Welcome to EIA’s rolling daily diary of events taking place at the 27th Conference of the Parties (CoP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Check back each day for the latest updates from our Climate campaigners at the summit.
Wednesday, 16 November 2022
The tiredness is definitely starting to be felt among all participants who are juggling their time between events, panels and negotiations.
However, Wednesday again saw countries far from agreeing an outcome for this CoP, while host Egypt is urging negotiators to find a middle ground before the weekend.
Huge crowds gathered at the Brazil Pavilion to hear President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and representatives of indigenous communities welcomed him with moving dances and chants.
He reiterated his promise to end deforestation and to protect the territorial rights of indigenous people in the region, whose land has been exploited by loggers, miners and squatters under Bolsonaro’s rule.
Adaptation and the issue of Loss and Damage
On Wednesday, Frans Timmermans announced that the EU and four Member States (France, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark) will provide more than €1 billion to support adaptation in Africa, encouraging other Member States as well as development banks to join them.
The EU will also allocate €60 million for Loss and Damage to support an early warning initiative, climate and disaster risk finance and insurance mechanisms.
Timmermans also added that China should contribute funding to developing countries to cover the cost of climate disasters.
Small island states, which are at the forefront of climate disasters, expressed their disappointment after these announcements – €60 million will be nowhere near enough to cover the damage caused in their countries by climate change, to which the EU has been a major contributor.
While we are here in Egypt, head of state are meeting in Bali for the G20 summit – and their decisions might very well influence the outcome of CoP27.
World leaders agreed on the need to remain within 1.5°C temperature rise in global warming and to accelerate the reduction of coal use.
These decisions can hopefully be a basis on which to increase the ambition of CoP27’s outcome.
Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance
The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA), a diplomatic initiative of countries and subnational actors that have committed to phasing out oil and gas production in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, announced new supporters.
Portugal is the latest country to join and Washington State the newest sub-national core member, while Fiji, Tuvalu, Kenya and Chile have expressed their intention to join as friends of BOGA).
An initial $10 million fund is available to support developing countries in planning a just transition away from oil and gas.
It’s great to see some calls for a phase-out of oil and gas in a CoP that has been filled with fossil fuel lobbyists.
However, the success of this alliance lies on implementation – as ever, the promises made need to be turned into action.
A new draft decision on future CoP meetings has confirmed that the UAE will be hosting CoP28 next year. The date has been changed and the conference will now start in December.
UAE has already been hiring public relations and lobbying agencies to promote its role as the future host, widely viewed as an attempt to launder its poor international reputation – but despite such effort to portray itself as a leading global partner on environmental issues, 70 of the Emirati delegation are linked to oil and gas companies.
CoP29 is being planned for Eastern Europe, with Bulgaria and the Czech Republic signaling their interest, and CoP30 in Latin America and the Caribbean, with Brazil foreseen as the host in 2025.
Tuesday, 15 November 2022
The clock counting down to the end of CoP27 is starting to tick!
There are still a lot of pending issues to be resolved by the end of the week and to speed up the process, ministers are taking up a shortlist of issues to bridge the remaining differences while negotiators work on the topics deemed most technical.
However, signs are growing that major breakthroughs are unlikely. Deep divisions remain over key issues, including that of capping the rise of the planet’s temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels as well as the question of loss and damage — a term referring to the responsibility of rich, industrialised countries to bankroll efforts by developing nations to adapt to and mitigate the impact of climate change.
The Egyptian hosts are still hoping for a “meaningful and robust” outcome, while European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans calls for pragmatism. He also announced that the EU would exceed its original plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 with a new target to cut them by 57 per cent.
Tuesday also saw the arrival at CoP of newly elected future president of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with a strong statement: “Brazil is back”! before he met with John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua.
Already, there is chatter among delegates in Sharm El-Sheikh that the conference would go into overtime and not finish on schedule on Friday.
Climate and Clean Air Coalition meeting on methane
Tuesday saw a meeting of ministers from more than 40 countries which are members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) to announce new collaborative actions and reaffirming commitments to slash short-lived climate pollutants.
Announcements included new financial commitment to the CCAC from the US, the UN Environment Programme, Monaco and Japan as well as countries presenting their methane roadmaps, such as the UK which announced its methane memorandum, or updated their Nationally Determined Contributions to integrate methane.
All of this is good news, but we have to ensure these new plans are actually implemented and verified – and that countries in development receive the technical and financial support they need.
