Global adaptation agendas and African carbon markets: Nine things you need to know from Day Two at COP27

Image: UN Climate Change - Kiara Worth

Monday and Tuesday (7 and 8 November) are the World Leaders Summit part of the COP – the two-day period in which prime ministers, heads of state, special envoys and senior ministers are all set to gather. At previous COPs, these Summits have seen nations announce major new climate ambitions and programmes, like India’s 2070 net-zero goal, and collaboratively agree on new measures relating to specific topics such as forests or cleantech.

Monday saw a set of rousing speeches from island state leaders and new climate funding for adaptation announced. But as more world leaders took to the plenaries to deliver powerful soundbites and make fresh commitments, what were the takeaway announcements?

Here, edie rounds up the seven key stories you need to know about from Day Two at COP27.

1) High Level Expert Group issues crackdown on net-zero greenwash

The High Level Expert Group on Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities was set up by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in March 2022 in order to develop stronger standards and scrutiny of net-zero pledges from non-state entities such as businesses, investors, cities and regions.

At COP27, the High Level Expert Group has outlined a new set of key recommendations to help these entities develop and deliver net-zero targets in a way that negates cases of greenwash.

The new report aims to build on the Race to Zero and Science Based Targets initiative by providing corporates and investors with time-based frameworks to deliver net-zero, based on short, medium and long-term targets.

The recommendations aim to crackdown on greenwashing and “weak” net-zero pledges that the Group warns could undermine efforts to deliver the ambitions on the Paris Agreement by reducing emissions in line with 1.5C.

Read the full story here.

2) Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda launched to protect billions of people from climate risks

Adaptation has been one of the key talking points during the early stages of COP27. Day two marked a momentous occasion as the Egypt COP27 Presidency has launched the Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda in partnership with the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, and the Marrakech Partnership.

The Agenda, launched during the World Leaders Summit at COP27, is a comprehensive global to-do list to help improve the resiliency of more than four billion people against climate-related risks. It outlines 30 “Adaptation Outcomes” to help protect those living in the most climate vulnerable communities by 2030.

Actions are divided across five “impact systems” that include food and agriculture, water and nature, coastal and oceans, human settlements, and infrastructure, and including enabling solutions for planning and finance.

Read the full story here.

3) First Movers Coalition pledges $12bn to cleantech 

A coalition of businesses supporting the development of new low-carbon technologies for hard-to-abate sectors, first launched at COP26, also made a major announcement today.

The First Movers Coalition has welcomed 10 new corporate members and confirmed that, collectively, members have pledged $12bn of cleantech investments.

It is expanding as announced a new sector-specific workstream on cement and concrete, whose value chains are responsible for 8% of annual global emissions. Other sectors already covered are steel, aluminum, aviation, shipping, trucking and carbon removal.

Cement is the second most consumed product globally after potable water, and the demand signal that top companies have set today for near-zero concrete will drive critical investment in next-generation technologies,” said John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.

4) Nations band behind African Carbon Markets Initiative

Much has been said about the need for a higher quality of carbon markets, indeed the UN’s High Level Expert Group on Net-Zero stated that these markets would be required for net-zero strategies, but as a last call of action.

Nonetheless, something needs to be done to boost the traceability and transparency of these markets, while assisting nations that need the most help protecting natural assets. It is noteworthy, then, that COP27 saw the launch of the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI).

The ACMI was inaugurated at COP 27 in collaboration with The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, with the support of the UN Climate Change High Level Champions.

The ACMI has a bold ambition to transform the continent into a thriving carbon market, that would see 300 million high-quality credits produced annually by 2030, unlocking $6bn in income and supporting 30 million jobs. By 2050, this would grow to 1.5 billion credits produced annually in Africa, leveraging over $120bn and supporting over 110 million jobs.

Nations including Kenya, Malawi, Gabon, Nigeria and Togo have all agreed to collaborate with the ACMI to scale the credit market. In total, the first seven countries taking part in the initiative could potentially generate 300MtCO2e of carbon credtis. Even capturing 25% of this potential, would be double the total credits issued across the entire continent in 2021.

The ACMI is also working with major carbon credit buyers and financiers, such as Exchange Trading Group, Nando’s, and Standard Chartered, to set up market commitments. This could help mobilise $500m from the start, at an average price of $10 per carbon credit. This could support the development and delivery of at least 50 MtCO2e, which is equivalent to the total credits retired from Africa from 2010 through 2020.

Commenting, Damilola Ogunbiyi, the CEO of SEforALL and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, and a member of the ACMI’s steering committee, said: “The current scale of financing available for Africa’s energy transition is nowhere close to what is required. Achieving the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative targets will provide much-needed financing that will be transformative for the continent.”

5) UK to lead green shipping commitments first pledged in Glasgow

At COP26, nations unveiled a green shipping initiative aimed at driving decarbonise across the sector.

The ‘Clydebank Declaration’ unites 20 nations in developing zero-emission shipping routes between ports. These so-called ‘green shipping corridors’ will act as a test-bed for emerging technologies. Bodies such as the Global Maritime Forum and World Economic Forum are foreseeing that a mix of technologies will be needed for low-carbon shipping, including hydrogen, ammonia, methanol and electrification.

The aim is to establish at least six corridors by the mid-2020s, which are likely to be shorter routes, and to add “many more routes”, including long-haul routes, by 2030.

Signing the Clydebank Declaration at COP26 was Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Marshall Islands, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the US and the UK.

