Grangegorman campus

 

TU Dublin Students Present #COPDrop – a collaborative and multi-disciplinary COP27 commentary project

green graphic with COPDrop project title

COP27, being held in Egypt from 06 - 18 November, 2022, is the latest in an ongoing series of meetings of the signatory countries to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

During November, students across TU Dublin will document the COP27 event as it happens, giving daily summaries of the day's activities and highlighting significant outcomes in the discussions. In addition, first and third-year Environmental Management students and part-time postgraduate Sustainability Leadership in Business students will be monitoring media coverage of the COP and reporting on it. Students and participating staff will be developing several short interviews with politicians, and those engaging in COP27 and climate change policy development in Ireland and Europe.

What is COP, and why is it important?

There is an urgent need to address the challenges and impacts of global climate change that are ongoing and growing. News that Europe is seeing temperature rises that are double that of the rest of the globe brings into focus the fact that these changes are happening now and happening at rates that were not thought possible in the recent past.

At the COP meetings, national representatives gather to determine what actions will be focused on in the coming years to address the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. At Paris, there was an agreement to limit global temperature rises to well below 2.0 °C and 1.5 °C if possible. In addition, there is hope that COP27 will deliver a solution to how developing countries that are bearing the worst climate impacts while having the lowest greenhouse gas emissions can be helped through finance that compensates for loss and damage.

We start with Ciarán Cuffe, Green party MEP for Dublin, who outlines the value of the COP process internationally and form an Irish and European perspective.

COPDrop presents a message from Asfand Bakht Yar. Asfand is a graduate of Sustainable Development MSc from TU Dublin, and is currently studying for a PhD on Climate Change Education in Higher Education in Ireland. He is a native of Pakistan and has worked on environmental education and awareness raising with NGOs in Ireland for the past three years. In this short video, Asfand outlines the impact of recent flooding in Pakistan and identifies the need for international action on finance to address climate impacts in Pakistan.

Thematic days

Students on the PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business programme are analysing media narratives emerging from COP27 and sharing these on discussion posts for the class. Year 1 and 3 students from Environmental Management and Planning are reviewing and reporting on COP27 Thematic Days.

COP27 – ‘Show me the Money’  - Alan Hobbs

The build-up to COP27 had finance at centre stage across the World. Developing Economies who were bearing the brunt of climate change would require substantial financial assistance if they were to help the rest of the World meet targets on climate reduction and stop or slow down the catastrophic changes and extreme weather patterns. Estimates cited from an UN environment adaptation gap report put the figure at high as $340 billion per annum.

The increasing extreme weather events in 2022 alone, including Pakistan almost covered in water, has hammered home that Finance was the hot topic of the COP27 and Mia Mottley Prime Minister of Barbados set the tone for putting Finance for smaller economies at the fore with her opening address.

So how did it go? I was a bit overwhelmed (given our time pressure to report) on the breath of Finance initiatives raised, including financial instruments, policies, debt for environmental swaps and the various tools that could be used. I was awestruck at the figures proposed; the DaijiWorld reported that between $4-7 TRILLION per annum would be required to deliver on Paris agreement targets for sustainable development.

Despite the detainment of more than 100 activists to date during COP27, the Youth Activists in particular continue to lead and the demonstration of the day for me was the coalition of groups calling for the end of financing for fossil fuels, particularly from Asian powerhouses.

Some of the grants announced by various governments and foundations to help developing countries build and strengthen their resilience and deliver on global ambitions for sustainable development were interesting; 

  • Bill and Melinda Gates $1.4 billion for smallholder farms in Africa
  • A trebling of the UK commitmentfrom 2019 figures for climate adaptation (£1.5 billion) which is on top of their tens of billions to enable climate action
  • The Irish Government €10m to the Global Shield Initiative for 2023 to help protect the most vulnerable (although I am inclined to agree with the Irish examiner that even by doubling our total commitments to climate finance  to €225m it seems on the low side in comparison to our wealth)

References and links

UN Environment Adaptation report Adaptation Gap Report 2022 | UNEP - UN Environment Programme

Yale Climate connections - World rocked by 29 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2022 » Yale Climate Connections

Euro News COP27: It's important to discuss climate reparations, Ursula von der Leyen tells Euronews

DaijiWorld Finance takes centre stage at COP27 climate talks - Daijiworld.com

Oil change international Climate activists demand end to public finance for fossil fuels at COP27 - Oil Change International (priceofoil.org)

 

COP27 Finance First  - Sarah Kerrigan

In the days leading up to COP27 we were treated to strong views from media commentaries.  This year’s severe weather events in vulnerable parts of the world provided the backdrop (and evidence) to many articles and posts. 

  • UNICEF reported that severe flooding is impacting more than 27.7 million children in 27 countries and includes a distressing picture of a family in Chad. 
  • The Irish Times led with the headline ‘Cop27: Humanity on ‘highway to climate hell with foot on accelerator’ as UN secretary general António Guterres attacks global leadership about the failure to confront the climate crisis. 
  • In the Guardian, Nina Lakhani discussed climate justice and suffering of many nations - 37 million facing hunger and starvation in the greater Horn of Africa and a third of Pakistan under water.  She explains Loss and Damage, accountability, economic costs and non-economic costs such as human dignity and biodiversity.

Island nations and climate vulnerable countries raised loss and damage 30 years ago, yet this is the first time it is an agenda item.  Worth noting that there’s a caveat to the new agenda item – no liability, it is based on cooperation.   There’s also a question mark over the event sponsor and the 1000’s of flights taken to attend.

