Progress on some solutions, but where is the action on the big problem?

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt – Today is supposed to be the last day of the UN’s COP27 climate talks, but talks are continuing past the official deadline on Friday as nations were unable to agree on funding to compensate developing countries for losses and damage caused by climate change. However, for some good news, Thursday was Solutions Day, and exciting initiatives were launched on electric vehicles, urban resilience, global waste and more. (Check out our previous dispatches from COP27.)

Loss and damage talks go to overtime

Rich and developing countries have yet to agree on the details of a fund for loss and damage. Most climate COPs are actually dragging on (out of 26 past COPs, only six have ended on time), and no one knows how long the negotiations will continue. In a press release on Thursday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “No one can deny the scale of loss and damage we are seeing around the world. 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 most affected.

No phase-down beyond coal

The draft COP agreement released on Thursday calls for a phase-out of coal but does not include other fossil fuels, which some countries, including India, have been calling for. The document may still change before it is finalized, and many hope it will include a managed phase-out of all fossil fuels.

Solutions Day Produces Funny Acronyms

A handful of initiatives aimed at helping countries meet their climate goals emerged from 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 transport alternatives for cities in developing countries.

  • The Accelerating to Zero Coalition (A2Z) supports the transition to zero-emission vehicles worldwide.

  • The Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation (SURGe) initiative will tackle some of the barriers that limit urban emissions reductions and help build resilience in the urban system in the areas of housing, water, mobility, waste and energy.

  • The 50 Wastes by 2050 initiative will treat and recycle at least 50% of the solid waste produced in Africa by 2050.

More and more countries are tackling methane

At least 150 countries have now signed the Global Methane Pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030, 50 more countries than those who signed the agreement at the time of COP last year. And although China has not signed on, it has drawn up a draft plan to reduce its methane emissions.

RMI and the Clean Air Task Force have launched a new digital platform to connect satellite data to best practices for mitigating waste methane, which produces nearly 20% of global methane emissions.

🌫️ Check out more announcements from COP27 on initiatives to tackle methane, a super potent greenhouse gas.

Stay tuned for a preview of the big developments from COP27 after the conference wraps up.