Karen Ho, Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)
The 27th UN Climate Conference (COP27) happened last week, and some major mainstream media outlets are showing some headlines saying that the government pledges are currently inadequate to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement goals to 1.5°C pathway. This was because of the report on “Emissions Gap Report 2022” published by UN Environment program last month (source: UN Environment program Emissions Gap Report 2022). It was said that the world is not on track to reach the Paris Agreement goals and global temperatures can reach 2.8°C by the end of the century.
Although it sounds depressing to read that, one should not lose hope and strongly believe the “death of 1.5°C”. We may feel that the progress for each countries are frustratingly slow at the moment, but the transformation is already underway, and it is accelerating rapidly. Thousands of civil society organizations, frontline communities, and the world’s most vulnerable nations have worked decades to install 1.5°C. Taking renewable energy as an example, according to BloombergNEF data, renewable projects announced in 2022 is 12% higher than year ago.
There are still a lot of progress we need to make, for example, phrasing out fossil fuels, which become a big challenge for this year due to energy shortage. In 2009, G-20 nations committed to “phase out and rationalize over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” – a pledge reiterated at their 2021 summit in Rome. Increasing the transparency of fossil-fuel subsidy programs was a key topic for discussion at the first meeting of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform initiative, held in October 2022.
BloombergNEF made an analysis of the fossil-fuel supports by G-20 countries and unfortunately only five of the G-20 countries have taken concrete steps to scrap fossil-fuel support and eliminate coal-fired power generation.
We expect a lot more debate on governments and pressure on capital markets to discuss how we can accelerate the energy transitions in the next few years to align our temperature to 1.5°C world!