At COP27, Finance is described as the cornerstone for implementing climate actions and scaling up ambition.  Further research on the many acronyms (SNLD, GST, NCQG*) listed during the coverage, outlined that by 2030 the economic costs in developing countries could reach 290-580 billion USD. On day 3, there were many country pledges, these must be new and not repurposed.  On RTE news (I scroll down), our Taoiseach announced that Ireland would donate €10m and will do everything in its power to ensure a sustainable planet.  We await further update!

References and links

Over 27 million children at risk from devastating record-setting floods (08/11/22) news.un.org/en/story/2022/11/1130322

Cop27: Humanity on ‘highway to climate hell with foot on accelerator’, warns UN chief (07/11/22) - www.irishtimes.com/world/2022/11/07/humanity-on-highway-to-climate-hell-with-foot-on-accelerator-warns-un-chief/

Climate ‘loss and damage’: why it’s such a big deal at Cop27 (05/11/22) - www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/05/climate-loss-and-damage-why-its-such-a-big-deal-at-cop27

Taoiseach asks leaders not to 'waste a second more' at COP27 (08/11/22) - www.rte.ie/news/world/2022/1108/1333804-cop-27/

Coke at COP - Episode 264 of the Sustainababble podcast

twitter.com/LossandDamage 

 

Youth and Future Generation, where are we now? by Lauren Hanlon, Environmental Management BSc

Youth play a vital role in today’s changing world. Young people hold the key to creating a bright and better future. In today’s world the ‘youth’ are more aware of the climate crisis yet lack a seat at the table. Social media outlets and activists such as Greta Thunberg have left their mark on the world. At COP24 Thunberg expressed the cynical effects of climate change on the present and future generations. If the concerns are ignored, the repercussions are substantial.

Young people need leadership from government leaders through support and encouragement on active participation on the climate emergency. But are the youth aware of the finance behind it all?  By changing everyday habits, we can help but there is a need for green infrastructure to be built quickly.  

COP26 in Glasgow, was the first time that many young leaders attended and had a voice. Representatives from different countries, especially women were present which was a real steppingstone for the young climate activists. The Glasgow Climate Pact emphasises the need for young people to be involved in climate change cases every step of the way. 

The youth and the future generations are the driving force behind the responsibility and action for future COPs. COP27 should see active youth engagement and a potential for youth representatives to attend the next COP.

Links to youth climate representatives/activists:

This is a short clip of young climate activist, Leah Namugerwa opening the World’s Leader Summit at COP27. She starts her brief speech by addressing the crowd, “I greet you all that are here for a good cause.” Namugerwa goes on to mention that "us, young people have been forced to grow and to ultimately think like adults." Namugerwa gives her experiences of the impact of climate change on her life and what will happen if we don’t act on this crisis.

 

This call to action by the The National Youth Council of Ireland is aimed to directly involve the young generation of the nation in world-wide climate strategies and decision making. 

What is Decarbonisation? and commitment to Decarbonisation at COP", by Charlie Keenan with Dylan Kelly, Dean Byrne and Peter Aylward (Year 1 Environmental Management and Planning BSc)

 

What is Decarbonisation?                                          

Decarbonisation is a key topic at COP. It is the reduction or elimination of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted due to human activity. The greenhouse effect is a natural process which has been exasperated by anthropogenic emissions (caused by human activities) since the Industrial Revolution. This has led to an increase in global temperatures. The effects of this include the loss of permafrost, rising sea levels, an increase in adverse weather events, extinction of flora and fauna and detrimental health effects. The Paris Agreement, agreed at COP21, aimed to limit this warming to 2°C with the hope of limiting it to 1.5°C.

 

Decarbonisation at COP26   

The themes of COP26 were all centred on decarbonisation. Some of the key achievements included; an agreement on a 45% reduction in GHG emissions, 40 countries agreed to prioritise green energy, India pledged to be carbon neutral by 2070 and an agreement to end deforestation was signed by 100 countries. The Breakthrough Agenda was also launched, an International Clean Technology Plan, signed by countries representing over 70% of the world’s GDP. However, many of the agreements faced resistance and were watered down, for example, the reduction of fossil fuels instead of the elimination. There was a consensus that more needed to be done and quickly, with a focus on the implementation of the agreed actions.

Decarbonisation at COP27

Decarbonisation Day at COP27 focused on carbon intensive industries, with talks on steel, cement, oil, gas, and fertilisers taking place. There was also an emphasis on sharing innovative technologies with developing countries so that they can continue to develop without further impacting climate change. Additionally, there were talks on the fashion industry and initiatives that have been taken in Egypt to reduce their carbon impact. As the day proceeded many announcements were made.

  • The Breakthrough Agenda published an update in the form of a twelve-month action plan containing 28 priority actions to decarbonise the power, transport, steel, hydrogen, and agriculture sectors.
  • The UK, in conjunction with several other countries, published a declaration on reducing fossil fuel usage stating that “We commit to taking immediate action to reduce the GHG emissions associated with fossil fuel energy production and consumption.” However, the declaration states that fossil fuel production will continue through to 2050.
  • US President, Joe Biden, gave a speech in which he highlighted the need to act urgently, however he did not update on the Great Methane Pledge, which is spearheaded by the US.
  • The publication of the Annual Carbon Budget coincided with the day, highlighting that we are on a trajectory to breach our 1.5°C limit within nine years.

The day was not without controversy as many news outlets called attention to the attendance of 636 fossil fuel company representatives at the conference. The CEO of Occidental Petroleum, Vicki Hollub, who was the keynote speaker at an event on Corporate Leadership and Net Zero, was quoted as saying “Don't ask me about oil and gas without taking some responsibility yourself and helping others understand.” With fossil fuel emissions set to reach a record high in 2022, questions have been raised about whether the current actions lack a sense of urgency.

