Will any good come out of COP27?

Energodigest | 18 November 2022
The twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) kicked off in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh last week. While delegates, representing multiple countries and organizations, discuss steps to contain global warming and curb emissions, environmental activists are pushing for ‘climate justice’[1] in fury over what they claim to be failed promises given at previous summits. And they have a point.

Global Carbon Project has released Global Carbon Budget 2022,[2] a report looking into the environmental situation on the planet. The authors suggest that, while the annual growth in carbon dioxide emissions has slowed from 3% in the 2000s to around 0.5% over the last decade, global fossil CO2 emissions are set to grow 1% YoY to the record-breaking height of 37.5 Gt this year (see Fig. 1), driven largely by increased coal consumption. Another important contributor is oil; though its emissions will be lower than in 2019, they are on the rise as air traffic recovers gradually after last-year’s mobility restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. By contrast, emissions from natural gas will drop.
Oil and gas companies are planning to invest heavily in expansion projects, which will inevitably lead to more emissions pumped out into the atmosphere and decelerate the transition to a net-zero future. So it’s no surprise that there are more than 600 O&G industry representatives at COP27,[3] a rise of 25% from last year. Such a large group of fossil fuel lobbyists, outnumbering some of the delegations (see Fig. 2), puts immense pressure on other attendees.

This is probably why we have not seen a barrage of headline-grabbing announcements or meaningful agreements at the global climate summit so far. Earlier adopted road maps and programs have not yielded impressive results either, with conventional energy to remain mainstream in the foreseeable future.
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