UN Chief on the Closing of COP27
Statement on the outcomes of COP27 by Head of UNDRR Mami Mizutori
UN Secretary General's Speech - Antonio Guterres
COP27 President Sameh Shoukry's Opening Speech at the UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh
10 November - COP27 Press Conference
11 November - COP27 Press Conference
COP27 - TV, Interview with Dr Kees van der Geest, Senior Migration expert at United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security
11 November, COP27 - President Joe Biden: USA commits to meeting emission targets by 2030
COP27 Press Conference - 15 November
COP27 Press Conference - 16 November
COP27 Vodcast - The Lid is On
COP27 Press Conference - 14 November
“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish. It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact – or a Collective Suicide Pact,” the UN Secretary-General told over 100 world leaders reunited for the first official plenary of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27)
More photos from COP27 where the main focus on Wednesday was on preservation of biodiversity and linkages to climate action. Our team attended a range of events, including the main plenary negotiations which we can observe a series of side events organised at the pavilions of the many organisations attending.
One striking example of how biodiversity impacts was hearing from the mayor of a coastal city in Mozambique, threatened with severe flooding on account of local people cutting down the precious mangrove forest for firewood and building materials. The mayor explained how he had ensured alternative fuel through biogas and availability of different sustainable building materials and how this was preserving the vulnerable ecosystem.
Just one good practice among many showcased at COP. However there remains a disconnect between the COP Climate process and the forthcoming COP15 on biodiversity in Montreal which need to be more integrated.Likewise at local level in Canterbury and elsewhere, these processes need to be linked and coordinated.
We also heard from the Executive Director of UN Habitat (who we had also met at COP 26 in Glasgow) about the important Ministerial Meeting on Urbanisation and Climate Change being held on Solutions Day (17 November), which I will attend.
This allowed me to recall the Declaration on Sustainable Urbanisation agreed by all 56 Commonwealth Heads of Government at their recent summit in Kigali which gives important political endorsement to address the role of cities and urban settlements in fighting Climate change.
Last but not least COP has provided to meet and catch up with old friends from Rwanda and elsewhere and among other things present them with a copy of my book Global Citizen (Hansib Publications 2022) which sets out my international and Commonwealth work over 50 years. While much can- and should be- done by zoom, there remains a vital role for person to person contacts which virtual meetings cannot replace.
Yesterday focus was on energy transition with special attention on addressing needs of poorer people, not least in developing countries.
Literally dozen of interesting sessions to attend with many varied experiences from around the world. Listened to mayors from Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and elsewhere detailing what practical climate action they were doing in their own communities.
I heard some unexpected examples of good practice. Like the city of Austin in Texas, fastest growing US city, where the mayor has made great innovations to help the poorest in energy transition, even locating mass transit stations in low income areas to allow easy access to public transport and reduce reliance on private transport.
Around the conference centre you hear the sound of demonstrations from indigenous peoples and other activists calling for climate justice and reparations for loss and damage. Inside there is the buzz of the 33000 delegates and observers busy discussing and networking - and often getting lost in the confusing maze of rooms and corridors!
This week will determine if the COP27 has been a success but whatever happens in Sharm-el-Shaik, there is much real implementation of concrete climate action on the ground around the world, which is heartening. Clearly there is much we can learn from each other and COP27 is a great opportunity to do this.
The UN is leading calls for an end to fossil fuel use, but lobbying for gas has been a feature of this African COP, and there have been warnings that new gas and other fossil fuel projects are underway in many developing countries.
On Energy Day, there were stark reminders of the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also signs that the world is moving in the right direction when it comes to renewable energy.
Hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, and it represents to us a unique opportunity for a clean energy transition. The past years show clearly just how close to a climate catastrophe we are living. Climate change is an existential threat to a sustainable future. Facing up to the climate challenge is an opportunity to promote prosperity and a brighter future for all.
Green hydrogen (GH2) and its derivatives will play a vital role in that transition. Hydrogen is classified as “green” – a clean and renewable energy carrier – when it is produced through electrolysis powered by renewable energy. GH2 is a game changer for the hard-to-abate sectors such as steel, cement and the chemical industry, which cannot readily be electrified. It is currently the only way we have to decarbonize these sectors.
Women as key drivers of climate solutions, and the crucial impact that the climate crisis is having on our water supply took centre stage in Sharm el-Sheikh. Meanwhile, the negotiations on the conference outcome continued, with UN officials calling for ‘building bridges’ to deliver on the important issue of loss and damage. Due to the consequences of the climate crisis, women are currently having to travel further and further to find water, touching on the other top theme on Monday at COP27.
Human-induced climate change is not only leading to significant changes in the global water cycle making the precious liquid scarcer due to droughts and rapid evaporation, but it is also increasing the frequency of heavy rainfall events, as well as accelerating the melting of glaciers. These effects are especially felt in developing countries. For example, in 2021 alone, there were a total of more than 100 natural hazard events in Asia, of which 80 per cent were flood and storm events, a new report published by the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) describes.
I found the session on Oceans' Rights interesting -- exploring the rights using systems approach, how these rights can be a enforced, and leveraging good practice from New Zealnd, US. etc. on the rights of waterbodies and rivers.
There was some reluctance on using religious institutions -- claiming living entity status of oceans based on beliefs among fishermen and coastal communities, due to apprehensions that it could be devisive. Will try to attend another Oceans event today.