5 Key Takeaways from COP27

We were lucky to have two UN climate scientists, Dr. Bill Hare and Dr. Peter Newman, in WA last week, sharing their insights from COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, at an event hosted by WA Climate Leaders. Here are the 5 key takeaways you may want to consider in your climate action plan. 

5 Key Takeways from COP27 for Australians

    1. A Re-commitment to the 1.5oC Target 
    2. Emissions are still rising, and the committed actions out of CO27 at Glasgow had us on a 2.8oC rise in temperature. Sharm El-Sheik CO27 commitments have reduced our trajectory to 2.5oC. It is therefore significant and positive that the G20 (group of the twenty largest economies) voiced its support for keeping the target within 1.5oC. If everyone were to implement complete actions now, we would be on a path to 1.8oC. Dr. Bill Hare stated that there is still a pathway to 1.5oC, but it is becoming harder as the planet heats.

    3. Fossil Fuels Industry in the Room
    4. 636 Lobbyists from the oil and gas industry attended COP27, an increase from last year’s 503. The war in Ukraine has increased pressure to secure other energy sources and pushed some parties against climate action.Natural Gas and LNG projects are the most significant cause of CO2-e rising now and into the future. Both scientists were adamant that Gas is NOT a transition fuel, and our infrastructure can NOT be repurposed for Hydrogen. Fossil Fuels remain the biggest source of Methane and Carbon Dioxide (CO2). CO2 stays in the atmosphere for 300 to 1000 years, and it continues to warm well after it has been released, so investment in LNG projects will have implications for the planet for much time to come. The good news is that investment continues to move away from fossil fuel projects. This could leave states and countries that develop these projects with “stranded assets” and a cost to be footed by the public.

    5. Spotlight on Corporate Greenwashing
    6. Many countries are relying on corporates to reduce emissions to achieve their targets. While commitments are growing, with over 12,000 businesses having set net-zero climate targets, their plans are only sometimes robust, and the result is not real. Offsetting and Carbon Neutrality is not the way forward to Net Zero. There must be absolute reductions, and creditable offset must prove additionality, meaning it is a real reduction and not part of business as usual. There will be a growing focus on standardisation and science-based targets in the coming years.

    7. Loss and Damage Mechanism
    8. Many countries are relying on The key agenda item for this meeting was a Lose and Damage mechanism for developing countries. Extreme weather can cost a reduction of GDP of over 15%. As extreme weather events become more frequent, the deficit grows. It has to be negotiated how developed nations will compensate vulnerable and developing nations for damaged caused by climate change.

    9. Al Gore’s “Super Polluters” List
    10. The largest independent inventory of global emissions was released through https://climatetrace.org/, which lists 70,000 highest-emitting greenhouse gas sources.

Here are some great resources to learn more:

Dr Bill Hare is a physicist and climate scientist with 30 years’ of experience. He has contributed to the development of the international climate regime since 1989, including the negotiation of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement in 2015. Throughout this time supported international and regional scientific assessment processes, including the IPCC, in different capacities to the present time. He is a founder and CEO of Climate Analytics.

Dr Peter Newman is an environmental scientist and the Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. He is the Co-ordinating Lead Author for the UN’s IPCC on Transport.

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