The 27th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP27) starts today, with adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change, energy security, global temperatures and the reduction of GHG emissions all high on the agenda.
The event follows the recent release of the UN’s environment report, in which progress on limiting a global temperature rise of 1.5°C, a pledge made over 7 years ago at COP21 in Paris, was highlighted as “woefully inadequate”, and a warning from the UN climate chief Simon Stiell that a breakdown of our climate is “close to irreversible”.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will reportedly make a series of announcements on energy transition, climate financing and forest and nature preservation at the conference, including a commitment to triple funding for climate adaptation from £500m in 2019 to £1.5bn in 2025.
An event will be hosted by Mr Sunak later today, in which a ‘Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership’ will be launched – a new group, initially comprising of 20 countries, aiming to stop and reverse forest loss by 2030, as per the commitments made at COP26 in Glasgow. As part of the forest agenda, the PM is expected to commit £90m for conservation work in the Congo Basin, a vital tropical rainforest which is home to some 10,000 species of tropical plants and several endangered species, including forest elephants, chimpanzees and mountain gorillas. £65m is also set to be added to the Nature, People and Climate Investment Fund to support indigenous and local forest communities.
The Government is also keen to highlight it’s “particular focus” on partnering with the private sector to facilitate green innovation and energy transition and reduce the use of fossil fuels both in the UK and the rest of the world. With this in mind, £65m is set to be added to the Government’s ‘Clean Energy Innovation Facility’, from which grants will be provided to researchers and scientists in developing countries to accelerate the development of clean technology. Launched in 2019 this facility has provided funding to support projects including the creation of biomass-powered refrigeration in India, prototype lithium-ion batteries in Nigeria and clean hydrogen-based fuels for steel production in Morocco.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to tell COP27 later today:
“The world came together in Glasgow with one last chance to create a plan that would limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. The question today is: can we summon the collective will to deliver on those promises?
“I believe we can. By honouring the pledges we made in Glasgow, we can turn our struggle against climate change into a global mission for new jobs and clean growth.
“And we can bequeath our children a greener planet and a more prosperous future. That’s a legacy we could be proud of.”
Meeting are expected to take place between Mr Sunak and leaders of a number of other countries to gauge progress on existing climate commitments, review actions to tackle the devastating weather conditions being seen around the world, as a result of climate change, such as the flooding in Pakistan, and tackle issues such as infrastructure, the boosting of renewable energy generation and storage, plus Net Zero ambitions.