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Egypt to focus on adaptation, technology at COP27 in challenging geopolitical context

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Egypt to focus on adaptation, technology at COP27 in challenging geopolitical context


Still seeking progress on updated NDCs

Ukraine war must not be 'pretext for backsliding'

Progress slow on adaptation: COP27 representative

  • Author
  • James Burgess
  • Editor
  • Surbhi Prasad
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Energy Transition

Egypt's presidency of the UN Climate Change Conference starting in November will focus on climate change adaptation and the technology to enable this, the special representative for COP27 Wael Aboulmagd said Sept. 28, urging countries to put aside differences in what he acknowledged was a testing geopolitical environment.

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COP27 is seen as a critical meeting to check progress towards the Paris climate agreement to limit global temperature rises to 2 C above pre-industrial levels, and ideally to 1.5 C.

However, just 18 countries had so far submitted enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to set out how they are to reduce emissions further, ahead of a deadline on Sept. 23.

Egypt's special representative for COP27 was still hopeful that more countries would enhance their commitments in the coming weeks.

Countries are seeking further clarity around the Article 6 rules of the Paris agreement that govern carbon markets. Some developing countries have announced plans to ban the export of domestically produced carbon credits, to ensure they have enough carbon offsetting capacity to meet their own NDCs.

COP27 could set out more detail on how the use of voluntary offsets by companies will be treated.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed CORSIA-eligible credit prices at $4.15/mtCO2e Sept. 28, down from an all-time high of $8.72/mtCO2e on Nov. 23, 2021.

India and Indonesia are among countries already planning to impose carbon credit export bans, with more countries expected to follow suit.

Strained negotiations

Aboulmagd said the war in Ukraine would have a direct impact on negotiations, acknowledging the food and resource stress that has resulted from the conflict in Europe, and the strains it puts on climate diplomacy between the major world powers.

However, Russia's invasion of Ukraine must not be used as an "pretext for backsliding" on climate commitments, he said in a press briefing ahead of COP27 which starts in Sharm el-Sheikh on Nov. 6.

The challenges to progress on climate accords were reducing emissions fast enough, limited progress on adaptation and a persistent funding gap, Aboulmagd said.

Countries must now move from negotiation to implementation, and from pledges to action, he said.

Debt in developing countries must also be addressed, he added. Developing countries had the least historic responsibility for CO2 emissions and were already suffering the worst effects of climate change, he said.

As such, finance for adaptation, loss and damage must include concessional finance and grants, not just loans, he said. Just 6% of funding was in the form of grants, and not all of this was for developing countries, he added.

Aboulmagd said there were already "bankable" models for financing CO2 reductions, such as renewable energy sources, and emissions reduction technology. Financing, particularly from philanthropies, should focus on adaptation and the technology to enable this, he said, noting climate change was already a reality the world would have to live with.

Philanthropies should not "follow what private money is doing," he said. Instead, they should be strategic and aim to unlock new technology and provide financing for smaller businesses.

The negotiations between parties at COP27 was only part of the process, Aboulmagd said, noting that initiatives outside the formal negotiation process, such as the "race to zero" campaign supported by businesses and cities, were also critical to meeting climate goals.