Kochi: November 11, Friday marked Day 6 of COP27, the international conference on climate change.
Discussions centred around adaptation (including promoting adaptation initiatives on mountains), the impact of climate change on food systems, climate finance for such systems, climate resilience strategies (such as climate resilient food systems), livestock and dairy sectors, and impact of land use changes. November 11 was also Just Transition and Sustainable Economies Day, with roundtable discussions about capacity building resources for the integration of human rights in climate action.
Informal consultations and negotiations continued, with discussions and disagreements on the texts and additions to be included in various aspects such as Article 6 (which deals with emission reduction targets including carbon markets). The Global Stocktake consisting of various roundtable events and technical discussions came to a close today.
The main theme however, was decarbonisation – which, per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is the process by which countries, individuals or other entities achieve zero fossil carbon existence, typically by reducing carbon emissions (such as those associated with electricity, industry and transport). Discussions revolved around decarbonising sectors including steel, fertilizers, cement and oil and gas.
“The climate crisis is existential, overriding and ever present and we need to look at every piece of the puzzle, including the decarbonisation of the industrial sectors that underpin the global economy,” said COP27 President Sameh Shoukry, commenting on Decarbonisation Day.
The agenda featured several sessions that launched initiatives including the Sharm El-Sheikh Methane Reduction Roadmap and the East Mediterranean Gas Forum decarbonisation initiative. The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization also launched an initiative to mitigate the threats posed by climate change on world heritage sites and highlighted the need to enhance crisis management and safeguard ecosystems.
$150 million for adaptation measures in Africa
Egypt and the US announced funds of over $150 million for adaptation measures to tackle climate change in Africa. The initiative was announced at a special session on “Advancing Adaptation Action in Africa”, co-hosted by COP27 President Sameh Shoukry and United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.
An additional US $15 billion investment has also been announced for the “Nexus of Food, Water and Energy Initiative” which will fund the implementation of an energy project (US $10 billion), five projects for food security and agriculture, and three irrigation and water projects.
The US also announced the launch of a new initiative to support Egypt in deploying 10 gigawatts (GW) of new wind and solar energy while decommissioning 5 GW of inefficient natural gas generated plants.
Protestors tried to interrupt US president Joe Biden’s speech on November 11 at COP27. Four protesters held up a banner reading “People vs fossils”. The Guardian reported that the protesters were US youth and indigenous activists calling on Biden to stop pushing fossil fuel extraction.
Healthcare workers including nurses and doctors protested at COP27 highlighting the impacts of climate change on health.
“1.5 to stay alive, 1.5 to stay alive,” they chanted, holding up placards while one healthcare worker performed CPR on a globe.
Indigenous communities, including the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation, highlighted the impacts of militarisation on the climate and communities:
Earlier, IPMSDL joins the Demilitarization & Climate Reparations protest at #COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh. In IP communities, the cost of militarization, air strikes, bombings & shellings emits tons of GHG w no carbon accounting. Most especially, it murders indigenous… pic.twitter.com/TcNcncADNr
— Int'l Indigenous Peoples Movement (@ipmsdl_) November 11, 2022
“Will you show us the money,” asked climate activist Vanessa Nakate, of Biden on another protest stage. “Will you deliver the money for our loss and damage finance facility? Will you stand with the communities who are on the frontlines of the climate crisis?” Nakate is also a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador.
‘Re-establish US as a global climate change leader’
In his speech at COP27, US president Biden apologised that “we ever pulled out of the agreement”, referring to the Paris Agreement of 2015. In 2020, the US withdrew from the Agreement, and in 2021, rejoined it on Biden’s first day in office.
At Sharm el-Sheikh on Friday, Biden said he wants to re-establish the US as “a trustworthy global leader” in the fight against global warming, and promised that the US would meet its emissions targets by 2030. He said that global warming posed an existential threat to the planet and promised the United States would meet its targets for fighting it.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s climate minister told Reuters on the sidelines of COP27 on Thursday that the country will not be satisfied unless UN climate summit negotiators unlock emergency funds for the country to rebuild after this year’s devastating floods. The floods caused a loss of more than US $ 30 billion.
“The political advances we make here will have very little meaning on the ground unless there is a transfer of resources that shifts the needle on how people face the future,” Pakistan climate minister Sherry Rehman told Reuters.
Methane crackdown by the US
The US will crackdown on methane emissions by plugging oil and gas industry methane leaks, officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday. Reuters reported that the US would tweak its 2021 methane rule so that it requires drillers to find and plug leaks at all of the country’s well sites, and not just the biggest ones. The Agency said that stronger rules would reduce methane from the oil and gas industry by 87% below 2005 levels and would help the United States to meet its commitment under the Global Methane Pledge to cut methane emissions economy-wide by 30% this decade.
Last year, the United States and the European Union spearheaded the Global Methane Pledge, which has drawn the participation of 119 countries.
Guidelines for clearer standards on net zero
The UN and the International Organization for Standardization launched a set of guidelines on Friday to help organisations construct net-zero emissions plans. The Net Zero Guidelines will aid net zero action by creating a consistent approach towards decision-making by organisations. The Guidelines will support all organisations, including those who develop policies, frameworks, standards or other initiatives on net zero for use by others, so that any organisation looking to make or support a net zero claim takes a similar approach regardless of the initiative it is associated with.
The world needs “clear, consistent and harmonised global standards on net zero” to “unlock the regulatory environment needed to help Governments meet the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Nigel Topping, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion. In a press release, he said that these Net Zero Guidelines can be used as a “core reference text” on net zero to bring global actors into alignment, ratchet up ambition and address greenwashing.
Global carbon budget report 2022 launched
The Global Carbon Project, a Global Research Project of Future Earth and a research partner of the World Climate Research Programme, launched its report on the latest trends in carbon emissions and sinks at a press conference on November 11. The paper was published online earlier in the day. It estimates the total global CO2 emissions to be 40.6 billion tonnes (or GtCO2) in 2022, mainly fuelled by fossil fuel emissions.
Emissions from land-use change (such as deforestation) are projected to be 3.9 GtCO2 this year. Emissions are projected to fall in China (0.9%) and the EU (0.8%). However, it will increase in the USA (1.5%), India (6%) and by 1.7% in the rest of the world combined.
Emissions in India are estimated to be 2.9 GtCO2 this year. Coal emissions are predicted to increase by 5%, oil by 10% and emissions caused by cement, by 10%. Fossil fuel fired energy sources are continuing to grow despite the high deployment of renewables in some countries (such as India), as per the report.
If current emissions levels persist worldwide, there is a 50% chance that we will exceed the global warming limit of 1.5°C in just nine years, the report warned.
On the cards today
November 12 is Adaptation and Agriculture Day and a slew of events will be conducted over the day linked to these topics. These include finance for climate smart agriculture, innovative tools by the private sector in agriculture and food systems, adaptation strategies and technologies including ways to foster climate resilience and agriculture sustainability to attain food security in Africa.
The Climate Responses for Sustaining Peace (CRSP) Initiative will be officially launched on the day. Informal consultations on Article 6, which among others also deals with carbon markets, will continue on Saturday, November 12.