- November 14, 2022
- Posted by: lutherpendragon
- Categories: insight, news
Held in Sharm El-Sheikh between 6 – 18 November, the UN Climate Change Conference is setting the political, media and business agenda. Follow proceedings with Luther Pendragon’s report series.
The Egypt conference kicked off with two days of speeches from senior figures and heads of government, including from the UK Prime Minister, the President of COP27 and the UN Secretary General. Many emphasised that nations were running out of time to implement the reforms needed to achieve 1.5 degrees.
- UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used the war in Ukraine as an example of why it is vital the transition to renewable energy is as fast as possible, saying that energy security goes ‘hand in hand’ with climate security. [UK Government]
- COP27 President Sameh Shoukry told delegates it was time to move on from negotiations and move into a new ‘era of implementation’. [UN]
- UN Secretary General António Guterres called for a ‘Climate Solidarity Pact’ between the developed world and emerging economies, with the former accelerating their transition while funding emerging economies to end their reliance on fossil fuels. [UN]
Loss and Damage
A number of countries have called for more to be done to help fund those most affected by climate change, with ‘loss and damage’ payments making it onto the COP agenda for the first time. More discussions are still to be had, but a few initial pledges have been made.
- The UK pledged £200m to the African Development Bank’s Climate Action Window. This is an adaptation fund that will help support countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. Later in the week Rishi Sunak ruled out UK climate reparations. [UK Government]
- However, the Scottish Government pledged a further £5m to tackle loss and damage, taking their total contributions to £7m. [Scottish Government].
- Other countries that have committed funding for loss and damage include Germany, which announced $170m of support and Austria which announced $50m. Belgium and Denmark also made pledges. [UN]
Finance Day pledges
Wednesday was Finance Day at COP27, with a number of countries making commitments to help fund emerging economies’ transition to net zero.
- The UK announced that its export credit agency, UK Export Finance, would launch Climate Resilient Debt Clauses (CDRC) to help developing countries with climate shocks. [UK Government]
- John Kerry, US Envoy for Climate, announced the new ‘Energy Transition Accelerator’, which will allow private companies to purchase carbon credits in return for financing developing countries’ clean energy transitions. [US Government]
In the news
UK Opening statements – tepid road to hell?
The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, delivered his first international speech to world leaders at COP27, and paid homage to Queen Elizabeth II, who last year told the COP26 summit that there was ‘always room for hope’. The Guardian was unimpressed, saying ‘Rishi Sunak is not interested in the climate emergency – and everyone knows it’ whilst the Mirror reported on the backlash from groups such as Global Justice and Friends of the Earth, labelling his speech ‘tepid’.
- Tackle climate change for sake of world economy, Sunak urges Cop27. [The Times]
- Rishi Sunak’s speech labelled ‘tepid’ and accusations he is ‘placing the plant on the road to hell’. [The Guardian] [The Mirror]
COP27 has highlighted division between politicians and nations over whether developed countries should pay climate reparations to poorer nations, with widespread coverage in the media. Business Secretary Grant Shapps said the UK was open to discussions, but later in the week Rishi Sunak appeared to rule out reparations. China stated it was willing to contribute to climate loss and damage compensation.
- ‘Britain cannot afford climate change reparation’ according to former PM, Boris Johnson. [Express], [Daily Mail]
- Business Secretary, Grant Shapps, says the UK is ‘open to discussions’ on payouts to developing countries. [LBC]
- Rishi Sunak rules out climate reparations amid ongoing COP27 row. [Telegraph]
- China ‘willing to contribute to climate loss and damage compensation’. [Independent]
Show us the money
There was cautious optimism in the media with some calls for more practical detail around the pledges made on Finance Day. Mark Carney promised $130tn on behalf of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (Gfanz), and the Guardian reported ‘small but symbolic’ moves from the UK on debt deferrals, and climate impact funds from Austria, Scotland and New Zealand.
- ‘Significant’ moves on climate disaster funds lift Cop27 hopes. [The Guardian]
- COP27: Mark Carney clings to his dream of a greener finance industry. [Financial Times]
- Show us the money: Developing world at COP27 seeks financing details. [Reuters]
Backlash over hypocrisy
There was criticism in the media of delegates arriving at COP27 on private jets, with 36 private jets landing at Sharm el-Sheikh between 4th and 6th November, and a further 64 flying into Cairo. There were also reports of climate activists engaging in a series of protests at an Airport in Amsterdam.
- How many private jets were at COP27? [BBC News]
- Reports of activists preventing jets from departing Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. [The Independent], [Evening Standard]
Boris Johnson makes speech at COP
At an event hosted by the New York Times Boris Johnson declared himself ‘the spirit of Glasgow’ urging the conference to not ‘go weak and wobbly’ on climate targets. In a dig at his successor, he also mentioned that the need to ‘frack the hell out of the British countryside’ was ‘nonsense.’
- Boris Johnson speaks ahead of COP27. [BBC News]
- Boris Johnson says UK cannot afford climate reparations. [Financial Times]
Head of Bezos Earth Fund says billionaires should not make up climate finance gaps
The Bezos Earth Fund has £8.8 billion to give out in grants since 2020. Speaking out as reports surfaced that developed nations are seeking contributions from super-rich individuals and businesses for developing nations, Jeff Bezos, the fund’s President and CEO said that rich countries are ‘not living up to obligations’ and that the Fund is not ‘an alternative to government.’
- Bezos Earth Fund Head critiques Governments. [The Guardian]
- Rich nations seek business and private individual contributions to UN Fund. [Climate Home News]
Countries have “overreached” for gas according to report
Climate Action Tracker (CAT) has released a report which has criticised countries for scrambling to secure natural gas imports in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Report argues dash for natural gas threatens climate goals. [Reuters]
- Report signals 2.7C temperature rise by 2100. [Bloomberg]
Sharp increase in fossil fuel company representatives attending
There has been a 25% increase in representatives from fossil fuel companies from COP26 in Glasgow, with the highest number coming from the UAE at 70.
- ‘Explosion’ in fossil fuel representatives. [The Guardian]
- UAE has the most fossil fuel representatives, followed by Russia. [BBC News]
- BP Chief Executive delegate for Mauritania. [BBC News]
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