Tag: COP27

PhD students’ perspectives on the COP27 negotiations

The COP27 UN Climate Change Conference came to an end on 20 November. Since then, researchers have analysed the outcomes, highlighting both successes and failures. The SweDev secretariat asked two PhD students from Lund university who participated in the conference about their roles, experience, and reflections. Fabiola Espinoza Córdova and Alicia N’Guetta are both PhD students at the Centre for Sustainability Science at Lund University (LUCSUS) and are part of the European Union funded project Marine Coastal Ecosystems Biodiversity and Services in a Changing World (MaCoBioS). Alicia N’Guetta’s research also takes place in the project Recasting the disproportionate impacts of climate change extremes (DICE).

Research area and role at COP27

Fabiola: My research is embedded in the context of the MaCoBioS project and involves critically examining the implications of discourses on climate change adaptation.
In particular, I focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean and Barbados as a case study to understand how adaptation informs local planning, considering issues of scale and associated power dynamics. I participated in COP27 as a researcher from the Lund University delegation.

Alicia: My research topics are loss and damage, adaptation, marine and coastal biodiversity and livelihoods. Specifically, I have been looking at loss and damage to fisherfolks in tropical areas, with the main case study being Martinique, a department and region of France in the Caribbean. As a researcher from the Lund University delegation, my role at COP27 was to understand the interactions, the negotiation process, the framing, and the challenges surrounding loss and damage by different actors.

Expectations and their fulfilment

Fabiola: My main objective in attending the COP was to observe the discursive disputes on adaptation and adaptation finance issues, particularly between Caribbean SIDS and developing country negotiators. That is, what ideas on adaptation are supported by negotiators, how they are produced, negotiated, and disseminated, and by whom. In addition, I wanted to establish contacts with Caribbean SIDS negotiators and other intergovernmental organisations involved in supporting adaptation in the Caribbean.

I would say that overall, I met my expectations. I had informal discussions with several SIDS negotiators and gain insights into their views on the process, what ideas they agreed with and what arguments they used to justify them. However, I must conclude that the process did not go as smoothly as expected. The discussions on possible solutions, compromises and balancing positions take place behind closed doors, making it difficult to fully observe how consensus is reached and the power dynamics that unfold. In addition, the SIDS delegations were rather small, so it was difficult to get in touch with the negotiators as they were busy with meetings for most of the day.

Alicia: Before the COP, I expected the issue of loss and damage to be on the agenda. I was also curious to see whether the Santiago network would be operationalised and whether funding would be made available for loss and damage. Progress has been made in all these areas. I had also hoped to meet different types of climate change actors who were particularly concerned with my research topics. Loss and damage was institutionalised in 2013 and since 2015, article 8 of the Paris Agreement has referred to the importance of: ”averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change”. Several events this year, such as the drought in Europe or the floods in Pakistan, show the urgent need to work towards these objectives.

Learnings and conclusions from COP27

Fabiola: The most important thing I learned from my participation in the COP is the importance of framing and discourse in shaping negotiation processes, which largely determine the influence of parties in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) processes. While the media provides insight into some countries’ positions, it is invaluable to observe how the negotiations unfold and talk to the key actors involved for a better understanding of the processes.

I was particularly impressed and inspired to see how the SIDS parties fought for climate justice during the negotiations until the very end. While climate change has become a global issue and adaptation is now seen as a global goal to be achieved, financing for adaptation and loss and damage remain at the centre of heated debates between developed and developing countries.

The decision at this COP27 to establish a Loss and Damage Fund gives more hope to the most vulnerable countries to help them in coping with slow-onset events and climate disasters. The latter was seen as an achievement for vulnerable countries, particularly for SIDS. I felt privileged to be able to observe this process up close and look forward to incorporating this perspective into my research!

Alicia: COP very clearly highlighted the importance of science. Science was strongly considered in the discourses on why we need to act now, what we should think about and what our priorities should be. In my field of research, there are still significant gaps in conceptualising and measuring loss and damage, especially intangible losses such as loss of identity, biodiversity, knowledge, sense of place, etc. As scientists, we need to consider the context and the past, present, and future to fully understand climate change impacts.

I think that the COP, as the highest decision-making body of the UNFCCC is an important platform for all climate change actors to share, reflect and act to achieve previous agreement targets such as the Paris one. However, I strongly believe that a continuous increase in synergies between the three pillars of international climate change: mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage is critical to address this global challenge.

Read about the COP27 post-match analysis, where an expert panel shared insights on the COP27 negotiations.

Interviews by Roksana Rotter, Communication and Research Intern for SweDev. Edited by Roksana Rotter and Alice Tunfjord, Associate, SweDev at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).