References:

Breakthrough Agenda: https://climatechampions.unfccc.int/breakthrough-agenda/

UK Declaration: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reducing-greenhouse-gas-emissions-from-fossil-fuels-joint-declaration-from-energy-importers-and-exporters/joint-declaration-from-energy-importers-and-exporters-on-reducing-greenhouse-gas-emissions-from-fossil-fuels

 

Decarbonization Day: Where are the Solutions? – Sarah Wiseman, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

 

Comparing The Guardian and The Telegraph in the UK, there’s a stark difference in COP27 reporting. The Guardian features a Twitter-style feed of all COP27 happenings updated hourly with bulletins and embedded articles, while the first few articles of The Telegraph’s Cop 27 page include disparaging titles such as 'Net Zero Evangelists need a Reality Check’ and  “If COP becomes a forum for anti-Western Racketeering it Deserves to Die’. The latter wondering about the point of COP27, and in that subtly putting forward the futility of climate action – this can of course be very influential for a population unspecialised in technical environmental terminology. It took a while to find an article on The Telegraph that focuses on decarbonisation specifically, even the day after Decarbonisation Day at COP27.

For Decarbonisation Day specifically, there’s big media focus on US President Joe Biden’s arrival – I have found the COP conversation has focused at least as much on who is attending as on the discussion. Euronews runs an interesting ‘Five Things that Happened at COP 27 Today’, outlining the key takeaways each day, and for Day 6 they outline the predicted record highs of fossil fuel emissions in 2022, disappointing given the drop the world saw during the pandemic while ‘loss and damage’ continues to be a theme of the conference. Not a lot on offsetting the carbon created by travel to and from COP27…. Overall, I found there to be a distinct lack of clear commentary on what the solutions for decarbonisation are, and how we get there globally.

 

Decarbonization Day: COP27 urgency is fading?  - Borovaya Valentina, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

The first half of COP27 is almost over, and sometimes it feels as if it’s already been forgotten by the media. Two events happened on the same day as Decarbonisation Day at COP27: the advances of the Ukrainian army and major layoffs in the tech industry. Looking through the articles, it seemed as if the sustainability agenda wasn’t urgent enough for mainstream media.

The Guardian has probably the best coverage of COP27 of all the media I reviewed. Guardian has daily live coverage, supplemented by opinion pieces, interviews, and reports. This wide coverage allows Guardian to highlight a variety of topics and to dig deep into the major topics while providing timely updates. For example, in the article “Carbon emissions from fossil fuels will hit a record high in 2022 Damian Carrington talked about analysis by the Global Carbon Project (GCP). This report was released on 11 November 2022 to mark Decarbonisation Day, but it wasn’t picked up widely by other media outlets. The Guardian journalist isn’t sugar-coating the results of the report, he uses words such as “bleak”, “brutal”, and “decline” in the text, and “climate crisis” which is hidden in the URL of the article. As a reader, I was getting both urgency and sadness from this article.  

Many newspapers, instead of talking about a wider topic of decarbonisation, focused on US President Joe Biden, who delivered his speech on the same day. Probably, Biden’s speech was reported more because of his status as US President and the importance of the US to the global climate agenda. Reuters even split the reporting into several pieces. “COP27: Biden says the climate crisis is about 'very life of the planet'” reports Biden’s announcement and promises. However, its second part covers the GCP report and also talks about the “skepticism” of scientists “that world governments are doing enough to address the climate challenge”. “COP27: U.S. targets methane in 'relentless' emissions focus” talks specifically about Biden’s administration plans regarding methane and the lobbying of the US oil & gas industry about it. Reuters' pieces start quite neutral, listing facts and citations, but they both end with an uneasy feeling about the future. 

Finally, I found it interesting that one of the biggest UN initiatives, the Breakthrough Agenda, wasn't widely reported by the mainstream media. The only coverage I found was from Edie, a business media with a strong sustainability focus. In “Breakthrough Agenda: Nations covering half of global emissions make cleantech affordability push at COP27” they talked more in-depth about the initiative, focusing on the UK government's pledges, and on the private sector participation.  

 

Decarbonisation Day:  Michael Hannon, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

On COP27 Decarbonisation Day, Carbon Brief analyses the 2022 Global Carbon Budget report, which shows CO2 emissions projected to rise 0.8% in 2022, with emissions from fossil fuels and cement rising by 1%. It states that “the remaining carbon budget keeping warming below 1.5C will be gone in nine years, if emissions remain at current levels”. An urgent problem, then.  So how are the media reporting this? 

The prominence of COP27 on news sites has dropped since the start of the event.  On 11 November, the Irish Times had no specific coverage of decarbonisation. The Times had an article well down its site covering ‘damage and loss’. The Irish Independent had no prominent coverage. A search of the European Newstream for COP17 and ‘decarbonisation’ yielded 19 newspaper results, many repeats of the same article.  The Guardian continued its live feed of the event.

The big speech of the day was from Joe Biden, who claimed he is confident the US will meet its 2030 commitments, and noted we are at ‘a pivotal moment’ in the fight against climate crisis.  This seems to be the overarching theme – lots of warnings that time is running out but little in the way of solutions to get there quickly.  As Pat Leahy in the Irish Times points out, “it often doesn’t sound like it, but the world is actually getting to grips with the problem – it’s just not doing it quickly enough”.  

The Guardian had an interesting piece about Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental Petroleum who said people calling for an end of the oil and gas industry “have no clue what that would mean”, adding "everybody that uses a product … generated from oil and gas has a part in this and is also responsible. Your iPhone…. if you flew over here ….the nice clothes you are wearing … you are responsible”. 

