Six months from COP26
By Climate Champions | May 16, 2022
Six months on from COP26, we find ourselves in a stark and unnerving landscape. Multiple, compounding crises from the current geopolitical and geo-economic situation are hitting vulnerable communities and nations globally, impacting cost of living, energy prices, and food security.
When we left Glasgow in 2021, many hoped that the world had finally awoken to the urgency of the path ahead. Yet the current crises have seen many countries reconsidering their fossil fuel reduction commitments in the interest of misplaced, short-term energy policies. This, coupled with the World Meteorological Organisation warning last week that there is now a 50:50 chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C in the next five years.
We are at a critical juncture in time, where world leaders have the opportunity to shift from ‘summits to solutions’ with the urgency that the situation demands. With every tenth of a degree of warming, we choose to inflict more pain on ourselves – pain that will ripple across our businesses and communities, impacting our lives and our livelihoods, and inflicting losses and damages that may in fact be irreparable.
Many of the solutions already exist, awaiting the capital and political will to unlock their full potential. As the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, we are working with leaders from across the real economy – businesses, cities, regions, financial, educational and healthcare institutions – as well as a vast ecosystem of partners – to accelerate emissions reductions across all sectors of the global economy, redirect capital to where it’s needed most, and build resilience to the climate impacts already locked into our warming world.
The Race to Zero campaign is accelerating the frontier of best practice in non state climate action, deepening the integrity of emissions reductions commitments made by over 10,000 non state actors with enhanced criteria. In tandem, the 2030 Breakthroughs are adding specificity for each sector of the global economy by providing critical near-term decarbonization targets.
The Race to Resilience, as the sibling campaign to Race to Zero, is working with practitioners on the ground in over 100 countries to build resilience for urban, rural and coastal communities impacted by climate change. All of this work is underpinned by the Glasgow Financial Alliance of Net Zero, representing nearly 600 financial institutions working to finance the net-zero transition and mobilise capital to emerging markets and developing economies from across the financial ecosystem.
But we know that this is not enough. We need to see governments join forces with the real economy to drive forwards the most dramatic transition of the 21st century. There is still an opportunity for all governments to arrive at COP27 with enhanced NDCS – and have confidence in their ability to implement the Paris Agreement.
We also need to see increased finance flowing to a pipeline of projects that will build resilience and reduce emissions within the 2020s, in addition to the $100 billion per year of public finance that developed countries pledged to mobilise by 2020.
As we look ahead to COP27 and the Global Stocktake in 2023, the question is not about what governments and non state actors are promising to deliver in the 2050s or even the 2020s. The most pressing question is, what are you doing in the next six months, and will it be enough?
This current moment represents not only a serious challenge but also an opportunity for all stakeholders to prove faith in the multilateral climate change regime through building momentum and further action in the lead up to Sharm el-Sheikh, with the aim of achieving substantial progress at COP27 and beyond.
This year, our main priorities for COP27 are:
- Adopting a holistic approach, through strengthening and mainstreaming the global response to the threat of climate change. In the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, we aim to ensure a balance between mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation, prioritising the scaling up of adaptation and mitigation, and facilitating an effective just and equitable transition.
- Promoting a stronger focus on implementation by transforming commitments into actions and translating the pledges of the Summits into solutions in the field. This will support the goals and objectives of the Convention and Paris Agreement and build on the outcomes of previous UNFCCC COPs.
- Mobilising finance at scale and ensuring the quality of capital. Grant and concessional finance, including innovative financing instruments and investments that do not exacerbate debt burdens, must take priority over the traditional debt-based instruments. To this end, we will identify the principles and priorities of post-2025 finance so as to explore practical options for innovative finance, including debt reduction mechanisms (e.g. debt for climate/nature investment).
- Regionalization, by setting up five regional roundtables, to be convened by all the regional UN economic commissions in June and July 2022. This will help to promote the adoption of a more holistic approach at the regional level, while facilitating the matchmaking of potential projects with the available financing and investment opportunities.
- Localization, which includes an inclusive approach to priorities and last-mile delivery, at the grassroot level, which presents great potential opportunities.
Read the Arabic translation here.