began to focus on tackling emissions from the sector through various initiatives such as the Clydebank Declaration on green shipping corridors and the Declaration on Zero Emission Shipping by 2050.  COP27 will be an opportunity to build on this work and demonstrate practical implementation on the ground. There is no way of staying within 1.5C without decarbonizing shipping and it is now imperative that shipping is put on a 1.5C aligned trajectory with ambitious 2030 and 2040 targets.

The Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership

Reducing deforestation, restoring, conserving and better managing natural and productive landscapes are crucial strategies to reduce vulnerability to impacts of climate change and store carbon in the land. In addition, it supports livelihoods, protects ecosystem biodiversity while boosting agricultural productivity for low-carbon and climate-resilient economies and societies at large.

At COP26 more than 140 countries with over 90% of the world’s forests committed to work together to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. This was backed by US$19.2 billion in public and private funds. Today, that commitment is enhanced by the launch of The Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership ( FCLP).

The new Partnership will unite action by government, business and community leaders, and shine a spotlight on global progress at COP27 and every year up to 2030. Participating countries will meet annually to enhance collective efforts to maximise the contribution of forests and sustainable land use to global and national climate goals in line with the Breakthrough Agenda.

With the first meeting of the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership taking place at COP27, member countries representing a range of regions, forest areas, and economic and financial centres will focus their combined support on transformational areas of action. These include cooperation related to high integrity carbon markets for forests, building robust forest economies that contribute to a net zero world, securing and protecting applicable forest tenure rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, and scaling efforts to conserve and sustainably manage high integrity forests.

Members will work closely with the private sector, civil society and community leaders to implement and rapidly scale up solutions on deforestation, reforestation and sustainable forest and land use management, that reflect each members’ national context and priorities as well as the urgency of the global climate crisis.

Mark Carney is calling on all members of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), financial institutions with $135 trillion assets under management, to embed tackling deforestation into their transition planning by developing policies to identify and curtail financing of such activities, and to increase investment in nature based solutions (NbS).

Today, leading financial institutions from Japan to Norway to Brazil are showing that it is possible to do this. Signatories of the Commitment on Eliminating Commodity Driven Deforestation have been moving forward with implementation as the Finance Sector Deforestation Action (FSDA) initiative. FSDA members have shared investor expectations for companies and are stepping up engagement activity, working with policy makers and data providers. New members joining FSDA in 2022 include SouthBridge Group, the first African financial institution to join the initiative, Banco Estado de Chile, London CIV and GAM Investments.

Youth empowerment

The Regional Conference of Youth took place on 14 -16 October in South Africa. The primary objective of the RCOY-Africa was to strengthen the capacity and policy advocacy of African youth ahead of the 17th Conference of Youth (COY17) and COP27. One of the key outcomes of the RCOY-Africa was the development of an African Youth Position Paper. An extensive stakeholder engagement process was required to develop a statement that reflected the voices of many young Africans across different regions and sectors. Based on the input received, the calls for action included the following: Climate Policy and Governance, Action for Climate Empowerment and a focus on the Green Economy.

The Resilience Hub

The Resilience Hub is once again acting as the home of the Race to Resilience and kicked off on Sunday with the launch of a new round of catalytic grant funding for organizations to deliver resilience action in their communities and sessions from youth and Indigenous leaders from Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

The Resilience Hub’s full agenda is here. The Hub is accessible in-person in Area C and virtually with over 3,000 registered to participate on the virtual platform. Register here.

No More Fairy Tales: stories to save our planet

Stay inspired by reading today’s story drawn from an anthology of short stories written by a variety of authors, such as Kim Stanley Robinson, Paolo Bacigalupi and others. These stories present positive visions of what a sustainable society might look like and how we might get there.

Each story links to a webpage where readers can see how they can help to make the story a reality.

Compiled by the Green Stories Project, in association with Herculean Climate Solutions.

Who are the High-Level Champions?

To connect the work of governments with the many voluntary and collaborative actions taken by cities, regions, businesses, investors and civil society, at COP21, countries decided to appoint two High Level Champions.

The current Champions are Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin and Nigel Topping. Working with the Marrakech Partnership, they build on the legacy of their predecessors to engage with non-Party stakeholders and activate the ‘ambition loop’ with national governments. Their work is fundamentally designed to encourage a collaborative shift across all of society towards a decarbonized economy so that we can all thrive in a healthy, resilient and net-zero world.

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