Recapping the UN Climate Change Conference: What You Need to Know for 2023
January 3, 2023
The 2022 UN Climate Conference (COP27) wrapped up in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt with influential officials from around the world weighing in on key topics and areas of concern as climate change continues to barrel forward at a destructive pace.
The 2022 UN Climate Conference (COP27) wrapped up in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt with influential officials from around the world weighing in on key topics and areas of concern as climate change continues to barrel forward at a destructive pace. The annual conference kicked off with U.K. representative and president of COP26 Alok Sharma stating that we are in a “critical decade” regarding climate change. In his speech, he called for collective “concrete action.” Additionally, there were ample conversations regarding fossil-fuel, including a call from 200 countries requesting a reform of global financial architecture in an effort to reform spending with climate goals.
In his speech, he called for collective “concrete action.” Additionally, there were ample conversations regarding fossil-fuel, including a call from 200 countries requesting a reform of global financial architecture in an effort to reform spending with climate goals.
While these conversations are critical, so is action. A recent report by Climate Action Tracker found that none of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters are on track to reach their targets set by the Paris Agreement. As we head into 2023, it is important to take a look at key conversations from COP27 that must remain top-of-mind in order to reach climate goals. For cleantech leaders in particular, we will need to continually engage in these conversations and work together to utilize technology advancements to move the needle forward.
US Climate Policy Global Discussion
The United States took historic steps last year when it came to taking action against climate change with new policies like the Inflation Reduction Act. The US also rejoined the Paris Agreement Act and recently endorsed the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which aims to curb the use and production of hydrofluorocarbons and greenhouse gasses. Additionally, the US announced its intent to strengthen its leadership to address climate change as a top priority.
While these policies are a step in the right direction, there were discussions held to examine the effectiveness of recent climate-policy packages and address potential challenges in the coming years. Success is not going to happen overnight. As the US works towards these goals, independent modeling and analysis will be key to map out what is needed. Corporations continue to announce plans to combat climate change but a recent report highlights that many of the biggest polluters have yet to take action. A major part of this problem is having no strategy in place to achieve climate goals. That same report found that 81% of the companies surveyed were missing a detailed decarbonization strategy.
Clean Energy Transition
It is no surprise that energy transition and technology were key themes at COP27. It was continuously reinforced that we must move away from a fossil-based economy to a low-carbon or decarbonized world. But this transition will take time. So how can we begin to implement change today? For starters, a new “loss and damage” fund announced at the conference will look at damage caused by climate impacts that “is neither prevented by emissions reductions, nor adapted to on the ground.” The goal of this fund is to help put more accountability on companies for corporate sustainability.
Another exciting announcement out of CPO27 was from the UN Secretary-General who shared a $3.1 billion plan to ensure that communities vulnerable to serious risk from climate change are alerted ahead of time in an effort to increase preparedness.
By using technology, the plan hopes to give individuals a better understanding of disaster risk, forecasting, preparedness and put a response plan in place. Preparing for human-induced extreme weather is not the only way forward but having over 50 countries agree that something needs to be done to help prepare for increasing severe weather is an important part of the puzzle.
Heading into 2023
One continuous theme from the conference was the overwhelming concern about the catastrophic effects facing the world specifically from an “emissions gap” report. The report shows that globally, we are not on track to prevent temperatures from exceeding what was agreed upon in the Paris Agreement Act.
Initiatives like the new Loss and Damage Fund will help us collectively take a step in the right direction through innovations, policies, market forces, and investments, all of which play a critical role in order to move towards clean energy. The reality is, climate change will take time, even with an increased amount of efforts from world leaders and corporations. 2023 should be the year where realistic goals are set and monitored to ensure efforts can be dialed up each year to make larger impacts.