Don’t Gas Africa
A protest was organised on Tuesday by the Don’t Gas Africa campaign with a clear message – fossils fuels do not represent development for Africa and will only threaten the health of the communities and lands.
This campaign is led by African civil society groups to ensure the continent is not locked into fossil gas production. They call for a transformative, people-led process involving rapid social, economic and political change to achieve energy democracy and to deliver renewable energy assets into the hands of people and communities across the continent.
This campaign also comes in response to new investment in Africa by Europe, which is looking for new sources of oil and gas to move away from reliance on Russia.
The dash for gas in Africa will increase the risk of stranded assets, while investment in fossil fuel displaces investment in clean, distributed an affordable energy systems.
Allowing high rates of foreign ownership of Africa’s energy system pulls wealth out of the continent at the expense of African citizens, while locked-in fossil fuel infrastructure will do very little to improve energy access or to end energy poverty.
Take the example of Nigeria – despite decades of fossil fuel production, only 55 per cent of the population had access to electricity in 2019.
Kick big polluters out
Another action yesterday which was led by civil society was the ‘kick big polluters out of CoP’ action, notably in response to the 600+ fossil company representatives present in Sharm-El-Sheikh.
And talking about big polluters, the Coca-Cola company, one of the sponsors of the CoP27 summit, has been named the worst plastic polluter of all time, according to a report by Break Free From Plastic.
Monday, 14 November 2022
A new wave of people are arriving in Sharm el-Sheikh to attend the second week of the conference, notably the delegation of the European Commission as well as ministers joining their delegation. This created significant queues for registration this morning in the hot sun.
Negotiations continue this week, with a lot of work ahead. In previous CoPs, the second week has focused mostly on finance, but this year many other topics (mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, etc) are still unaddressed and will continue to feed debates.
Alok Sharma, president of last year’s CoP26 in Glasgow, warned parties of the decisive choices they had to make this week.
This CoP could be a turning point to keep alive the goal of restricting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, with a lot of countries already weakening the text of the Glasgow Climate Pact that was adopted last year.
Countries need to take concrete commitment and put in place action plans to effectively cut their greenhouse gas emissions, as well as phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies.
A roundtable was organised today on pre-2030 ambition which aimed to leverage high-level engagement to ramp up mitigation ambition.
Current efforts are not on track to stay below the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals. As outlined by the Secretariat, the implementation of current pledges would increase emissions by 10.6 per cent by 2030 and put the world on track for a 2.5°C global temperature rise by the end of the century.
Several ministers from climate-vulnerable countries called the report “heart-breaking”.
Monday was Gender Day, which amplifies women’s role in addressing the climate crisis by including more inclusive and meaningful participation in the planning and implementation of solutions and policies, as well as recognising that women are the most impacted by climate change.
A lot of events were organised to amplify the voices of women as they presented the challenges they face on the ground, as well as offering tangible solutions.
A group of indigenous women form the Amazon held a conference calling out the violence committed against their land and bodies, as well as exposing the failure of this event to take their recommendations seriously.
On Tuesday, attendees are invited to wear red to show their support.
EIA – along with Changing Markets Foundation, GAIA and the Ministry of Environment of Chile – organised a high-level, well-attended event at the Chile Pavilion, emphasising the need for rapid cuts in methane emissions to help safeguard the climate.
Panelists included Kathleen Mar, Research Group Leader from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam, who covered the science behind methane and its impact on human health, crops and carbon storages.
Also on the panel was Carolina Urmenata, Programme Director of the Global Methane Hub, who discussed the support the hub gives to countries and communities to cut their methane emissions, and Martina Otto, Head of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which helps countries to put strong methane action plans in place.
The conversation then moved to a panel discussion, with EIA Senior Lawyer and Policy Advisor Tim Grabiel, Mariel Viella from GAIA and Nusa Urbancic from Changing Markets, who discussed the potential of their respective sectors (energy, waste and agriculture) in cutting methane emissions and how this could be done effectively and cost efficiently.
This discussion also addressed the need for a new instrument, a global methane agreement to ensure the implementation of the Global Methane Pledge, and what this would look like.
The event was concluded with a presentation by Maria Heloisa Rojas, Minister of Environment of Chile, who discussed the actions her country is taking to cut its methane emissions. In December, Chile will pass a law to ban organic waste from landfills – we could definitely use more country’s such as Chile in the world!
