More than 50 activists of all ages and walks of life swarmed the so-called “Blue Zone” – the main area of the UN-supervised Sharm el-Sheikh Conference Center – to chant “Stop funding fossil fuels! Stop funding death!”
Susan Huang, representing the NGO Oil Change International, was among the participants aiming to shed light on the fact that rich countries, as the UN Secretary-General noted earlier this week, are still pouring money into fossil fuels at a time when we need an urgent transition to renewable energy.
“At the G7 summit last year, there was agreement to end public funding of fossil fuels by the end of this year. But the International Energy Agency said that in fact the slow transition to renewable energy is what is exacerbating the climate crisis and the energy crisis. We therefore urge world leaders to deliver on their commitment and stop public funding of fossil fuels,” she said. UN news.
Ms Huang said these investments were also causing incredible damage, destroying biodiversity and devastating livelihoods around the world, and she was not alone: Dipti Bhatnagar, of Friends of the Earth International in Mozambique, said an impassioned speech that, if nods and enthusiastic murmurs of agreement were any indication, clearly resonated among all who entered the main plaza of the conference center.
“Rich countries want to grab huge gas reserves and people are dispossessed of their land. One million people out of the 23 million [of Mozambique’s] population lives in refugee camps because of the gas. We say no to more gas financing. We won’t let Africa burn,” she screamed.
Campaigners have made it clear that the best way to increase energy access around the world and meet the needs of the most vulnerable is to invest in community-supported renewable energy plans.
“Energy blueprints that can be controlled and operated by community members,” Ms. Huang explained.
A new AI tool to hold polluters accountable
Meanwhile, just two pavilion areas away, the UN Secretary-General also called on governments and big banks to keep investing in fossil fuels.
António Guterres was speaking at the launch of a new independent inventory of greenhouse gas emissions created by the Climate TRACE Coalition and led by former US Vice President Al Gore.
The tool combines satellite data and artificial intelligence to show facility-level emissions from more than 70,000 locations worldwide, including companies in China, the United States and India. This will allow leaders to know the location and extent of released emissions.
Guterres said data released by the initiative shows that because methane leaks, flaring and other activities associated with oil and gas production are underreported, emissions are many times higher. than previously thought.
“This should be a wake-up call for governments and the financial sector, especially those that continue to invest and underwrite fossil fuel pollution,” he told the COP27 plenary.
The unprecedented interactive inventory presentation, now live, saw Al Gore running around with a clicker, scrolling through slide after slide of weather-fueled destruction.
The famous author of An inconvenient truth known for being an early advocate for climate action, played video of an atomic bomb exploding on the massive 360 screens around the plenary. The booming sound left the attendants perplexed, but curious.
He aimed to highlight a fact he had shared earlier during the opening of the COP27 World Leaders Summit: the greenhouse gas pollution accumulated in our atmospheric traps as much extra heat as 600,000 atomic bombs going off every day.
“Two months ago in September, at the United Nations General Assembly, the Secretary-General told us about the heat waves in Europe, the floods in Pakistan, the severe droughts…and he correctly linked all of this to the price of humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels,” he reminded delegates.
Mr Gore said these disasters are currently costing the global economy dearly two and a half billion dollars a year.
However, he said, the world is at a turning point as solutions exist to reverse this disastrous trend, including boosting investment in renewable energy.
The importance of the new tool
Mr. Gore went on to note that while fossil fuel funding and subsidies are “insane”, the potential for renewable energy funding in Africa is being overlooked.
“Wind and solar potential is 400 times greater than Africa’s total fossil fuel reserves and it’s pollution-free and creates more jobs, but there’s a funding gap… That’s why this COP is paying so much attention to changing the global capital allocation system,” he said. He underlines.
He then explained that the Climate TRACE inventory, which combines reliable and verified data from more than 100 institutions and 30,000 sensors, can help governments target their actions.
“It prevents emitters from cheating,” he explained and revealed that currently the top 14 individual emission sources in the world are all oil and gas fields.
“One of the most striking early insights from this work is the scale of emissions from oil and gas production – especially those that have not been previously reported,” Guterres added, calling the data as a “critical source” of information in the effort. to tackle the climate emergency.
The UN Secretary-General stressed that the the new tool will be crucial for business leaders working to decarbonize their supply chainsfor governments striving to align policymaking with their climate plans, and for investors striving to track private sector progress toward net zero.
“The problem is even bigger than we have been led to believe and that means we need to work even harder to accelerate the phase-out of all fossil fuels,” he warned.
More COP Funding Highlights
COP27 Finance Day underscored that billions of dollars of investments are needed every year to achieve the rapid and profound transformations needed to address the impact of the climate crisis and to meet the goals of the Climate Change Agreement. Paris.
In various conference rooms, pavilions and “action hubs”, and in closed-door negotiations, delegates, activists, investment bankers and other stakeholders discussed the importance of bridging the gap of current funding in critical areas of climate action such as emissions mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage.
Experts agreed that financial impetus must come from all sectors, public or private, debt or equity, commercial or philanthropic.
“Finance is the biggest solution that can propel action everywheresaid Anjali Viswamohanan, director of policy at Asia Investor Group. UN News.
One of the big calls was to bridge the “adaptation gap”. According to the UN Climate Change (UNFCCC), project developers and investors should focus on preparing for and investing in projects that build resilience and protect vulnerable people from the negative impacts of climate change; drive systemic change and innovation for a carbon-neutral and climate-resilient transformation in the context of a just transition; and to protect and restore natural capital.
More commitments and initiatives
Also on Wednesday, with a pledge of $20 million, New Zealand was added to the list, alongside Scotland, Norway, Germany, Austria and Belgium, those who promised to finance the issue of loss and damage (payments to developing countries with low carbon emitting countries affected by the catastrophe of climate change).
Meanwhile, the UK has said it will allow payment deferrals to countries hit by weather disasters.
The Africa Climate Risk Facility, an initiative of the Nairobi Declaration on Sustainable Insurance, was also launched, with signatories pledging to underwrite $14 billion in climate risk cover by 2030.
US climate envoy John Kerry also hosted an event at COP27 announcing plans for companies to “buy carbon credits” and support countries moving away from coal.
Under the proposed plan, called the Energy Transition Accelerator, public bodies could earn carbon credits by reducing their emissions if they reduce their use of fossil fuels and increase the use of renewable energy.
On that note, at a UNICEF press conference, German youth activist Luisa Neubauer sent a clear message to world leaders making pledges at COP27:
“Don’t come here and talk about climate action while you’re committing to new fossil fuel infrastructure around the world. Don’t come here and talk about climate justice as fossil fuel funding explodes. Don’t come here trying to explain that money might be running out for adaptation and loss and damage as fossil fuel investments around the world skyrocket day by day.”
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