After a summer of elections we find ourselves, less than 10 days before COP27, in a framework of “multiple crises” that threaten to overshadow the climate issue. Yet many of the possible responses to these crises start from Sharm El-Sheikh itself.
COP27 is an opportunity to take stock of the commitments made at COP26 in Glasgow and to test whether policy can align with science while supporting the most vulnerable countries.
Even if implemented, the current emission reduction commitments of Paris Agreement signatory countries result in global emissions reductions of only -0.3 percent in 2030 compared to 2019. While the scientific community says that to stay within the 1.5-degree limit, we would have to reduce emissions by at least -43% in the same time window. The new United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report on the emissions gap notes that there is currently “no credible pathway to 1.5 degrees: only urgent system transformation can avert climate disaster.” The gap between security and insecurity remains dramatic. That is why the Glasgow Pact called the 1920s of this century the “critical decade.”
What about Italy? What role is it playing on emissions? A new national scenario-which we will present in a dedicated event at COP27 in collaboration with Climate Analytics-shows a 41 percent emissions gap between the commitments stated in the latest National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (NIPEC, 2019) and Italy’s calculated fair share of 70 percent emissions reductions. Clearly, more ambition is needed but also functional policies to implement the commitments made, otherwise targets and plans risk remaining empty words. Even Europe, with a 16 percent gap, must commit to doing more. While the RepowerEU package seems to be going in the right direction, it is now up to the member states to integrate it into the Fitfor55 package, which is the framework of European commitments to 2030 and the pivot of the Green Deal.
What path will the new Giorgia Meloni-led Italian government choose? Now is the time to move from declarations to policy choice and implementation. COP27, with the meeting of Heads of State and Government on November 7-8-where more than 100 leaders are expected-is the first concrete opportunity to demonstrate the new government’s willingness to implement its commitments. Following this, the G20 Summit in Bali on Nov. 15-16 represents a second key moment.
A breakthrough in climate action by these international fora can be measured by starting with three priority issues.
Point One: Will countries be able to demonstrate a willingness to scale up actions and emission reduction commitments in line with the 1.5 target-avoiding false greenwashing solutions or remaining gas-bound with investments in new infrastructure or new production? That is, investments that are incompatible with decarbonization in line with 1.5, as the new IEA scenario-the newly released World Energy Outlook 2022 reminds us today.
Second point: What will richer countries bring to the COP to strengthen the protection of the most vulnerable people and communities in the face of growing impacts? Will there be more resources available for adaptation but also to the inevitable loss and damage, already catastrophic in scale, such as the floods in Pakistan affecting 30 million people or the food crisis linked to climate impacts in East Africa?
Finally-and here Italy can play a leading role in the wake of the 2021 G20 presidency and toward the 2024 G7 presidency-will countries recognize the need to revise the rules and architecture of the global financial system to make it capable of mobilizing the necessary resources, estimated at 5 trillion a year to 2030, to achieve global climate security goals?
In Sharm El-Sheikh, the climate will not go on vacation but will demand a bill as the hands run inexorably toward 2030.
Photo by WikiImages from Pixabay