Nicola Rodewald
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COP27: What To Expect and Why It’s Time for Action

Nov 1 2022 | 7 MINS READ

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COP27, Egypt, Sharm El-Sheikh

COP27, the UN’s Climate Conference, is just around the corner. This means the world’s eyes and our’s at goodcarbon will be firmly on the representatives of nearly 200 countries from November 6 – 18, as they discuss global climate policy and many other agenda items for years to come. The importance of this gathering cannot be underestimated. It marks a clear point on the calendar for accelerating our efforts to fight climate change, support biodiversity, and uplift underprivileged communities.

Every year we are seeing the devastating impact of global warming around the world, whether it’s flooding in Pakistan, fires in Australia, or Europe’s hottest summer. While climate action has been on the backburner due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, inflation, and the global energy and food price crisis, the need for transformative climate measures has become even more important. It is frightening to see the recent UN Emisisons Gap Report which summarizes that there is no ‘credible pathway to 1.5°c in place’ and that the ‘implementation of the current pledges will only reduce global warming to 2.4 – 2.6°C by the end of the century. The report further states that to really combat the climate crisis we require a ‘rapid transformation of societies.’

I couldn’t agree more really. COP27 offers a golden opportunity to do this. My hope is that we see a push for more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and real, tangible plans from countries on how they will implement their respective NDCs. Currently, plenty promises have been made to enhance NDCs, but few countries have actually done so. It’s what prompted the UN to recently state that the existing pledges do not go far enough.

The COP27 will take place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and while we won’t be attending in person this year, you can be assured we at goodcarbon will be paying close attention to the discussions and developments. Our investors Planet A, who we work closely with, will be in attendance, while several close contacts from our network will also be providing us with updates.

Here are a few key items on the COP27 agenda and what I’m expecting to transpire from the discussions on each:

wooden bridge

Implementation

As hosts of this year’s event, Egypt took the bold but necessary move to label this the ‘COP for implementation’. Translated this means transferring pledges into deliverables, action, and clear definitions on financing to fulfill the legally binding Paris Agreement on climate change that was signed by 196 countries in 2015.

However, naturally there are questions and pressure building on whether this will happen, especially during the war and energy crisis we currently face. For instance, at COP26 it was promised to double the levels of adaptation finance by 2025, but the pledge requires greater tracking, and we will watch closely to see what implementation measures are outlined here.

We, of course, believe strongly in the importance of timely implementation. There is no time for long debates. Everybody needs to contribute toward a fast implementation of measures against global warming. That’s why we at goodcarbon enable the implementation and scaling of Nature-based Solutions. While they do not contribute to meet the NDCs of countries, we work together with governments and administrations, but also with local communities and NGOs to ensure real climate, biodiversity, and livelihoods impact.

bud growing in soil

Adaptation

It’s no secret that the Global South is disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, financially and physically. The hope at this year’s COP is that greater unity can be found with representatives of climate-vulnerable countries feeling locked out of discussions for how to implement adaptation at last year’s event.

As the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed warned at the pre-COP meeting in Kinshasa “the window of opportunity to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis is closing”.  Looking at the devastating floods in Pakistan, the continuous storms in the Philippines and the massive droughts in Uganda, Madagascar and Ethiopia and many other African countries causing famine and death, the urgency could not be any clearer.

At goodcarbon we have put a focus on the importance of adaptation from the very beginning. All the Nature-based Solution projects we work with naturally focus on climate mitigation, but equally we seek to reward projects and encourage them to include activities on adaptation and resilience building. For instance, mangrove restoration projects protect coastlines from flooding and therefore reduce the salination of agricultural land and provide livelihood opportunities for local communities.

sunset with camels in foreground

Loss and Damage

Following on from the topic of adaptation is the contentious discussion of loss and damage. Developing countries are seeking greater support from wealthier countries to deal with the consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to. “Loss and damage” refers to economic losses, for example, in agriculture, forestry or fishery due to sea level rise, land degradation, or ocean acidification. It also includes non-economic losses such as loss of family members or traditional homes.

It is promising that this topic has made it onto this year’s agenda, particularly in the setting of an African country, where loss and damage are particularly prominent as seen by the exemplary fact that crop productivity has been reduced by a third in the past 60 years. If a breakthrough is established at COP27 with funding commitments from developed countries and real support provided this will be a seismic move.

Methane

Another prominent topic for this year’s event will be how to reduce methane emissions over the next decade. Last year the Global Methane Pledge was launched at COP26 and now there’s 111 participating countries, who are committed to reducing emissions by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.

The US and the EU launched the Global Methane Pledge Energy pathway in June 2022, which include $59 million in funds to support policy development, plus enforcement of cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.

With methane responsible for almost a third of global warming and having effects more than 80 times larger than CO2 over the first 20 years when it reaches the atmosphere, it’s equally critical here that words are turned into deliverables, action, and executable financial plans for how we will achieve reductions. At this COP27 the world will watch closely to see if further actions are outlined.

Having understood the science, at goodcarbon we also aim to contribute to methane emission reductions. One such way to combat the release of methane is via rice projects using a new method of alternate wetting and drying. With rice farming responsible for up to 12% of global methane emissions, this new irrigation method results in less bacterial growth in rice paddocks and therefore less methane release. Such rice projects are just one of the Nature-based Solutions goodcarbon will offer on its platform.

shot of forest trees from the ground

 

Article 6

One of COP26’s major outcomes was the rulebook of Article 6, an important paragraph of the Paris Agreement, which offers guidelines for governing carbon markets.

At this year’s COP there are expected to be further negotiations, developments, and clarification on how Article 6 should operate. For instance, we can expect discussions around the methodologies for applying corresponding adjustments to prevent double counting between countries, plus explanations on how GHG emissions avoidance should be treated under Article 6.

Finally, we expect to see developments to Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement which outlines the framework for a multilateral carbon credit market that is overseen by a supervisory body.

Naturally, given our work in the Voluntary Carbon Market, we will be paying close attention to the developments around Article 6 and especially around any implementation of the corresponding adjustments of participating countries.

As ever COP27 promises to be an exciting and controversial event and it will undoubtedly present several opportunities, ideas, and challenges for us to face together in the year to come. My hope is that COP27 will install more urgency and motivate not only countries, but also the private sector and individuals to take immediate actions on climate change. Let’s all increase our efforts together.