Well she has a point, but it does sound like industry pushing responsibility for change to individuals, similar to tobacco and obesity, as a delaying tactic.  It was notable that 600 fossil fuel lobbyists attended at COP27, up 25% on last year. 

On a more positive note, Climate champions reported on the “Breakthrough Agenda: a master plan to accelerate decarbonisation of five major sectors”, with Governments representing over half of global GDP setting out a 12-month plan to help make clean technologies cheaper and more accessible. 

Will this make a difference? We may see next year. 

 

Decarbonisation Day:  Juicy headline or eyes glazed over – Maeve Mac Namara, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

Pre-COP27, I was listening to an Outrage and Optimism podcast where Tom Dickinson mentioned journalists were ringing him honestly wondering what they should cover this year. Now that the headline grabbing negotiations from COP26 were largely complete, journalists seemed to think covering how we are going to implement them wasn’t half as juicy. Personally I think forging a way out of this mess and envisioning a healthier, opportunistic future is something incredibly exciting to cover and, for once, something positive to think about.

Alas, Day 6, Decarbonisation Day, hasn’t made a huge impact in Irish media. TheJournal’s COP27 diary and rte.ie focused primarily on Joe Biden’s speech and the barriers around peaceful protesting, both worthy of reporting but ultimately missing the focus of the day bar a summary at the end. Rte.ie went a little further on explaining the problem of methane emissions, something many people may not be aware of, so that was welcome.

Internationally, Euronews, The Wire, Politico, The Guardian, all covered it briefly, again with more focus on President Joe Biden’s speech and the global methane pledge, more than the conversations around decarbonising the fossil fuel industry, cement and steel. To me, media are missing a trick in building the narrative around the opportunity this transformation of the world will bring, and I can’t really understand why. Most people’s eyes glaze over when the urgency of climate change is expressed to them, perhaps because it is too huge to even contemplate, but forming a narrative around what could go right would surely be a way to bring people along?

One additional thought regarding decarbonisation, do people know the current level of carbon in the atmosphere? It’s 417ppm (parts per million). A safe level is 350ppm. Isn’t it time government services like meteireann.ie started including this in their daily reporting? If we are reminded daily how the ppm is headed in the wrong direction, maybe people would start thinking twice?

https://m.thewire.in/article/environment/cop27-diary-rising-carbon-emissions-and-decarbonisation-mark-day-6/amp

https://www.euronews.com/green/amp/2022/11/11/decarbonisation-methane-and-record-highs-5-key-things-that-happened-today-at-cop27

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/11/bidens-speech-and-protesting-medics-what-happened-on-fifth-day-of-cop27

https://www.co2.earth/daily-co2

 Day 12 – Adaptation and Agriculture – Media Coverage – Cristina Kelly, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

Day 12 of COP27 focused on Adaptation and Agriculture and How the World will Feed 8 Billion People. ‘’A number of initiatives were highlighted that will hopefully provide several pathways for adaptation and climate resilient agriculture’’.  (COP27 official. (2022, November 12)).

Media coverage directly related to Day 12 from Irish Media sources, (RTE, Irish Times, Independent, The Journal etc), is few and far between.  Most of the coverage relating to the conference is quite general to date .  'The Journal' covered an address made by Zitouni Ould-Dada, Deputy Director of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stating that “Most developing countries suffer from lacking refrigeration, particularly in rural areas,” and that ‘’Improving the food cold chain has great potential”.  Zitouni Ould-Dada also highlighted that “developing countries could save 144 million tonnes of food annually if they reached the same level of food cold chain as developed countries’’.  The Journal. (2022, November 12). Whilst this is a fantastic solution in theory, I do wonder if the technologies are available to deliver the required refrigeration needs, given the current energy concerns.

Interestingly, Irish Agricultural associations like Agriland and the Irish Farmers Association covered Day 12 in abundance , presumably as this topic impacts their industry directly.  They highlighted the “critical importance of food security” noting that ‘’Farmers are willing and are engaging with government around all the measures in reducing emissions, but that food production must be a priority’’.  They also noted that ‘’food nutrition for everyone is critical, whilst adding that Farmers can be part of the solution’’.  It was also stated that ‘’farmers from African countries are very concerned about famine and food security but that this problem is not solely an issue for just one country or one region’’.  (Francess McDonnell, Food security on the agenda at cop27 'Agriculture Day' 2022). Whilst this article was thought provoking, I note that they did not address the Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation (FAST) initiative, which was launched at COP27 and aims to ‘’reimagine agri-food systems to deliver triple wins for people, climate action and nature’’, and as such, I wonder are they truly willing to become part of the solution or are they at odds with what is actually required versus their own industry needs.

In stark contrast, overseas media coverage by Climate Champions, Forbes and the UN all raised the initiatives of FAST, Agriculture Innovation Mission (AIM), African Food Systems Transformation Initiative (AFSTI), Climate Action and Nutrition (I-CAN), and the importance of investing in Innovation.   

Whilst researching I found that Fox News and CNN covered COP27 in limited detail.  In fact, Fox News chose to release an article on democracy versus climate change and how ‘’ For decades now, our so-called democracy-defending media has clamped down on any dissent from the climate cops’’.  The report consisted of disturbing statements like " The latest confab in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, began with the usual appeal to fear and panic’’ and ‘’journalists consider anyone who questions this my-way-or-hell viewpoint as not only a "denier" of science but an enemy of the people and their standard practice is to sound like U.N. publicists’’ (Fox News, Graham.T, 2022).  This misinforming type of broadcasting is extremely concerning considering the current state of climate emergency.  Given the fact that Fox News has a reach of 2.12m primetime viewers, approximately 1% of the American Population (+264m) over 18 years of age, per the latest census results (United States Demographic Statistics.,2022), this view is alarming to say the least.  That being considered,  it is pleasing to know that US President Joe Biden has not been waivered by this planet damaging propaganda and has already begun taking measures to implement a climate action plan.

