• COP27: Progress on some solutions, but where’s action on the big issue?
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Laurie Stone

COP27: Progress on some solutions, but where’s action on the big issue?

In waning hours of U.N. climate conference, there’s optimism about new initiatives, but much frustration over lack of loss-and-damage” funds for developing nations.
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A large crowd of COP27 attendees outside at sunset
The sun is setting on COP27. (Laurie Stone)

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Today is supposed to be the last day of the COP27 U.N. climate negotiations, but talks are continuing past the official Friday deadline, as nations could not agree on funding to compensate developing countries for loss and damage caused by climate change. However, for some good news, Thursday was Solutions Day, and there were some exciting initiatives launched on electric vehicles, urban resilience, global waste and more. (Check out our previous dispatches from COP27.)

Loss-and-damage talks go into overtime

Wealthy nations and developing countries have still not come to an agreement on details for a loss-and-damage fund. Most climate COPs actually go into overtime (out of 26 past COPs, only six ended on time), and nobody knows how long negotiations will continue. In a press release on Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said, No one can deny the scale of loss and damage we see around the globe. The world is burning and drowning before our eyes. […] We cannot continue to deny climate justice to those who have contributed least to the climate crisis and are getting hurt the most.”

No phasedown beyond coal

The draft of the COP agreement released on Thursday calls for a phasedown of coal but does not include other fossil fuels, which some countries, including India, were calling for. The document can still change before it is finalized, and many are hoping that it will include a managed phaseout of all fossil fuels.

Solutions Day produces some fun acronyms

A handful of initiatives to help countries meet their climate goals came out of Solutions Day on Thursday, including a few with creative acronyms.

  • The Low-Carbon Trust for Urban Sustainability (LOTUS) focuses on low-carbon mobility solutions such as vehicle electrification and transportation alternatives for cities in developing countries. 
  • The Accelerating to Zero Coalition (A2Z) supports the transition to zero-emission vehicles around the world.
  • The Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation (SURGe) initiative will address some of the barriers that limit urban emissions reductions and help build urban system resilience in housing, water, mobility, waste and energy. 
  • The 50 by 2050 waste initiative will help treat and recycle at least 50% of the solid waste produced in Africa by 2050.

More countries tackle methane

At least 150 countries have now signed the Global Methane Pledge to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030, 50 more countries than had signed the agreement at the time of last year’s COP. And although China didn’t sign, it developed a draft plan to curb its methane emissions.

RMI and the Clean Air Task Force launched a new digital platform to connect satellite data with best practices to mitigate methane from waste, which produces almost 20% of global methane emissions.

🌫️ Read about other COP27 announcements on initiatives to tackle methane, a super-potent greenhouse gas.

Stay tuned for an overview of big COP27 developments after the conference wraps up. 

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Laurie Stone is the managing editor for RMI. She has a master's degree in energy engineering and has been writing about renewable energy and the clean energy transition for more than three decades.