Sharm-el Sheik is a small city on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. It is tucked along the coast of the world’s healthiest and most resilient coral reef ecosystems, where the indigenous Bedouin tribes reside. It is located a few hours from the sacred Mt. Sinai, where St. Catherine’s Monastery is. Sharm-el Sheik is also the location of the most recent United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP27) Summit, which took place in November.
In the big picture, the priorities and impact for global climate action remain the same coming out of COP27 as they were going in—all countries need to do more to meet the targets they have set. Once they do, and others do the same, there should be greater confidence in making a new round of even more ambitious commitments.
At COP27, highly debated climate change topics were discussed as countries remain unable to meet the challenges and necessary resources to finance their way toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Due to the inherent risk appetite of banks, wealthier nations can borrow capital with lower interest rates, while poorer countries borrow at higher rates. This institutional practice set the discussion at the summit for solving the complex problem of funding the developing world while avoiding the mistakes of imperialism.
Key takeaways from the summit include:
- An agreement was reached to create a fund that would compensate and help small developing countries that suffer from the devastating effects of climate change but have released little of the pollution responsible for it. The final COP27 cover decision includes terms for establishing a loss and damages fund to help the most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged countries. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the agreement was short on details, and language around limiting the unabated combustion of oil and gas production was stricken from the final agreement.1
- In the future, we can expect financing to be scaled-up in the coming years across the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Most of this financing will be connected to renewable energy transitions and building out their communities on the ground.
- Indonesia, a massive southeast Asian country, will receive a $20B investment from the U.S., Canada, Japan, and six European countries to move towards clean energy.
- Moreover, the Climate Finance Access Network announced pilot programs on the ground in the Caribbean that will be underway in 2023 with scalability potential.
- The Africa Mini-grids Program, a country-led technical assistance program, has also been launched.
- Leveraging local indigenous knowledge is a successful approach to sustainable development transitions. Take the Bedouin tribe, for example, who rely on the coral reef ecosystem as a central part of their way of life. The Egyptian Government, over the years, has been very adamant about funding coral reef conservation efforts from Europe to involve Bedouin decision making. This same theme is being applied globally regarding green energy jobs.
Although there are challenges in unlocking and mobilizing billions in capital, enormous progress continues to be made, and such an event inspires reverence for those committed to holding warming under 2°C.
Image Credit: Rafael Henrique – stock.adobe.com