 

References:

Agriland (2022, November 12). Food security on the agenda at cop27 'Agriculture Day'.  Agriland.ie. Retrieved November 13, 2022, from https://www.agriland.ie/farming-news/food-security-on-the-agenda-at-cop27-agriculture-day/

COP27 official. (2022, November 12). COP27 official. COP27. Retrieved November 13, 2022, from https://cop27.eg/#/news/228/Adaptation%20and%20Agriculture%20The

Fox News, Graham, T. (2022, November 11).   COP 27: Conference is underway and our liberal media has clamped down on any dissent from the climate cops. Fox News. Retrieved November 13, 2022, from https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/cop-27-conference-underway-liberal-media-clamped-down-dissent-climate-cops

The Journal. (2022, November 12).  Better Food 'cold chains' are crucial for climate and world hunger, says UN Report.  TheJournal.ie.  Retrieved November 13, 2022, from https://www.thejournal.ie/cop27-food-chain-report-un-5918245-Nov2022/

United States Demographic Statistics (2022).  Infoplease.  Retrieved November 13, 2022, from https://www.infoplease.com/us/census/demographic-statistics

 

Gender Day: Oliver Murray, Amber Mahon, Kyle O’Dwyer and Kate Mahon Year 1 Environmental Management and Planning BSc

When it comes to the Sustainable Development Goals and climate change, it is essential that SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) is met, these two goals are the main agenda of Gender Day. It is evident that gender-inclusive climate finance remains inadequate, especially for indigenous, Afro-descendant and local community women, who still have a role in the preservation of our natural environment. This cohort of people are the ones who face the brunt of climate change especially when it comes to the lack of clean water and sanitation. Last week in COP27, The Women in Global South Alliance for Tenure and Climate was developed, and its aim is to advance women's empowerment worldwide by ensuring that climate finance directly reaches the indigenous, Afro-descendant and local community women and girls on the frontlines of climate action and biodiversity conversation. “Climate finance must not leave behind Indigenous, Afro-descendant, and local community women and girls behind,” said Archana Soreng, a youth climate activist from the Kharia Tribe in India and member of the UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. (Solange Bandiaky- Badji, rights and resources, 2022)

 

For water and gender to share a thematic day at COP27 and not be given separate, appropriate time, to provide each topic the focus they deserve, perhaps shows the apathetic approach towards urgent concerns within these themes. As stated in the podcast (COP27 PODCAST: Manels, mansplaining and Mary Robinson), the venue was busier than previous days and there was more of an air of concern. Which reflects that attendees and people on the ground possibly recognise this urgency more than the summits organisers. 10 minutes into this podcast the discussion on gender news starts and how the infamous COP “family photo” lacks representation of women leaders, that 22 out of 193 countries in the UN general assembly had female representatives. Previous COPs also lacked a good gender balance. At COP26 over 65% of the speakers were men, at COP25 it was 61% showing a lack of progress in this area.

Mary Robinson chairperson of organisation The Elders, shares her views on COP27 “protest at COP27 was not as strong as it could be “because of the environment in this country”, mentions the various “27 demands” of African female groups, who are negotiating with The Elders, issues such as, “gender discrimination in the climate crisis”, “gender finance”. How she wants to empower women and bring them into leadership roles, through a future, broader movement, a female led coalition, which will be represented by a Dandelion. A flower that is present on all seven continents and is spread by the wind. Shares her concerns on the urgency of 1.5degrees targets and recommends spending all finance including savings now, to secure a possible standard of living globally.

“There’s a very simple and effective solution – put women and girls in the lead,” - UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.

Dr. Maya Morsi, President of the National Council for Women in Egypt, who had earlier in the day announced the African Women’s Climate Adaptive Priorities initiative. The initiative was designed in order to address the fact that in the wake of disasters, women and children or 80% of those needing assistance. Dr Morsi also emphasised that "Women are not just helpless victims of climate change, they are powerful agents of change, and their leadership is critical. A bottom-up approach is significant to understand women in communities, their environmental concerns, realities and experiences."

 

 Gender Day: Consistent Messaging but not Widely Reported  - Philomena McCarthy, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

Most media coverage on Gender Day at COP27 focussed on two main themes. Most posts highlighted that climate change impacts females disproportionately. The second emerging theme was the important role of women in leadership. I found most coverage on Twitter using #gender and #actonthegap. Both themes occurred throughout the sample of posts examined. Eamon Ryan, Irish Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport was photographed with leading women from Irish civil society calling for time to act on the gap. I also found posts on Instagram emphasising the key leadership roles which women play. Sadly there was no related coverage on the RTE news app. This was also true for Sky news, the Irish Times, New York Post, Washington Post, Guardian or Telegraph. Euro News did not include anything gender related in their 5 key takeaways post (November 14th). A google search revealed a small number of articles.  ActionAid International called for women to have their voices heard on gender day. In a post on Welcome | UN Women – Headquarters they write that without gender equality there is no climate justice noting how women play transformative roles. Home - Egypt Today posted a number of articles on gender celebrating the progress they have made in women’s empowerment and highlighting the need for women in leadership. Glamour magazine shared information on Climate Activist Eli Mahmoud. The article highlights that Gender Day is one in which the conference highlights how women are negatively impacted by climate change as well as ‘celebrating incredible women who are at the forefront of climate activism’. Overall this was well reported on albeit on a small number of sites and platforms.

