Nov 16 2022 - Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

COP 27: Week 1 Recap

By Jesselle Macatiag

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Digital Manager, The Climate Pledge

A recap of news highlights and Climate Pledge programming from the first week of COP27, the United Nations climate change conference.

The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) began November 6th in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt with the goal of implementing action towards the targets of the Paris Agreement across public and private stakeholders. Over 44,000 people registered to attend this year’s summit with more than 100 heads of state attending—a number indicating that climate change remains at the top of the political agenda for many countries.

Key themes included adaptation, finance, and climate justice, and unique to the COP negotiations this year was the inclusion of loss and damage. Compensation for loss and damage is the concept that developed countries that have caused the problem of climate change should pay developing countries who are suffering the worst impacts of it. The issue is unlikely to be resolved in the two weeks of COP27 but will be an ongoing political issue for the future.

One of the big stories coming out of the first week of COP27 is the way in which non-state actors, like businesses, have been stepping up. Climate change is such a big issue that no one individual country, sector, or corporation can deal with the issue on their own. Collaboration remains the key to making progress: “Together for Implementation” is the slogan of the conference this year. One of the critical roles that we play as The Climate Pledge—one of the most ambitious shared corporate commitments on climate change—is that we can demonstrate that it is possible to be bold and ambitious and net-zero carbon by 2040—ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

Here’s a recap of news highlights and Climate Pledge programming at the conference.

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

Amazon and USAID Launch Effort to Boost Climate Funding for Women: Amazon is committing $53M to get female entrepreneurs funding to advance their climate solutions, and help the planet work toward a net-zero carbon future. As part of this effort, Amazon is working with USAID to launch the Climate Gender Equity Fund, which will make grants to businesses, organizations and others supporting women in climate tech. More here.

Signatory Maersk Warns Oil Groups: The oil industry is holding back a clean energy transition in global supply chains as a result of unaffordable green fuel. Unless production of green methanol accelerates and the cost decreases, Maersk has warned that they are unlikely to hit their ambition of achieving net-zero carbon by 2040. More here.

Corporations Back Climate Solutions: Top executives from 101 companies, including Pledge signatories Amazon, PepsiCo, Unilever, Colgate Palmolive and more, penned an open letter calling for companies to join them in setting science-based emissions targets and sustainability reporting standards. The Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders has backed more than 70 startups in 20 countries thus far. More here.

Apple & Pepsi Buy Near-Zero-Carbon Metal: PepsiCo, Apple and Rio Tinto are among the newest members of a corporate buyers club that has committed $12 billion to purchasing near-zero-carbon steel, aluminum and other products. Members hope to create greener supply chains and accelerate the production of clean technology. More here.

First Movers Coalition Commits $12Bn: The First Movers Coalition has 10 new corporate members who have collectively pledged $12Bn to cleantech investments which aim to decarbonize the heavy industry and long-distance transport sectors. The cement and concrete industry is the latest sector to join the coalition. More here.

Landmark Climate Lobbying Agreement: Unilever and IKEA’s parent company Ingka Group are among the signatories of a new declaration on climate related lobbying, indicating that they will push trade associations and industry groups to advocate only for Paris Agreement-aligned policy. The new Action Declaration on Climate Policy Engagement is supported by more than 50 firms. More here.

UN High-Level Expert Group on Net-Zero Emissions: The UN Secretary General tasked an Expert Group to clarify net-zero pledges and commitments from corporations, financial institutions, and local and regional governments and avoid greenwashing. The report asserts that companies need both long-term pledges and short-term science-based targets, detailed transition plans to be validated, and public reporting with verified information that can be compared with peers. (More here: APReutersBarron’sAxiosThe GuardianTIMEEdieProtocol)

IBM Sustainability Accelerator: IBM announced the five new members of its global pro bono social impact program, the IBM Sustainability Accelerator. This program applies IBM technologies to enhance and scale projects focused on populations vulnerable to environmental threats. All new members will focus on accelerating clean energy projects. More here.

Climate Action TrackerNew research warns that if current policies remain in place, the world will heat up by an average of 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100, and that even if countries pursue their stated, more aggressive carbon-cutting targets, we would still have an average 2C increase in temperature, which still fails the Paris agreement test of remaining under 1.5C. (Read more: AP, BloombergBarron’sReuters)

Asia Clean Energy Coalition: The new Asia Clean Energy Coalition (ACEC) launched with founding members including Amazon, Apple, Meta and Nike. The Climate Group, the Global Wind Energy Council, and the World Resources Institute are jointly running the coalition, with the aim of driving better alignment between energy buyers, project developers, financiers and policymakers, to accelerate the energy transition. More here.

Schneider Electric Targets Joint PPA Deal: Schneider Electric is pushing forward with its vision to reap the benefits of group purchasing power for clean energy, announcing it has pulled together a cohort of nine pharmaceutical firms with a view to jointly secure two-terawatt hours of clean electricity in Europe and North America. More here.

International Blue Carbon Institute: Amazon and Conservation International announced today the establishment of the International Blue Carbon Institute. The Institute will help mitigate climate change and protect coastal communities by supporting the restoration and protection of coastal blue carbon ecosystems in Southeast Asia and beyond. More here.

THE CLIMATE PLEDGE PROGRAMING

Bezos Earth Fund and The Climate Pledge Restoration Dinner

In partnership with the Bezos Earth Fund, The Climate Pledge hosted a dinner focused on restoration. Restoration is critical to delivering on the world’s climate and nature goals. When done right, shifting landscapes from degraded land to flourishing ecosystems not only shifts the environment but also transforms the livelihoods of the local communities. Guests heard Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr (Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone) and Gertrude Kenyangi (of Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN), Uganda) among others who are leading restoration efforts within their communities.

Andrew Steer, President of the Bezos Earth Fund, spoke along with Kara Hurst, VP of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon.

The Nature Conservancy Women in Climate Dinner

Kara Hurst, VP of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon, and Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, co-hosted the Women in Climate Dinner to celebrate how far we’ve come and how much further we need to go together. Kara Hurst and Jennifer Morris opened the event with remarks about why they are in the fight to solve the climate crisis. Guests enjoyed dinner, drinks, and healthy discussion.

The Climate Pledge Breakfast

The Climate Pledge hosted a breakfast and snorkeling excursion for signatories and potential signatories in partnership with climate activist Sierra Quitiquit and the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA).

Nour Farid, managing director of HEPCA, discussed that 25% of all marine life is supported by corals worldwide. And while the coral reefs in the Red Sea are some of the most resilient to climate change, they need to be protected as economic development in the region increases.

Follow along to the second week of COP27 on the UNFCCC blog or on Twitter.