The Power of Working Groups

May 10, 2023By Grace Smith

The dream of keeping 1.5 alive is becoming an ever-increasing challenge to achieve, with recent scorching temperatures and wildfires multiplying faster than ever. Last month the UK recorded the hottest temperature on record, hitting 40.2C. France, Spain and Portugal all experienced forest fires destroying thousands of acres of land.

For the first time ever, global decisions are being taken on how to maintain temperatures below 1.5 Degrees C since pre-industrial times. Though technically achievable, this target will mean drastic transformative changes to our global framework and conferences like the COP, Davos and global ‘Climate Change Weeks’ are bringing vital decision makers to the table.

Takeaways from COP26

Doom and gloom aside, positive outcomes emerged following the two-week long COP26 negotiations. 53 countries signed up to the methane pledge, committing to cutting methane emissions by 30% by 2030. 145 countries committed to the forest and land-use pledge in a bid to reduce deforestation and promote sustainable land-use transitions. Despite the phasing “down” and not “out” of coal, reducing energy reliance on coal is a great step in the right direction towards adopting sustainable energy transitions.

Another win saw Mark Carney unveil the pledge for $130 trillion in assets from across the global financial community to help transition to a net zero economy. Article 6 of the Paris Agreement was ratified. The future of green finance will see carbon markets as a key player, with carbon credits helping finance climate-positive projects.

Looking ahead to COP27 and in the wake of a turbulent year showcasing the food/ energy and water crisis, one of the main focuses will be resilience and smart solutions of the future. With food instability increasingly stark and ecological crisis forecasting a 6th extinction, there is great need for transformative change ensuring ongoing food security, resilient cities, and social systems for generations to come.

DAVOS Decisions

At the core of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) DAVOS meeting this year was “History at a turning point: Government policies and business strategies”. We are at a pivotal point in history where decisions will either make or break our planet. This year’s message emphasized the role of our governments and industries in paving the way to a sustainable future. Part of the agenda aimed at ensuring businesses achieved their best to implement a robust ESG framework that is measurable and reportable, ensuring viable governance metrics and corporate transparency becomes the norm.

A stark reminder from European Commission’s VP Fran Timmerman highlighted a devastating biodiversity crisis, losing species 100-1000 times faster than the natural rate, impacting everything from food security to health. A new “Nature Positive” law saw Colombia trailblaze the global conversation around loss of biodiversity and nature risks.

At the forefront of global affairs this year is the war in Ukraine, catalyst for energy, supply chain and food insecurity felt globally. As the world shifts away from a dependence on Russian energy, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol warned that we cannot let geopolitical tensions undermine climate change mitigation targets.

What will NYC Climate Week bring?

This year’s New York Climate Week’s (NYCW) agenda speaks loud and clear, looking at the interconnection between climate, energy, food and global security. NYCW conference attendees will address how we can maintain targets under the Paris Agreement and the net-zero transition. NYCW hopes to deep dive into the specifics around what is stopping us from “Getting it Done”.

Why are we not meeting the commitments of our agreed targets aiming at mitigating and adapting to Climate Change by 2050 and why are we still insisting on investing in fossil fuels?

Panel discussions will revolve around how we can utilize green investment to drive transformative change, deep diving into scaling up investment where it matters, for instance sustainable infrastructure, resilient food systems and smart technologies, whilst maintaining racial, economic and environmental justice.

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