 

Girls just want to have fun…ding for climate change – Jade Eiffel O’Toole, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

COP27 has opened with an enhanced focus on the contribution and importance of finance to help with solving the climate crisis. With many different studies and reports providing evidence that women suffer the effects of climate change, the message is clear: women's lives are affected by climate change for years, decades and even generations. However, this information was not necessarily covered by the mainstream media during the gender thematic day at COP27, rather some of it was provided as a precursor to the day, with other information provided at the start of COP27

Gender Day shared the stage with Water Day, which seemed to receive the same amount of coverage i.e. very little. Some media instead focused on providing round-ups from previous days, further commentary from politicians and other stakeholders, and governments took the chance to share press releases on different initiatives that they would be supporting. Social media coverage of the day was encouraging, with many politicians and senior leaders showing their support for the gender theme and focus on solutions. 

The Executive Director of UN Women had three asks for COP27: to take special measures to increase participation of women and girls’ at all levels of decision making, and address inequalities in relation to access and control of production resources (e.g. finance); to support a just transition for women through an alternative transformational development model; and that decisions on global investments intentionally and directly amplify and foster women’s skill resilience and knowledge. While published as an op-ed by UN Women, this important perspective and call for action did not appear to be picked up across other media channels. 

With Former Irish President, Mary Robinson being a powerful leader and voice with regard to climate change, it is surprising that Irish coverage of this important theme is not stronger. “Climate change is a manmade problem that requires a feminist solution”, said Mary Robinson in 2018. Indigenous women of the Amazon held a press conference, picked up by the Guardian, calling out the failure of the COP to take their ideas and solutions seriously. With little coverage of today’s gender theme across mainstream media, is it any wonder that women and girls are continuously disadvantaged, discouraged and disempowered when it comes to climate change and receiving adequate funding and support for this?

   

COP27 – Our Climate Future is Female   - Jackie Glynn,  PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

Interesting numbers from COP27

  • 7 of the 110 world leaders at COP27 are females.
  • Females make up 51% of the global population.
  • Only 21% of positions in government are held by women with fewer women heading up Nations or States.

Women are stated to more vulnerable to climate change with a key insight being that in the wake of disasters, women and children are ~80% of those needing assistance.

Project Drawdown has continually worked to:

  • Educate on the role of family planning in in climate change. With the global population projected to exceed 8 billion, family planning has a role to play in slowing down population growth to avoid emissions.
    • recommend that everybody has access to at least 12 years of education. Better education means better informed choices.

Studies indicate that:

  • women in low income nations manage household resources such as food, fuel and water. When learning is amplified, the climate can benefit. Women led farms typically having crop yields that are 20 to 30% higher than males.
  • national parliaments with greater representation of women tended to adopt more ambitious climate policies.
  • corporate companies that have at least 30% women on a company’s board makes a key difference to climate governance and innovation.

The UN WOMEN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SIMA BAHOUS has 3 asks on gender equality to COP27

  • women’s and girls’ full, equal, and meaningful participation and leadership at all levels of decision-making.
  • support a just transition for women through an alternative development model.
  • specific investment to remove critical barriers for women.

Today’s session at COP27 supports women being fully integrated into the processes of formulating and implementing policies to ensure fair gender inclusion with the US announcing strategies, initiatives, and funding to empower women and girls as climate leaders with approx. 40million being invested.

It remains to be seen how far along the journey of equality this will take us.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0176268017304500

https://www.unwomen.org/en/news-stories/op-ed/2022/11/op-ed-three-asks-on-gender-equality-to-cop27

https://www.un.org/womenwatch/feature/climate_change/downloads/Women_and_Climate_Change_Factsheet.pdf

https://twitter.com/_david_ho_/status/1589596572614287360?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1589596572614287360%7Ctwgr%5E018d991d897180368ae9e19393a6b35beff28b20%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.edie.net%2Fwhy-supporting-women-and-girls-is-an-overlooked-climate-solution%2F

https://twitter.com/COP27P/status/1592158742564737025?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1592158742564737025%7Ctwgr%5E018d991d897180368ae9e19393a6b35beff28b20%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.edie.net%2Fwhy-supporting-women-and-girls-is-an-overlooked-climate-solution%2F

 https://reliefweb.int/report/world/cop27-thematic-gender-day-urges-institutions-and-individuals-act-implementation

https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/womenin-shadow-climate-change

https://www.edie.net/why-supporting-women-and-girls-is-an-overlooked-climate-solution/

https://www.state.gov/at-cop27-our-climate-future-is-female-a-progress-report-on-implementing-u-s-efforts-to-advance-women-and-girls-climate-action/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partnering with civil society to act on the climate challenge – Etain Gormley, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

Civil Society has undoubtedly a significant part to play in tackling the challenges being discussed at the COP27 conference and civil society had high expectations given this is the COP that needs action and progress is being made. In Mia Mottley’s opening address of COP27 she pleaded desperately that now is the time to act, 1.5 to stay alive. The impossible has to be achievable and it seems there is still hope as she spoke of being in the very country that built the pyramids, that we live in society that has removed slavery, found a vaccine within two years to combat a worldwide pandemic and has put a man in the moon. Haneen Shaheen’s blog on the TheElders urged world leaders to ensure all civil society voices are listened to regarding the climate crisis.

Media coverage of Civil Society Day focuses on delivering on pledges and promises. Ireland is one of seven countries to pledge funding for the LCDF (Least Developed Countries Fund and  Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) which is raising hopes of civil society pledges being turned into action.  

