The UN Secretary-General has warned inaction on climate change is ‘collective suicide’ at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27).
António Guterres, himself an engineer, stressed that there are no excuses to backslide on climate action, saying, “Cooperate or perish; failure to deliver on climate is a collective suicide pact.”
Members of Engineers Australia’s Policy team were in Egypt for the Conference – General Manager Policy Damian Ogden and Climate Lead Mark Bonner speak with create on their key take-outs and reflections on COP27.
“The first week of COP27 delivered some positive outcomes, including the Conference of the Parties formal agreement to Engineers Australia being a UNFCCC accredited observer,” Mark Bonner says.
“A highlight of the conference for me was my chat with Jeff Sachs, Chair of the UN Council of Engineers. He publicly stated in an IPCC session that engineers must lead on the science agenda as applied scientists and take charge of the necessary strategising and climate actions going forward.
“He invited me to have follow-up discussions with him on how we might better represent engineering under the auspices of the UN system broadly.”
Damian Ogden says Engineers Australia has engaged in numerous productive talks with government throughout the conference.
“We’ve had meaningful exchanges on engineering-relevant issues including with the Minister for Climate and Energy, Chris Bowen, Assistant Minister Jenny McAllister and Australia’s new climate ambassador, Kristin Tilley.
“Engineers Australia looks forward to engaging further with government post-Conference in the coming months.”
All non-state attendees at COP27 are attributed to one of nine constituencies. Engineers Australia is attributed to the Business and Industry NGOs (BINGO).
BINGO reaffirmed its very strong commitment to helping the world achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Key points include
- The establishment of a loss and damage fund for developing countries to access equitable funds in response to climate change
- Calls for climate finance including the need for refurbishment of the Green Climate Fund (GCF)
- Calls for carbon markets including emissions trading schemes and the technology mechanism.
- Calls for the establishment of a Climate Solidarity Pact that will aim for countries to make an extra effort in reaching the 1.5 degree goal.
Week One of COP27 saw world leaders and climate champions reaffirm their commitment to the UNFCCC’s multilateral and international rules-based system to address climate change.
Alongside the UN Secretary General’s comments, world leaders made some very firm statements including:
- COP27 President, Sameh Shoukry, who noted that “time is running out and the world is watching; let us come together and deliver now.”
- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi highlighted COP27’s theme as “together for implementation” and called on the war between Russia and Ukraine to stop.
- Al Gore, former US Vice-President, urged ending fossil fuel colonialism and the need for private capital to meet the US$4.5 trillion needs of climate finance annually.
- The UK’s outgoing COP26 President, Alok Sharma, reflected that over 90 per cent of the global economy is now covered by net zero targets, and observed that “inaction is myopic.”
- Egypt’s incoming COP27 President, Sameh Shoukry, said “zero-sum games have no winners,” and called for implementing commitments for the sake of humanity and the planet.
- The new UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Simon Stiell, observed that COP21 delivered the climate agreement, COP24, COP25 and COP26 delivered the plan, and now COP27 must support their implementation.
- The Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Hoesung Lee, cautioned that the world is not on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
As COP27 came to a close, UN Secretary General António Guterres stated, “From the beginning, this conference has been driven by two overriding themes: justice and ambition.
“The world is still in the emergency room – the world needs a giant leap of climate ambition.”