It was announced on day two of COP27 that the UK, US, Norway and the Netherlands would be the first nations to commit to operating green shipping corridors and maritime links.

The UK and US will also launch a Green Shipping Corridor Task Force that aims to unite experts in the sector to unlock cleantech innovations to decarbonise shipping.

UK Chamber of Shipping CEO, Sarah Treseder said: “Green corridors can play an essential role in stimulating early action to adopt low and net-zero emission technologies and fuels. Today’s announcement is a welcome step in the international action required to decarbonise shipping.”

6) Africa’s first integrated green hydrogen plant unveiled

Much has been made about Africa’s need for financial support to combat the climate crisis, but it is also worth noting the enormous potential that the continent has in harnessing and utilising renewables and cleantech innovation.

One such project was unveiled on day two of the COP27 climate summit, when a consortium of businesses, Fertiglobe, Scatec, Orascom Construction and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt announced an important milestone for Africa’s first integrated green hydrogen plant.

The first stage of a facility was commissioned. Once fully operational it will consist of 100 MW of electrolysers, powered by 260 MW of solar and wind. The facility will deliver around 15,000 tonnes of green hydrogen annually to help produce up to 90,000 tons of green ammonia per year in Fertiglobe’s existing ammonia plants.

The initiative will be located in Ain Sokhna, close to Suez Canal Economic Zone. The project, called Egypt Green, will produce hydrogen from water and renewable energy sources and will play a vital role in helping to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors.

The consortium is now finalising the engineering and technology contracts for the plant, which aims to reach Final Investment Decision (FID) on the facility in 2023.

Scatec’s chief executive Terje Pilskog said: “Today marks a key milestone for Scatec, but more importantly, it represents a breakthrough for green hydrogen production in a strategically situated region. It is an honour to work together with Egyptian authorities and our industrial partners on this project and commence the commissioning of the green hydrogen project in Egypt during the UN world leader’s climate summit.

“We see a massive green hydrogen demand driven by strong policy support globally, and Africa is perfectly positioned to take advantage of its low-cost renewables and strategic position.”

7) UN launches fashion sector target consultations

Analysis of some of the biggest environmental certification schemes for fashion brands concluded that none of them are fit for purpose, with some having delivered “no measurable impact” during the last decade.

Conducted by campaign group the Changing Markets Foundation, the analysis assessed whether the world’s most popular fashion certification schemes and multi-stakeholder initiatives required brands to set and achieve ambitious enough targets. It also looked at what level of disclosures the schemes require from brands, and how much information on product sustainability the schemes provide themselves.

In a bid to drive sustainable performance across the sector, the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced that they have partnered to launch the Fashion Industry Target Consultation, which will seek advice on a new set of metrics and targets for the fashion industry.

The Fashion Industry Target Consultation will aim to identify and converge existing industry-aligned targets, according to the five priorities of the Fashion CEO Agenda: Respectful & Secure Work Environments, Better Wage Systems, Resource Stewardship, Smart Material Choices and Circular Systems.

The initiative is now inviting stakeholders from across the value chain, including brands, retailers, NGOs, manufacturers, data providers, innovators, intergovernmental organisations, policy makers, and more to share their insights on the performance indicators that could form a new commitment down the line.

8) UK joins global alliance for offshore wind

More than a fifth of capacity additions to the global offshore wind market came from the UK in 2021, with the industry creating enough green energy to power one-third of UK homes.

That is according to the Crown Estate’s tenth annual Offshore Wind Report. The analysis found that global offshore wind capacity reached more than 48.2GW, of which more than 20% came from the UK. The report adds that, by the end of 2021, the capacity of fully commissioned sites in the UK had reached 11.3GW – an 8% increase compared to 2020. Offshore wind energy generation in 2021 was enough to cover the needs of 33% of UK homes. In 2011, this figure was just 4%.

In another welcome move for the sector, the UK confirmed at COP27 that it had joined the Global Offshore Wind Alliance, which was formed in the build-up to the climate summit to spur deployment for offshore wind technologies.

The UK joins Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, and the US in joining the Alliance, which was unveiled in September by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Global Wind Energy Council, and the Danish government.

At a side-event at COP27, the UK announced its decision to join the alliance and build towards a goal of growing offshore wind capacity to 380GW by 2030, equating to a six-fold increase.

9) Sri Lanka’s ‘climate prosperity plan’ targets carbon neutrality

In the afternoon sessions on day two at COP27, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe took to the stage to launch his country’s ‘Climate Prosperity Plan’. The Plan acts as a roadmap for investment in the Sri Lankan economy with a key focus on climate resiliency and adaptation.

Spearheaded by a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050, the plan is expected to deliver an economic growth rate that is 1% per year higher, resulting in GDP that is 34% higher by 2050. Overall, it aims to mobilise $26bn in near-term project investments, including a 5GW wind programme.

Sri Lanka will increase renewable energy generation from 35% currently to 70% today, with pledges for transport, forestry, eco-tourism and water all being introduced. The plan has been submitted to the UNFCCC as the country’s long-term strategy under the Paris Agreement.

President Wickremesinghe said: “The Climate Prosperity Plan is the beginning of a radical change in our economy… I hope our plan is a pathfinder for other countries to be less polluting and develop a more climate-friendly economy. The Climate Prosperity Plan is the first plan we will implement in our overall national strategy for recovery.”

Click here to read the rest of edie’s COP27-related coverage.

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