by Fernanda Carvalho, Global Policy Lead – Climate and Energy Practice at WWF and CAN Ambition Working Group Coordinator
With COP27 looming, the world remains dangerously off track to meeting the global temperature target whilst countries who have made pledges, and promises signalling greater ambition during last year’s climate conference have taken alarming steps backwards as evidenced by less ambitious enhanced National Determined Contributions (NDCs), offering fracking as a solution for the energy crisis and turning to African countries for its natural gas reserves and in the process sending the countries it is extracting from further into brown energy infrastructure with the false promise of growth, and the world even further from the deep decarbonisation we need to stay within 1.5°C.
The UN climate summit, COP27, which starts in early November, is being presided over by Egypt and preparations are underway through various consultations. Heads of Delegations of governments and negotiating groups will be meeting for informal consultations in Egypt between 13 and 15th October focusing on Mitigation and Finance.
Today nearly 200 organisations from all over the world have signed a letter, initiated by Climate Action Network and addressed to the UN climate change Heads of Delegations, calling on them to show political leadership in this climate emergency through delivering urgent mitigation ambition and climate finance. This means a rapid and equitable phase out of all fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030 to stay below 1.5°C, and implementing policies and shifting finance towards a just and sustainable transition for a climate-safe future with wealthy nations taking the lead.
The urgency cannot be overstated. We are in a planetary emergency as stated repeatedly by the UN Secretary General. With every wasted year of mitigation action, the need for adaptation is increasing and the cost of loss and damage is mounting. In the last year we have seen successive extreme weather events rage through every continent. The recent hurricane Ian that swept through the US is already estimated to be one of the costliest storms in US history, with $67 billion in damages. Whilst in Pakistan, millions lost their homes, livelihoods and thousands lost their lives, the cost is upwards of $10 billion.
The decision text out of COP26 known as the Glasgow Climate Pact expressed alarm and utmost concern at the lack of ambition which has led us to a 1.2°C world already. As highlighted by the IPCC, we have all the solutions, it is simply a case of political will to enact them: the most recent WMO report – United in Science – demonstrates once more the worrisome lack of ambition and implementation. Whilst the IPCC, the Standing Committee on Finance and others have repeatedly shown the climate finance chasm as wealthy nations continually refuse to live up to their promises and to do their fair share.
In response to the ambition gap and the sense of urgency, COP26 decided to establish a ‘work programme to urgently scale up mitigation ambition and implementation’ (MWP) in this critical decade, and requested its delivery by COP27 complementing the Paris Agreement’s ambition ratcheting mechanism known as the Global Stocktake. The MWP is an opportunity to give countries tools and enhance cooperation to support the implementation and increase ambition of their NDCs.
- Define and deliver an ambitious, equitable Mitigation Work Programme with the objective to urgently enhance the ambition and implementation of Parties’ efforts to deliver global aggregate emissions reductions, in order to be in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. What this looks like has been laid out here.
- Deliver a decision which reminds Parties successive NDCs should represent a progression, should reflect its highest possible ambition, and can be updated at any time
- Reaffirm the need to provide adequate, scaled-up finance that is equitable and in line with climate justice.
We are in a dangerous time as political will ebbs for climate action and false narratives strengthen which can plunge us deeper into crisis. As CSOs we have made it clear what needs to happen and COP27 can course correct and deliver for the people and at the same time restore trust and confidence in this multilateral climate regime in this critical decade of action.