A big thank-you from EIA to all our speakers and attendees for this very interesting conversation, which showed that methane mitigation is not only necessary to keep 1.5°C alive, but also easily achievable with some ambition.
EIA will host another event on Thursday, 17 November at 13:15 EET, which will be livestreamed via YouTube.
Germany has lodged a complaint with the Egyptian Government over unwarranted monitoring by security officials in its Pavilion.
Germany has been using its Pavilion to focus on the human right situation in Egypt, notably with Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Egyptian activist Sanaa Saif.
The German Press Agency reports that Egyptian officials took photographs and videos and disrupted discussions with lengthy interventions.
Closer to home, 11-year-old youth activist Licypriya Kangujam confounded Zac Goldsmith, UK Minister of Energy, Climate and Environment, with this question: “When will you release those jailed climate activists your Government arrested for protesting to stop new oil and gas license across UK?”.
His response: “No idea” and then he left.
Big meat lobbyist
We are continuing to add to the list of industry lobbyists we’ve spotted here in Sharm El Sheikh.
The meat and dairy industry is showing up with unpresented visibility at the venue. The lobbyists carry country delegation badges, which gives them access to negotiators and closed-door meetings – a very worrying state of affairs when we think about the impact that this industry has on climate.
Pro-meat lobbyist are working hard against any commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, even when this industry is the largest contributor to methane emissions and has an extremely high potential to slash its emissions via a number of low-cost measures.
Sunday, 13 November 2022
We are going into the second and final week of the CoP27 here in Egypt.
By this time last year at CoP26 in Glasgow there had been a plethora of announcements and initiatives launched, including on methane, deforestation and energy efficiency.
CoP27’s first week had seemed more subdued, with far fewer major announcements, meaning a lot more rides on the final outcome of negotiations here. There is a still a week of work to go, but many do not hold high hopes for ambition.
While it is a coup for the issue of Loss and Damage to be officially included on the agenda, on Saturday US climate special envoy John Kerry said of setting up a loss and damage finance facility “That’s just not happening” due to push back from developed nations which fear being held liable for past emissions.
Team EIA finally managed to find each other in the CoP27 complex for long enough to snap a photo, so here’s the EIA CoP27 dream team – Sophie Geoghegan, Tim Grabiel and Kim O’Dowd as well as Avipsa Mahapatra from the EIA US office.
As we enter the second week at CoP27, here’s a round-up of what happened on Friday and Saturday (only Sunday is a day off at CoP and even then it is filled with strategy meetings for various networks and organisations).
Friday was decarbonisation day and we saw some more events moving the focus from solely carbon emissions to the importance of non-CO2 climate-drivers, including methane and HFCs.
A side event at the US Pavilion showed that we cannot reach net-zero only through reducing CO2 but must also reduce methane and HFC emissions at the same time to bend the climate curve.
Friday also saw the arrival of US President Joe Biden, to much fanfare (we tried to get tickets to his speech but they were reserved for Parties only). He sought to add some momentum to the conference and reassure the world of the US commitment to curbing climate change.
President Biden spoke of the importance of cutting methane emissions, celebrated the US ratification of the Kigali Amendment to phase down HFCs and also spoke of the importance of protecting forests (many of EIA’s favourite topics!).
The US announced its new oil and gas rule expansion to reduce wasted energy and harmful emissions from covered sources by 87 per cent from 2005 levels.
This will be done through stricter performance standards, reporting guidelines, leak detection and leak fixing as well as emissions reduction at abandoned and inactive oil and gas wells (there are more than three million of these in the US).
Friday also saw the launch of the Methane Alert and Response Systems (MARS). MARS will identify methane hot spots and trace them to a specific source, which can then be reported to governments and companies so they can act on the information. The data comes from global mapping satellites and will be publicly available.
On Saturday, EIA facilitated a side event on the climate-saving opportunity of managing and correctly disposing of existing cooling equipment and the gases they contain (refrigerant banks).
Speakers from the Climate and Ozone Protection Alliance, the German Environment Ministry, the National Ozone Unit of Tunisia and HEAT International spoke at the event of the numerous climate and economic benefits and how the Climate and Ozone Protection Alliance is working to realise these benefits. The side event was livestreamed by GIZ.
Traditionally, on the middle Saturday of a CoP, a huge climate march takes place through the venue to meet the local activists outside and march through the city streets to demand climate action.
