Power and renewables

COP27 is progressing over its two-week run, but is the energy transition?

COP27 is progressing over its two-week run, but is the energy transition?

Contact us:

Al-Karim Govindji

Al-Karim Govindji

Head of Public Affairs, Energy Systems

Read about COP27 here

DNV at COP27

With a combination of world leader presentations, climate negotiations, side events in the Blue and Green Zones, as well as several offsite workshops and summits, there have been literally thousands of sessions taking place.

But through all this talk, is firm action evidenced? The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stated most starkly, “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.” Al Gore, ex-Vice President of the United States, amplified this sentiment saying, “We continue to use the thin blue shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet as an open sewer. ” So, clearly, action is not fast enough, nor big enough.  

Earlier in the negotiations, there was concern that some countries wish to water down on the language of the Paris agreement. But a resumed commitment was made this week by leaders of the G20 in Bali, Indonesia “to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius”.  

On Loss and Damage, the presentations by world leaders in the first few days were followed by extensive discussions in the side events, but no formal text seems forthcoming on a finance fund to support the most vulnerable countries and island states.  

However, negotiators from the 200 countries appear to be struggling to draft an agreement at this late stage.  

Active participation across a range of stakeholders 

The centrepiece of every COP is the negotiations between the 200 member countries of the UNFCCC, with the side events discussing all areas of the climate agenda, including mitigation and adaptation efforts, a just and equitable transition, biodiversity, food and water scarcity, finance, gender issues, and youth, among others. But the good engagement from the private sector we saw at COP26 seems to have increased in Sharm El-Sheikh, with many more companies participating in panels alongside government ministers and other policymakers. This bodes well for continued public private partnerships, a critical piece of the transition. 

The wider topics discussed at COP27 

Energy Security  
  • There was plenty of discussion on energy security, and more often within the triple bottom line focus of affordability, availability and sustainability.
Equity   
  • This was exceptionally strong and central in almost every session. Many private companies are seeing the impacts on vulnerable communities, and the need for community engagement on new projects right from the outset.  
International Financing   
  • To enable the developing countries to transition there is a need to “re-wire” the financing mechanisms and workings of the multilateral development banks.   
  • The Green Climate Fund has committed over $11bn for climate finance to developing countries and expects to hit $15bn by the end of 2023.  
Mitigation   
  • Companies and policymakers had much to say about the traditional clean technologies of renewables for electrification, CCUS for decarbonizing oil and gas use, grid development, energy storage and hydrogen for the hard to abate sectors of heavy industry, shipping and aviation.  Hydrogen and ammonia were especially prominent through COP27, with a generally held confidence that it will play a major role in the transition.  
  • Permitting to drive development and deployment of renewables and grids and the need to speed up and create designated areas with pre-assessed environmental impact, as proposed by REPowerEU, was also seen as critical.  
Adaptation   
  • Economic losses from natural disasters are estimated at $343 billion in 2021 (According to the insurer, Aon). So, this topic continued to be a large part of the conversations at COP27. There is ongoing work form the OECD’s Taskforce on Climate Change Adaptation.  
  • On 16 November, Frans Timmermans announced that the EU and four member states (France, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark) will provide €1bn in funding to support climate adaptation in Africa. As Sameh Shoukry, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt noted after, this is a start but indicates the huge gap that exists between the commitments and the actual need. 
  • There was agreement by the Egyptian Dr..Yasmine Fouad, Egyptian Minister of Environment and other private sector companies and funds of the need for strong vulnerability assessment with solid data to assess outcomes.  
Oceans  
  • The US Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and Environmental Affairs called on countries for pledges to protect over 30% of the coral around their shores by 2030.  
So, while participation levels are high, with many world leaders in attendance, and much debate and discussion taking place, there is much more to do before the conference closes on Friday 18 November.

Contact us:

Al-Karim Govindji

Al-Karim Govindji

Head of Public Affairs, Energy Systems

Read about COP27 here

DNV at COP27