The COP27 agreement was a step in the right direction for ensuring a more just transition, but a failure to decarbonize puts at risk the goal of 1.5 degrees. As signatories to both the Powering Net Zero Pact and the Science Based Target initiative, we would have liked to see a stronger commitment to speed up the green transition and build out the power grids to ensure transmission security .
I attended COP27 for the full two weeks with 3 other NKT delegates. While I believe the formal agreement fell short, what we saw, heard, and discussed in the side events made us believe that we can still achieve the necessary targets. But it requires us to act now!
A just transition is vital
After years of resistance from western governments, nations at COP27 agreed to set up a fund to provide payouts to developing countries that suffer "loss and damage" from climate-driven storms, floods, droughts and wildfires. The loss and damage fund is an honourable and appropriate action point. But it came at a great cost: decarbonization.
Reflections from our attendance at COP27
NKT joined a lot of other companies that attended the event in the hope of moving the conversation in the right direction. While we had no impact on the agreement, we had many fruitful discussions with many different stakeholders. We could feel that the conversation had really shifted in the past few years from what must be done, to how we can do it. This is a great step.
While the negotiations and agreement are important, the side-line events and conversations also add momentum to the broader efforts. It was clear that industry believes that the technology is there, the financing is in place, commitments from governments are there, but the process to get these large projects under way are still too cumbersome.
Specifically for our industry, we want to see shorter and swifter permitting times so that we can get vital projects up and running faster. While this will mean faster processes must be put in place, we do not believe that it should be done at the expense of nature or community input. But the reality is clear – if we are to keep the 1.5 target alive, we need to speed up decarbonization.
Less unclear processes, more community and environmental engagement
We believe that community involvement is really important for these renewable energy mega projects, but it needs to be on a localized level, rather than a one/size fits all approach. A lot of onshore renewable projects will impact local communities in some way – mostly for the positive, but we still need to make sure projects have community backing as well.
On the environmental front, we believe we can speed up processing times, at the same time as increasing environmental protection. We need more environmental impact reports on geographical zones, rather than requiring them from project to project. One evaluation instead of 5.
We are ready to go
We plan on joining COP28 in Dubai next year. We believe it is a great opportunity to participate in very important discussions and represent our industry so that we can better respond to the needs.