However, this year the march and all protest activity had to take place inside the venue only. The Saturday march was therefore a much smaller and quieter affair, unfortunately, as this is normally a great opportunity to remind negotiators and world leaders that the eyes of the world, the public and civil society are watching them and to demand good outcomes.
Alongside, the huge numbers of oil and gas lobbyists, it has also come to light that there are several Russian oligarchs stalking the corridors of CoP27, including many under various sanctions.
Gazprom has also sent an entire delegation, despite being under international sanctions.
Two paragliders flew over the venue on Saturday with banners trailing behind them – one of them was for ADES, an oil and gas company …
Today (14 November), EIA will be on a panel discussing why methane matters for the fight against climate change.
Thursday, 10 November 2022
The COP organisers appear to have listened to multiple complaints about water dispensers running dry and the price of sandwiches being eye-watering and have responded by slashing food prices in half and offering a free drink with every food purchase.
It’s better but still not great as the water comes in Tetra packs, even though the swag bag for the conference included a reusable water bottle that could have avoided this polluting waste if there were functional water fountains in the venue.
The queues to get food are still a problem, with many delegates complaining yesterday that they went without eating due to having to choose between queueing for food and attending vital meetings. Lack of food, as we all know, affects outcomes and we do not want that to happen here at COP.
Loss and damages
Countries in the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) have called on countries including China and India to also pay towards loss and damages.
Colombia published figures showing that losses and damages caused by climate change cost the country the equivalent of a COVID pandemic every year ($800 billion).
In a surprise turn of events, there was not one but two side events on climate-harming F-gases, chemical refrigerants widely used in air-conditioning.
The first at the EU pavilion was on sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), one of the most damaging F-gases. It is used in electricity grids, including in connections to wind farms. Luckily, there are alternatives on the market, which Nuventura and Siemens Energy presented.
The continued use of SF6 in Europe is currently being scrutinised in the ongoing EU F-Gas Regulation. The side event showed not only that the EU could do without SF6, but that it should share this technology with developing countries so they can leapfrog to F-gas free alternatives as their electricity grids expand.
The second event was held in the Japan Pavilion and focused on refrigerant lifecycle management – specifically, reducing leakage of the gas from equipment and recovery, reuse and destruction at the end of life of equipment.
Japan, Australia and the US were on the panel to showcase the ways they reduce F-gas emissions through better management and how they can collaborate to strengthen these systems.
Protesting for human rights
Human rights protests took place in the venue, with many campaigners wearing white and gathering in a show of solidarity for those whose human rights are being impinged upon by climate change and also by the host country Egypt.
Tomorrow (Friday), activists are set to wear blue to ‘flood the CoP’ with the message that fossil fuel polluters must pay up now for loss and damage.
NGO Global Witness has crunched the numbers and found that there are 636 attendees at CoP27 representing fossil fuel interests, 200 of whom are on government badges. In context, this is more than South Pacific Island nations representatives combined.
This unchecked lobbying power dilutes progressive climate action and makes a mockery of the entire CoP institution.
What do you know, Joe?
After surprisingly positive mid-term election results so far for the US Democrats, President Joe Biden is set to attend the CoP on Friday.
Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by a sizeable number of US lawmakers (although without a single Republican in their number), has stated that Biden has requested the release of more climate funds.
Team Energy Africa
Following Climate Home News reporting of convicted fraudster NJ Ayuk heading up a UN-supported energy initiative (included in Wednesday’s EIA CoP diary), the UN Economic Commission for Africa has canceled Team Energy Africa.
Wednesday, 9 November 2022
Wednesday was finance day at CoP27
New Zealand announced $20 million of loss and damage finance but unfortunately, according to Climate Action Network (CAN) New Zealand, it is just reallocated money from funds announced last year and not new and additional finance.
Austria has pledged €50million for loss and damage over the next four years.
US special envoy John Kerry proposed using carbon credits to speed up the clean energy transition. However, this is already coming into conflict with a new high-level report on net-zero calling out greenwashing and false net-zero pledges relying on sketchy offset plans.
The report also states that if a company lobbies against ambitious climate targets, it cannot call itself a net-zero aligned company.
On the ground
The wi-fi at the venue in Sharm El Sheikh was a nightmare for many, often failing entirely (the large and complicated venue requires wi-fi to access maps so you know where you’re, going let alone do any work including tweeting out action – apologies for a quiet Twitter front from our Climate Campaign account!).
