What’s on the agenda for COP 28?
Whilst there’s sure to be lots of items on the agenda for the conference, there are certain themes we expect to be covered during COP 28 negotiations.
Picking up the pace: The initial reports that are coming out ahead of the conference following the Global Stocktake (GST) process, which has taken two years, are showing that progress has been made towards the Paris Agreement and the rate of greenhouse gas emissions increases is slowing. However, there’s still lots to be done and that progress relies on countries fulfilling their commitments.
The GST is also showing that, in some areas, progress has been a lot slower than hoped. Examples of this include the rollout of renewable energy and support for poorer countries where climate finance is needed to prepare for climate change and to green their grids.
Progressing a fossil fuel phase-out: We’re expecting to see a discussion about entirely phasing out fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). These fuels are currently estimated to supply up to 80 percent of the world’s energy. However, they are non-renewable and, when burned, they release carbon and other greenhouse gases that would otherwise have been safely stored away in the ground into our atmosphere. The growing level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is the main cause of the climate crisis.
Despite their impact, the restricted use and extraction of fossil fuels has yet to be formalised as part of a COP event (or the 2015 Paris Agreement). However, the EU has already given an indication that this is where they want discussions to move towards, which is incredibly positive, and it’ll be interesting to see where that goes at COP 28.
Protecting nature and biodiversity: We’d also expect to see our impact on nature and biodiversity discussed at COP 28. Biodiversity (the variety of animals, fungi, plants and even bacteria you find in any given area) is essential in protecting our environment. From pollinators like bees that support crop production to the wetlands and trees that help soil to absorb rainfall, we need each piece of our delicate puzzle to support life on Earth. The loss of biodiversity is a huge issue that we hope to see addressed with as much importance as greenhouse gas emission reduction.
As businesses, we need to be mindful about the volume of green space that we take up as our population, and our businesses, grow. It’s also important that we’re creating net zero plans that are nature positive.
Managing the loss and damage fund: Created at COP 27, the loss and damage fund aims to help low-income countries that are facing the effects of climate change. It was established so that world leaders could contribute funds to poorer countries for the damage they experience as a result of extreme weather. It’s also a landmark moment in getting rich countries to take responsibility for carbon pollution and the impact of that in poorer nations.
At COP 28, the plan is to discuss how to operationalise the fund, from collecting money to dispersing it properly where it’s needed.
Investing in climate adaptation: The adverse climate and extreme weather that we experience as a result of climate change causes substantial financial losses to individuals and organisations. COP 15 set a funding goal of $100 billion a year for climate adaptation and that has yet to be fulfilled by the richer countries.
At COP 28, we hope to witness the creation of a framework for a global goal of adaptation. This needs to help people across the world, from those whose work directly depends on favourable weather (such as farmers) to those needing to prepare for rising sea levels.
Utilising the power of financing: There have been various reports calling for the World Bank to take a more prominent role in issues like climate change. At COP 28, many experts believe that the UN should encourage the World Bank to take on a larger role in monitoring the commitment of various countries. They believe the World Bank should help direct the flow of finance into renewable energy projects and end the dependence on fossil fuels, by helping to transition to greener energy.
Progressing the development of the global multi-hazards warning systems: At COP 27, the UN Secretary General stated that a plan was needed to ensure all residents on Earth could be covered by a multi-hazard early warning system in the next five years. At this time a report was launched, hoping to identify the gaps in current planning, the capability of people in all countries to be able to handle the system and steps for moving ahead with the implementation of the system. At COP 28, the UN will share the progress of the report.
Recognising the importance of oceans and oceanic life: Our oceans cover 70 percent of the planet, making them an incredibly important talking point for COP 28. There have been some very concerning reports on the warming of the oceans, which has been greater than expected this year. This has a negative impact on nature and the climate. The acidification process of the ocean must also be addressed as the pH levels of the oceans have increased, due to higher carbon dioxide levels being present in the water. This, again, has an impact on nature and food chains.
The UAE has already begun its efforts to restore and enhance its surrounding oceans, investing in seagrass restoration, mangrove planting and salt marshes. Given these efforts, it’s hoped that the COP 28 host will be in a good place to lead that discussion.
How can the COP 28 outcomes impact my business?
The outcomes of COP events can go on to influence everything from national laws to business financing and policy. In order to reach their agreed targets, each country must follow COP 28 by taking action. And, in turn, these actions often have a ripple effect that cascades through society.
Currently, government environmental regulations are aimed more at larger companies. However, the spotlight will soon shine on small to medium organisations too, as the need for progress accelerates and larger companies ask more of their supply chains. As we’ll see below, there are also many business benefits for companies that invest in sustainability.
How can businesses play their part to protect the climate?
If you’re feeling inspired by COP 28 and you want to play your part in tackling climate change, you’ll need a net zero plan for your business. To get started, measure your carbon footprint for your most recent financial year (and, if you can, go back two or three years). This will give you a sense of where your biggest sources of emissions are, and you can plan to rapidly reduce those.
There is a more sustainable future for our planet, but it involves every individual and every organisation doing their bit.
How can Flotilla help?
As your net zero partners, we combine expertise, technology and science-based intellect to equip your business with the end-to-end solutions you’ll need to develop, execute and measure a net zero strategy.
What are the opportunities for net zero businesses?
It’s increasingly important for businesses to embrace sustainability for the obvious reasons in relation to climate change, which is becoming more and more apparent. But it’s also important from a commercial perspective that businesses are doing the right thing.
The benefits for companies taking action to meet net zero include:
- Attracting new customers
With many tenders and investors now requiring environmental performance metrics and multiple industries looking to a more sustainable future, being able to showcase your green credentials is crucial.
- Reducing costs, increasing profit
From energy bill savings to reduced travel costs, there are numerous ways to reduce costs as well as your carbon emissions.
- Securing the best talent
Having environmental credentials in place can help you attract and retain the best talent and enhance your employer brand. In fact, 72 percent of employees we surveyed wanted to work for an organisation that is focusing on reducing its carbon footprint.
- Managing risk and acting responsibly
Having a robust net zero plan in place will ensure your efforts meet all the rules and obligations required and that you avoid any non-compliance (along with the reputational risks that go with that).
- Generating investment
Comprehensive carbon and net zero reporting and certification has been shown to enhance shareholder value, as investors and industry leaders seek out forward-thinking companies. In fact, the CBI reported that two thirds of investors consider ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) factors when exploring potential opportunities.
- Operating with purpose and authenticity
In a world where greenwashing is exposed and companies are rightly held accountable for their responsibilities, it’s important to act with authenticity. Being able to show you’re taking informed action and reporting with robust, authentic data will ensure you set off on the right foot.
Whatever your views on COP 28 may be, one thing’s for sure, with every COP that passes, our window of opportunity to protect our planet is closing. Decarbonizing society requires immediate action from governments and organisations. And, if you’re a business that’s taking action, you’re already setting yourself up for future success.
If you’d like to take those all-important steps to becoming a net zero business, talk tour team of net zero consultants and specialists today!