Twitter posted on the day’s plenary session introduction where speakers focused on a holistic society approach and discussed how important it is to partner with civil societies and acknowledge contributions and accomplishments both past and present. This co-operation is the sentiment behind an international collaborative media group editorial publication yesterday to levy fossil fuel giants with a climate tax.

Desperate measures are being taken by civil society around the world to get attention to the seriousness of climate change e.g. protesters gluing themselves to priceless paintings and blocking roads, The Guardian reports that today’s climate protesters will be seen as heroes.

  

Civil Society Day – Mainstream Media … Tumbleweeds -  Jarlath Condron,  PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

 The media day started off with a very interesting article in Forbes discussing whether climate groups should become human rights activists. An argument that they should align, is that political freedom and human rights are necessary for climate progress.

While there are some further attention grabbing banner headlines on COP27 today from the mainstream media, such as

BBC climate editor removed after questioning Russian delegation on Ukraine at Cop27’ in the Guardian and

US, China climate envoys meet at COP27 summit in Egypt’ in the Washington Post, it seems that the mainstream media have decided to return to their desks and ignore the discussions around civil society.

Twitter at times is used as check-in tool, look at me at Cop27, at most highlighting the order of events but giving no detail of key discussions or decisions. It is impossible though to have a civil society day without one of its most powerful tools - Protest as the NL Group highlighted 3 different protests over African feminist demands, human rights and finance for loss and damage.

I will leave you with the words of the activist Lidy Nacpil from the Philippines, posted in a video from COP27 today, words the mainstream media chose to ignore.

'For us people in communities of the south we see climate finance as part of reparations for a long huge longstanding debt that is owed by the global north to the global south. This is not about charity, this is not about humanitarian aid.. the impacts of climate, this is about justice.'

   

Has COP27 succeeded in side-lining civil society? – Trish O’Brien, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

 

Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) & Civil Society Day is billed in the COP27 programme as a chance for the ‘views and perspectives’ of civil society to be integrated into proceedings in a ‘meaningful manner’.  The day is shared with the Energy theme. Up until now, the main coverage of civil society groups has been on their reports of ‘overt surveillance’ of their meetings by Egyptian authorities; reports provided anonymously for fear of repercussions.

In searching for coverage of the views, perspectives and solutions arising from yesterday’s platform, one of the top stories is from UN News, with a by-line that places civil society in the role of cheerleaders, on a day that they no longer share: Keep the 1.5 goal alive, experts and civil society urge on ‘Energy Day’ at COP27.  The only other immediately accessible media coverage of the day, without venturing into social media, is ahramonline, the online version of an Egyptian newspaper that is majority owned by its government.

Perhaps civil society has run out of interesting and innovative ideas.  In any event, the poor media coverage of their deliberations has made their alleged suppression during the event somewhat unnecessary.

 

Hard to ignore the elephant in the room – Fiona Doherty, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

 

According to COP27 the focus of today’s theme Ace & Civil Society Day is meant to “engage Civil Society and to ensure their views and perspectives are integrated in a meaningful manner.”

I’ll be honest; I picked today’s theme as it was one I wanted to learn more about and thought this was a great opportunity to do so. 

From following the media today I can’t help but feel I’m left scratching my head. Firstly media coverage of this theme was hard to find. The majority of today's media coverage was focused primarily on the host nation's decades-long stance on civil society, which I think you can assume based on the discussion title isn’t endearing by any stretch. 

While it’s in some ways disheartening the coverage I viewed wasn’t on the theme itself and the positive actions that are going to be taken, I'd argue it’s important to recognise that holding the host nation accountable and putting a spotlight on the issue is of significant value.

It opens up a broader question too around holding such global events in countries with questionable human rights (….World Cup says, anyone?)

I’d also question the decision to have Energy Day on the same day. Things like Climate and Energy are already so high on the sustainability agenda. They are tangible and their impacts can are felt globally. They don’t need media coverage in the same way a theme like Civil Society does. A simple google news search of COP27 energy in the last 24 hours gave a host of news outlets with coverage … for those who wanted to see civil society I’d say better luck next year.

 

 

Energised for energy change? – Stephen McGrath, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

It is hard to believe in 2022 that 733 million people in the world still do not have access to electricity, or that only 29% of electricity generation comes from renewable energy although the sector represents 23% of GHG’s (greenhouse gases). Energy Day is focusing on improving metrics in this area especially on the African sub-continent. The focus today includes Africa’s just and affordable energy transition, the planning for climate commission, Caribbean Climate Smart Fund, insights from the international renewable energy agency on important inputs for the 2022 stock take, a global renewables alliance and an Africa Green Hyrdrogen Alliance.

However, the narrative in the media over recent days has highlighted the injustice of the expectation of developed countries, that oil-rich African countries should not increase fossil fuel extraction to grow their economies due to the detrimental environmental impact. Africa was responsible for just 3.4% of global energy consumption in 2019 so this ask seems very rich - if we pardon the pun.

The African mini-grids programme was launched today at COP27 to bring a low cost electric solution to 255 million people by 2030 in some of Africa’s poorest communities, however this is due to be privately funded. It is not a coincidence that dozens of global newspapers today have released a joint statement to urge governments to implement windfall taxes of fossil fuel companies in order to help fund developing countries who are worst impacted by climate change.      

In Ireland, we fully understand the power of switching to renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint in the energy area. Last month, wind generated 47% of our electricity needs which is impressive! However, do people in Africa want to sit in the dark for another eight years whilst they have access to fossil fuels today?      

