Investment industry must make progress at COP27 even if governments stall

Loss and damage debates will occupy high-level discussions

At COP26 last year, the ESG Clarity team on the ground in Glasgow and back in London were running around frantically reporting on announcement after announcement that impacted our investment industry audience.

I’ll be at COP27 this year, but it seems unlikely the experience will be the same.

First because, although Egypt would like to make this the year to focus on implementation, not enough previous commitments have been met to move this forward.

The $100bn to developing countries to adapt to climate change has fallen short, and only 23 of 200 countries have submitted their updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

It’s no wonder this year’s agenda so far is light on actual agenda items, as it seems much of last year’s conference will have to be reiterated.

In the agenda documents uploaded on the UNFCCC so far, the provisional agenda for ‘matters relating to long-term climate finance’ mainly repeats “more needs to be done” in financing the NDCs, scaling up private finance, and funding climate adaptation.

Second, just as high-level announcements might be thin on the ground, so too do investment industry ones, it seems. Last year’s launch of the ISSB, and pledges from GFANZ, took the spotlight, but groups also shared with us their commitments, reactions and progress.

With less than a month to go, the buzz to do similar this year feels somewhat lacking and there certainly doesn’t seem to be as many investment management groups attending (although granted, Glasgow was an easier commute). If you are going to be there, let me know at natasha.turner@bonhillplc.com

So, what can we expect to come out of Sharm el-Sheikh?

Developing countries will be ramping up calls for a loss and damage fund from richer countries causing climate damage in their countries, particularly after the flooding in Pakistan.

“Wealthier countries bear a moral responsibility” to help poorer ones recover, adapt and build resilience to disasters, said António Guterres, UN secretary-general. “Let’s not forget 80% of emissions driving this type of climate destruction are from the G20.”

Last year, rich countries rejected a proposal for loss and damage funding but a coalition of developing countries is hoping to put that back on the table.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is also likely to put food and energy security at the top of people’s minds.

The key to all this is, of course, how it can be funded, for which the investment industry plays a key role.

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Natasha Turner

Natasha was global editor at ESG Clarity, part of Mark Allen Financial, and a financial journalist for seven years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of the Year...