In addition, the queues for food were long and daunting – all for an $11 sandwich!
Finding a water dispenser that wasn’t empty became an increasingly difficult task as the day continued – given the heat and the impressive step counts racked up in such a venue (mine is currently at 17,742) – hydration is key!
Some stark messaging came from the Blue Zone Pavilions, from Pakistan’s warning that ‘What goes on in Pakistan won’t stay in Pakistan’, referencing the recent horrific flooding which affected more than a third of the country, to the Moana Pavilion’s ‘climate survival tips’ posters.
Other pavilions seem to have missed the message and point of CoP27, with Canada’s playing host to tar sands company.
The Children and Youth Pavilion was the busiest and most lively of all, with delegates of all ages engaging. Vanessa Nakate, youth climate activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, called out those who have come to CoP to promote new fossil fuels, stating: “We will not let you gas Africa”.
This comes alongside Climate Home News reporting that NJ Ayuk is fronting a UN-backed alliance Team Energy Africa centered around investment in ‘clean’ energy. Ayuk is a convicted fraudster and big fan of gas, telling Africa Energy Week last month “Drill, baby, drill – that should be Africa’s message to the world. If you want to solve energy poverty, gas, baby gas.”
Aarsht Rockefeller Foundation and the Atlantic Council and their long list of partners, including JP Morgan and ClimateWorks, announced their Cool Capital Stack aiming at unlocking finance to protect cities and communities from extreme heat with an initial pipeline of $750 million for projects.
There were also a few panel discussions on green buildings and the importance of factoring in cooling demand – did you know that 80 per cent of the buildings that will exist in 2050 will be in Africa and these cities are being built now?
This offers a huge opportunity to build them right for the changing climate and avoid the need for mechanical cooling where possible.
China confirmed that its national methane control plan is complete and will cover oil and gas, agriculture and waste, with a preliminary target agreed.
The US and China have agreed to methane cooperation as well as phasing out coal and protecting forests
Outside of CoP27, France has legislated that every parking lot for 80-plus cars must be covered by solar panels which will generate the same amount of power as 10 new nuclear reactors – allez les Bleus!
Tuesday, 8 November 2022
Tuesday was the second and last day for world leaders to speak in the High-Level Segment of the summit before negotiators take over and get down to business.
The big news coming from leaders’ speeches included many developing nations calling out the lack of climate financing promised by developed nations and Mia Mottley (Barbados Prime Minister and climate superstar) calling on the oil and gas sector to also pay their fair share of climate damages.
(Side note – there are once again a staggering number of attendees representing the fossil fuel industry – they collectively outnumbered even the largest country delegation at CoP26.)
Tuvalu joined Vanuatu as the first two nations to call for a Fossil Fuel Treaty and to urgently move to a renewables-based just transition. Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano called on other nations to join them, so watch this space.
The issue of ‘Loss and Damage’ is on the CoP agenda for the first time, with all eyes on developed countries to see how the discussions play out. Scotland increased its financial contribution to Loss and Damage to £7m.
Discussions continue on an upcoming announcement from the US, EU and Japan on a new methane mechanism to tackle methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
We also hope to hear official announcement of China’s own methane strategy.
A new UN report was launched aiming to crack down on greenwashing, the practice of using marketing spin to deceive people into believing an organisation’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly when they are not.
UN experts also set out proposed new standards for net-zero claims to ensure an end to false claims which confuse consumers and policy makers.
(Side note – Coca Cola, which is sponsoring CoP27, has been accused of greenwashing on multiple occasions.)
After 145 nations representing more than 90 per cent of the world’s forests promised at CoP26 in Glasgow to “halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030”, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launched the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership and spoke of extending UK support, although not extending funding, before dramatically being escorted out by his aides, raising some eyebrows.
New Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is expected to join the initiative.
We are in the desert here in Sharm El Sheikh, but everything is kept icy cold with an abundance of air-conditioning.
While air-conditioning is a key adaptation tool, it needs to be used smartly and efficiently and rely only on natural refrigerants.
Unfortunately, initial signs as to the climate credentials of this CoP’s cooling are not good. Literally, the first thing we noticed in the venue were three refrigerant cylinders, two of R-410A (global warming potential of 2256) and one of R-22, which is an ozone-depleting substance on top of its global warming potential of 1960.
We will be looking into this further, so stay tuned.