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Dan Kammen on BBC World 19:00 GMT discussing COP27

November 6, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 7:20 pm

To read the orig­i­nal in the Novem­ber 5, 2022 Jor­dan Timesclick here.

COP27: Green hope grow­ing in the desert

World lead­ers gather anew in Egypt for COP27 to address the exis­ten­tial threat of the cli­mate cri­sis; while solu­tions exist, the world needs to see action and imple­men­ta­tion. To achieve this, the global com­mu­nity needs both grit and optimism.

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COP27 should be about col­lab­o­ra­tion, green accel­er­a­tion, and, most impor­tantly, bring­ing to life exist­ing con­cepts and solu­tions to scale and cre­ate much-​​needed green jobs. A metaphor­i­cal cross­ing of the Red Sea is needed to halt the cur­rent tra­jec­tory to 2.8°C or more of global warm­ing. It is time for finance to step up.

In 2012, at COP18 in Doha, a pilot facil­ity for pro­duc­tion of food, energy, water, and reveg­e­ta­tion of desert areas was launched. Today, a few kilo­me­ters from where COP is tak­ing place, the Sahara For­est Project pro­duces tons of veg­eta­bles far into the Jor­dan­ian desert, in saltwater-​​cooled green­houses, with their own renew­able energy, plant­ing trees in the desert.

Not every­one believed, back in 2012. But see­ing was believ­ing, and it still is.

At the dawn of the 2000s the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of trans­port seemed a vision more than a pos­si­ble real­ity. In 2009, when Bel­lona brought the first four Tesla Road­sters in Europe to COP15 in Copen­hagen, it all became a bit more real. Today, we can acknowl­edge mas­sive strides taken over the last 13 years.

Not every­one believed, even in 2009. But the nee­dle was moved. See­ing is believing.

The adage may be old and slightly worn out but has never been truer. Can a few elec­tric cars solve the prob­lem? No. But can it click the right gears into place? Absolutely.

Renew­able energy has been doing this for years, with rapidly declin­ing costs for solar, wind, and stor­age tech­nolo­gies all trans­form­ing the energy sec­tor. Replac­ing fos­sil fuels in use has also become a no-​​brainer in many more appli­ca­tions, with heavy con­struc­tion machin­ery the lat­est addi­tion. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are increas­ingly becom­ing aware of the fact that not only is elec­tri­fi­ca­tion good for the envi­ron­ment, it is also good for worker health, noise lev­els, and the pock­et­book. In indus­try, car­bon cap­ture and stor­age is becom­ing viable as a large-​​scale solu­tion for process emis­sions that are dif­fi­cult to get rid of.

And while dam­ages and losses of cli­mate change con­tinue to increase with each pass­ing year of inac­tion, the global com­mu­nity is still stuck try­ing to deliver on the 2009 pledge to mobi­lize the mere $100 bil­lion annu­ally from devel­oped to devel­op­ing countries.”

But tempo is lack­ing. Imple­men­ta­tion is lack­ing. Scale is lack­ing. And not least, finance is lacking.

Get­ting money to the right projects is with­out doubt one of the great­est chal­lenges in the fight against cli­mate change. Our cur­rent mea­sures for accel­er­at­ing fund­ing, both for adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion, are fail­ing. And while dam­ages and losses of cli­mate change con­tinue to increase with each pass­ing year of inac­tion, the global com­mu­nity is still stuck try­ing to deliver on the 2009 pledge to mobi­lize the mere $100 bil­lion annu­ally from devel­oped to devel­op­ing countries.

We need to have a hard look at chal­lenges fac­ing the cur­rent cli­mate financ­ing. At the same time, we need to take a view beyond this one pledge, toward new mech­a­nisms for financ­ing a just and green transition.

A par­a­digm shift is needed in cli­mate finance, a Cli­mate Finance 2.0. This new par­a­digm can focus on cer­tain key issues.

One such issue is infra­struc­ture. Large-​​scale infra­struc­ture projects are hugely impor­tant to roll out much-​​needed renew­ables, as well as decar­boniz­ing harder-​​to-​​electrify indus­trial processes across the world. But project deploy­ment is slow, and projects suf­fer from lack of pub­lic fund­ing, long lead times, chal­lenges fac­ing per­mit­ting processes, admin­is­tra­tive hur­dles, and issues related to pub­lic acceptance.

Another issue is defin­ing projects “of com­mon inter­est” eli­gi­ble for cli­mate financ­ing. An inter­na­tional mech­a­nism chan­nelling cap­i­tal to projects of com­mon inter­est could cre­ate a global stamp of approval, send­ing pos­i­tive mar­ket sig­nals and mobi­liz­ing addi­tional pri­vate cap­i­tal either into projects directly or to asso­ci­ated projects rely­ing on shared infrastructure.

These are not just exam­ples, but a vision, and a pos­si­ble real­ity. Now more than ever we need action and lead­er­ship. This is why it is so impor­tant to show­case all the solu­tions that actu­ally exist today, high­light­ing their many ben­e­fits, and build­ing bet­ter sto­ries for cli­mate action as a pos­i­tive for the cli­mate but also for coun­tries, cities, com­mu­ni­ties. This is also why we are at COP27.

We are on a tra­jec­tory for 2.8 degrees instead of 1.5. The slo­gan for COP26 in Glas­gow was “keep­ing 1.5 alive” — it is cur­rently on life sup­port. Still, every day we see new and inno­v­a­tive solu­tions to the cli­mate and envi­ron­men­tal crises that the global com­mu­nity is try­ing to solve.

See­ing is believ­ing. Now let us get them some funding.

Dan Kam­men is a pro­fes­sor of sus­tain­abil­ity at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley.  He has served at the World Bank as chief tech­ni­cal spe­cial­ist for renew­able energy, and as sci­ence envoy in the Obama admin­is­tra­tion.  He has been a coor­di­nat­ing lead author of the Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change since 1999. Twit­ter: @dan_kammen.

Fred­eric Hauge founded Bel­lona in 1986, at the age of 20. Through aca­d­e­mic work, legal action, and non-​​violent activism, Bel­lona has changed the opin­ion and set the agenda on envi­ron­men­tal issues in Nor­way for almost three decades. Hauge was elected in 2007 as vice chair­man of the Euro­pean Commission’s Tech­nol­ogy Plat­form for CO2 seques­tra­tion (ZEP). The same year TIME Mag­a­zine named him “Hero of The Envi­ron­ment”. In 2009 he became a board mem­ber of the EU Bio­fuel Plat­form (EBTP), and one of the found­ing part­ners of the Sahara For­est Project.


November 6, 2022
7:00 pm - 7:20 pm


BBC World News
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