References:

  1. COP27 Day 8 – Energy
  2. African Countries Must Oppose Measures at COP27 that Prevents Africa from Making Full Use of its Fossil Fuels
  3. Africa and Europe facts and figures on Climate and Energy
  4. Impose tax on fossil fuel giants, media groups urge
  5. New Initiative to Transform Energy Markets, Bringing Electricity and New Development Opportunities, in over 20 African Countries
  6. Zero emissions vehicles Ireland

 

Energy for All? – Marie Lynch, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

COP27 is set against a background of energy security and supply issues for Europe with rising costs for everyone. Decarbonising our energy supply while ensuring a supply of availability was the key focus of day eight, media narratives varied from positive to negative covering a wide variety of issues and audiences. However, when it comes to solutions, Inger Andersen, UNEP chief, sums it up perfectly “we’ve barely scratched the surface. And the one year since Glasgow, frankly, has been a year of climate procrastination. By 2030, we need to reduce emissions by between 30 to 45 per cent, but since COP26 we’ve shaved off one per cent. So, we have a long way to go”. 

  • The Irish Times reported on the launch of the global renewables alliance. New members were unveiled at COP27.
  • The UN said ‘we need to keep the 1.5 degrees celsius goal alive, expert and civil society urge on energy day’. Positive solutions that are already in existence and the willpower needed to make change were examined.
  • The Irish Independent  provided advice from Marie Donnelly, Chair of the CCAC on actions that can be taken at home and globally to quicken the pace of the energy transition.
  • The Guardian and Irish Examiner featured an article on the 30 newspapers and media organisations in more than 20 countries who have taken a common view about what needs to be done. It focused on the promise of committed funds by rich nations to support the most vulnerable and said solving this crisis is the moonshot of our time. 

The overall narrative identified an unclear roadmap to a just transition for energy transformation. A ramp-up in pace of action and collaboration by industry and countries globally is urgently needed in order to identify an energy supply mix that will limit emissions while delivering on the supply needed. We shall wait to see if the promises and discussions that happened on day eight will deliver the pace of change needed to transform our energy supply and use. 

References and links

Opening Speech: Speech by Commissioner Simson for the Opening of the EU Energy Day COP27

Irish Times: Global effort to rapidly ramp-up offshore wind energy gaining momentum, Cop27 told

UN news stream: Keep the 1.5°C goal alive, experts and civil society urge on ‘Energy Day’ at COP27

Irish Independent: Actions to up the pace of climate action: cook electric, cut car use, and stick to the 1.5C target

The Irish Examiner: Solving existential climate crisis is the moonshot of our times

The Guardian:The Guardian view on Cop27: this is no time for apathy or complacency

Climate Champions: Summary of Day Eight

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8 billion people, congratulations humanity, but what about …. BIODIVERSITY – Shane Smyth, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student

On a week where humanity has for the first time reached 8 billion people, raging wars and anticipation of a worsening economic situation are dominating the minds (and newsfeeds) of the world, today is Biodiversity Day at COP27. Biodiversity Day aims to discuss critical topics relating to biodiversity and their solutions. With such an intrinsic link between biodiversity and the future of humanity, how is the media condensing the happenings of Biodiversity Day to the masses? 

Reported at both international and national level are the vows of, soon to be Brazilain president, Lula Da Silva to halt biodiversity degradation within the country. With such strong links between the Amazon Rain Forest and global biodiversity balance, most of the reporting on Lula’s speech is one of hope. Although there is questioning around his ability to regain control of key sectors, called out in the Irish Examiner. 

Another theme dominating today and indeed the entire conference is loss and damage, which to a newcomer to the concept, may consider this is as directly linked to biodiversity herself but is in fact relating to financial aid provided to countries experiencing climate related disasters, and who should fund such aid. To me the polarisation between developing countries and wealthy nations on this matter outlined by The Wall Street Journal has the potential to eat into what precious time we have left to act on biodiversity loss.  

Leaving Sharm El-Sheik moving to the rear view, the focus and hope for biodiversity now turns to COP 15 in Montreal next month, with Reuters citing the outcomes of this week's discussions will have a major knock-on impact on the conversational direction in Montreal. Here is to hoping that the right thing can be done by biodiversity.  

 

Lula de Silva: Back from the brink, can he bring Biodiversity with him?!   - Stephen Larry, PG Cert in Sustainability Leadership in Business student 

November 16th is the day COP27 turns its focus to Biodiversity. It is perhaps fitting as the last theme to be explored as The UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) is due to take place in Montreal in December and will entirely focus on Biodiversity. As such it’s an opportunity to set the tone and expectations of the next event.

“Scientists have told us in no uncertain terms … that climate change and biodiversity loss are intrinsically connected and that’s why we are looking at the [Cop15] framework as, basically, a Paris moment for biodiversity.”

Unfortunately, despite the potential for a significant framework to be agreed it’s already off to a rocky start. No world leaders have been invited to the event, which has been rightly criticised by former Irish President Mary Robinson. The aim is to create a framework to protect 30% of our planet’s land and oceans by 2030. It’s an incredible ask if we take a local lens to the issue, at present in Ireland only 2.1% of our seas are currently protected. For context the COP27 Presidency has claimed that nature based solutions can reduce the intensity of climate-related hazards by up to 26%.

Lula de Silva arrived at COP27 to huge fanfare. Speaking at an event alongside Amazon regional governors he declared “Brazil is back on the world stage,”. He’s promised to aim for zero deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Already Germany and Norway have agreed to reopen the Amazon fund and he’s not even in role yet. All movements need leaders, Lula seems to be immediately making visible steps to turn things around for the better. Is this the turning point for Global biodiversity, has the world found its leader?