End of COP27 – fund for “Loss and Damage”

The main gate of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP 27)

On Sunday morning, developing countries had a reason to celebrate: at COP27, countries agreed on a global fund for “loss and damage” that will provide financial assistance to developing countries affected by climate disasters. This fund is considered a historic agreement and is being celebrated as a possible turning point that recognizes the enormous injustices of the climate crisis. However, the deal of COP27 is far from perfect, as this the Guardian article shows.

The historic ‘loss and damage’ fund

Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, said that this was “an important step towards justice” for poor countries that have done little to cause the climate crisis, but are suffering its worst impacts. “I welcome the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalize it in the coming period,” Guterres said. “Clearly this will not be enough, but it is a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust. The voices of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard.”

Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations

Sir Molwyn Joseph, minister of health, wellbeing and the environment of Antigua and Barbuda, and chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, said:

“Today, the international community has restored global faith in this critical process that is dedicated to ensuring no one is left behind. The agreements made at Cop27 are a win for our entire world. We have shown those who have felt neglected that we hear you, we see you, and we are giving you the respect and care you deserve. We must work even harder to hold firm to the 1.5C warming limit, to operationalize the loss and damage fund, and continue to create a world that is safe, fair, and equitable for all.”

Sir Molwyn Joseph, minister of health, wellbeing and the environment of Antigua and Barbuda

COP27 deal – far from perfect

However, the deal was far from perfect, with several key elements flawed or lacking. Some countries said the commitments on limiting temperatures to 1.5C represented no progress on the Cop26 conference in Glasgow last year, and the language on phasing out fossil fuels was weak, wrote the Guardian.

The two-week long conference in Sharm El-Sheikh ran more than 36 hours over its Friday night deadline, and was marked by stark division and harsh words between the rich and the poor. At many stages, a deal looked impossible to reach. In the final hours, countries wrangled over single words in an outcome that spanned issues from the 1.5C temperature goal, the phasing out of fossil fuels, the needs and rights of indigenous people, the protection of nature, and how to engineer a “just transition” to clean energy for those economically dependent on fossil fuels.

Many felt the deal fell well short on important issues. Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission, spoke of the tortuous negotiations, which included some countries trying to unpick the 1.5C goal, and to abolish the requirement established in Glasgow for countries to update their plans on emissions every year. “Too many parties are not ready to make more progress today in the fight against the climate crisis,” he warned. “There were too many attempts to roll back what we agreed in Glasgow. This deal is not enough [on cutting emissions].” Timmermans said the language on 1.5C was too weak. “We are disappointed we didn’t achieve [more],” he said. “We have all fallen short.”

This article was first published by Fiona HarveyNina LakhaniOliver Milman and Adam Morton in the Guardian on Sunday, the 20 November.

To learn more about the outcomes of the COP27 negotiations and hear the insights of experts, join the online dialogue on 24 November.

COP27 – Launch of the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda

sunset, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

On 8 November, the COP27 Presidency, in partnership with the High Level Champions, launched the Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda at COP27. This agenda aims to focus global action on 30 adaptation targets needed to close the adaptation gap and create a resilient world by 2030. At the launch, COP27 President Sameh Shoukry and High-Level Champions Mahmoud Mohieldin and Nigel Topping called on all State and non-State actors to join this critical Agenda, according to COP27 news.

About the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda

“The Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda outlines 30 Adaptation Outcomes to enhance resilience for 4 billion people living in the most climate vulnerable communities by 2030. Each outcome presents global solutions that can be adopted at a local level to respond to local climate contexts, needs and risks and deliver the systems transformation required to protect vulnerable communities to the rising climate hazards, such as extreme heat, drought, flooding, or extreme weather.”

“Collectively, these outcomes represent the first comprehensive global plan to rally both State and non-State actors behind a shared set of adaptation actions that are required by the end of this decade across five impact systems: food and agriculture, water and nature, coastal and oceans, human settlements, and infrastructure, and including enabling solutions for planning and finance.”

“The 30 Adaptation Outcomes include urgent global 2030 targets related to:

  • Transitioning to climate resilient, sustainable agriculture that can increase yields by 17% and reduce farm level greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 21%, without expanding agricultural frontiers, and while improving livelihoods including of smallholder farmers
  • Protecting and restoring an estimated 400 million hectares in critical areas (land and freshwater ecosystems) supporting indigenous and local communities with use of nature-based solutions to improve water security and livelihoods and to transform 2 billion hectares of land into sustainable management.
  • Protecting 3 billion people by installing smart and early warning systems
  • Investing USD 4 billion to secure the future of 15 million hectares of mangroves through collective action to halt loss, restore, double protection and ensure sustainable finance for all existing mangroves.
  • Expanding access to clean cooking for 2.4 billion people through at least USD 10 billion/year in innovative finance.
  • Mobilising USD 140 to USD 300 billion needed across both public and private sources for adaptation and resilience and spur 2,000 of the world’s largest companies to integrate physical climate risk and develop actionable adaptation plans”

This article was first published by the COP27 news.