Congratulations: We’ve survived another COP.
There will be much more to say as we digest the outcomes of this conference, but a quick word on the cover decision.
First, credit must go to the amazing efforts of the advocates who have worked for literally decades to get a commitment on Loss and Damage. Much still to come on the details, but it was said L&D must happen in Sharm or probably not at all, and it did indeed happen in Sharm. We here at Methane Moment are cheering in solidarity with our friends who are finally, finally feeling some hope that help is on the way.
Second, obviously there was disappointment and no small amount of anger on the result around fossil fuels, particularly the exclusion of an explicit call for a phasedown of all fossil fuels, the language that opened the door wider for so-called low emissions energy sources which have yet to show viability, and the hedging on eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.
From our friends at GSCC:
The agreement struck in Sharm el Sheikh did nothing to address the causes of [Loss and Damage] impacts: the use of fossils and the destruction of nature. Countries failed to agree to a phasedown of all fossil fuels, building on a call to phasedown coal at COP26 in Glasgow. Perhaps this was no surprise: the presence of the oil, gas and big agriculture industries hung heavy over these talks, with 600+ lobbyists at the summit and a stream of gas deals struck on the sidelines.
This failure to move on emissions occurred even though the world has experienced politics-altering climate impacts such as flooding in Pakistan, Nigeria and Australia and drought in the US will mean support structures like the loss and damage fund have to work even harder. 1.5C was referenced in the deal, but only recognition of the goal. Pathways and plans to actually achieve it were absent. Holding warming to this limit will reduce the suffering of much of the world – what matters is real, rapid emissions cuts. We need leaders to break from the fossil-fuel industry once and for all.
Finally, on a personal note, this COP at times was extremely chaotic, from long queues for food and, shall we say, challenges with sanitation. And yet, for those of us working on methane, there were many new connections forged and existing relationships renewed, inspiring announcements made and exciting new avenues explored. We can’t wait to see what comes next.
Thursday’s ministerial was a smashing success, even though Special Climate Envoy John Kerry definitely had COVID. Before the dreaded virus took him down, he shared this great video that was shown during the ministerial.
There’s also this great video recap of the CCAC ministerial on Tuesday.
CCAC releases Africa Assessment: Air pollution and climate change are a deadly duo for Africa, and must be tackled together. Air pollutants and greenhouse gases often share the same sources and can be even more dangerous when combined. Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change, and currently, an estimated 1 million people per year die prematurely from air pollution on the continent. But there is a way to improve the situation: preventing emissions from short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), like methane and black carbon, is crucial for the world to stay below 1.5°C. Reducing SLCPs will help both save lives and protect the environment. Africa has a huge opportunity to continue developing sustainably, improve human well-being, and protect nature by investing in solutions to fight climate change and air pollution together. A new Integrated Assessment of Air Pollution and Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Africa from the African Union Commission (AUC), the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), developed by African scientists in a process supported by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), shows how African leaders can act quickly across 5 key areas—transport, residential, energy, agriculture, and waste—to fight climate change, prevent air pollution, and protect human health. Read the report here.
Thanks for coming on this ride with us.