Article Sustainability

COP27 and a ‘Way Forward’

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Between 6-20 November 2022, the COP27 (‘27th Conference of Parties’) conference was held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. This built on discussions and decisions made at the COP26 conference in Glasgow in 2021.

You may ask why is this relevant to the AGS?  Simply put, the effects of global warming and climate change affect everyone and every business sector. The UK Government set a clear mandate for the UK to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050, and for this to be achieved,  all businesses need to be aware of Government policy and start the process of baselining and carbon control/ reduction. The direction of Government policy is likely to be highly influenced by the outcomes and agreements made at the COP conferences.

A summary of the headlines from COP27 is listed below. Relevant items to the geo-industry are the ‘Early Warning System’, ‘Clean technology’ and ‘Adaptation’.

  • Loss and damage fund– Governments agreed to establish new funding arrangements, as well as a dedicated fund, to assist developing countries in responding to loss and damage.
  • Brazil is back– Brazil’s president (the elect) Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced that “Brazil is back”. He said: “There is no climate security for the world without a protected Amazon. We will spare no efforts to have zero deforestation and the degradation of our biomes by 2030.”
  • Emission commitments– The US also announced plans to cut methane emissions, leading to an 87% reduction by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. Mexico has upped its commitment to cut carbon emissions from 22% to 35% by 2030.
  • Indonesia Just Energy Transition Partnership–The partnership will mobilise $20bn over the next three to five years to accelerate a just energy transition.
  • Early Warning SystemAn action plan for the Early Warning for All initiative was launched at COP27, which will be able to give early warnings against increasingly extreme and dangerous weather to everyone on the planet within five years.
  • Clean technologyGovernments representing over half of global GDP set out a 12-month action plan to help make clean technologies cheaper and more accessible everywhere, as part of the ‘Breakthrough Agenda’.
  • More focus on adaptation – New pledges, totalling more than $230m, were made to an Adaptation Fund at COP27. The Global Shield Financing Facility was launched to provide funding to countries suffering climate disasters.
  • Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership launched– This will hold annual meetings with government representatives on progress to halt forest loss and land degradation by 2030

In a round up by Sarah Mukherjee, CEO of IEMA, who attended the COP27, she commented on COP27;

  • “Without the skills, without the training, and without education, there will be no green economy. These skills are not just for the office workers and the latte-drinking classes, but they are for technicians, for engineers, for people who are doing first and secondary jobs within the economy and are absolutely vital if we are to get where we need to go.”
  • $100 B per year required from developed countries for meaningful mitigation actions
  • The 1.5oC limit on rising global temperatures is still achievable …just

Therefore, it appears that provided the population is educated, trained and enabled to support a ‘green economy’, which will also require adaptation and use of clean technology, the target limit on global warming is still ‘just about’ possible, but the happenings during the decade to 2030 will be crucial. Everyone and every business can be part of achieving current targets.

The AGS is looking at creating a sustainability working group which will act across all the existing working groups to coordinate ideas, tools,  innovations and guidance to support the AGS members and the geo-industry in navigating the route to carbon net zero and support minimising climate change.

Article provided by Jo Strange, Technical Director, CGL