C2ES on the conclusion of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh

November 20, 2022

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) on the conclusion of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh

  • Statement of Vice President of International Strategies Kaveh Guilanpour, and
  • Statement of President Nathaniel Keohane

Kaveh Guilanpour, Vice President of International Strategies:

“Against all the odds, and after protracted and tense negotiations that extended well past its scheduled end date, countries at COP27 reached agreement on a way forward on providing loss and damage finance to help the world’s most vulnerable countries cope with the devastating impacts of climate change, as well as on a work programme to urgently scale up and implement action to reduce emissions.

“That this outcome was achieved in the face of great geopolitical and economic challenges shows that addressing the climate crisis remains at the top of global political priorities. And that is perhaps the most important signal from COP27. There has been no backsliding.

“The agreement on loss and damage finance – a highly contentious issue and the top demand of developing countries — will offer a glimmer of hope to the most vulnerable people around the world, who are already suffering the devasting impacts of human caused climate change.

“Importantly COP27 has also agreed on a work programme to urgently scale up and implement action to reduce emissions in what has been called the ‘critical decade’ – a decade in which emissions of carbon dioxide need to be cut in half, consistent with achieving global net zero emissions by 2050.

“While the conference’s achievements do not fully respond to the urgency of the climate emergency, they do help to accelerate us along the path toward doing so.

“Achieving a significant outcome at COP27 was always going to be difficult, given both the high expectations of responding to the gap in ambition needed to stay on track to remain within the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit of the Paris Agreement, combined with the thin negotiating outcomes mandated for delivery in Sharm El-Sheikh. COP27 was never going to end in a fanfare. But it has ended in modest but real success, despite the challenging context.”

Nathaniel Keohane, President:

“In the big picture, the priorities for global climate action remain the same coming out of COP27 as they were going in: Countries must do more to meet the targets they have set. Once they do, and see other countries doing the same, they will have the confidence and the competence to make a new round of more ambitious commitments. That ratcheting up of ambition is the vital engine of the Paris Agreement and must be the focus going forward.

“One of the most important developments of the past two weeks didn’t happen at COP27, but rather at the G20 meeting in Bali, where Presidents Biden and Xi agreed to resume formal climate talks between the world’s two largest emitters. With the United States and China together accounting for two-fifths of climate pollution, any sign of thawing between them is good news for a rapidly warming planet.

“Coming out of the COP, the immediate priority for the White House must be to speed the implementation of the climate and clean energy provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure bill and Inflation Reduction Act. Meeting the U.S. target of cutting emissions 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 will take concerted effort across the whole of government, along with actions by states and businesses around the country.

“Meanwhile, in a newly divided Congress, climate could be a surprising area of bipartisan progress. Ramping up clean energy technology R&D, boosting the competitiveness of U.S. industries, and advancing nature-based solutions all offer potential for cooperation that can help America thrive in the global low-carbon economy. The question facing the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives will be whether and how they choose to contribute.”

To reach a C2ES expert, contact Alec Gerlach at press@c2es.org.

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) works to secure a safe and stable climate, by accelerating the global transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and a thriving, just, and resilient economy. Learn more at www.c2es.org.