NMBU wants to spread knowledge about climate change

COP27 is the 27th UN climate summit, taking place in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh 6-18 November. The annual meeting is an opportunity for nations to commit to new actions to tackle climate change in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

This year’s summit is expected to focus extensively on climate finance, adaptation, and loss and damage, topics that were barely discussed at COP26 in Glasgow, but that are strongly backed by countries and communities particularly vulnerable to climate change. 

Important issues will be political progress and firm commitments on national measures  as well as financial support to poorer countries, in areas such as loss and damage, and climate finance.

NMBU's contributers

Five people from NMBU are attending the summit:

  • Nisha Jha and Tomohiro Harada, Student and PhD Fellow, respectively at the Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Faculty of Landscape and Society
  • Meley Mekonen Rannestad, Researcher at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management
  • Siri Eriksen, Professor at the Faculty of Landscape and Society
  • Arild Angelsen, Professor at the School of Economics and Business

Siri Eriksen participated in three side events organised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to discuss the conclusions of the IPCC reports in relation to important topics at the summit:

Assessing adaptation needs: findings from the IPCC Working Group II’s work on its Sixth Assessment Report (8 November)
Climate action in the SDGs: Sharing the insights from the IPCC reports (8 November)
Climate Resilient Development: How to make shifts towards a sustainable future for all (9 November)

"I hope, for my part, to contribute to ensuring that the knowledge base for international climate policy is well presented," said Eriksen before the events. "I hope that we have a good dialogue with delegates about the scientific aspects of important climate adaptation issues and how they relate to reducing emissions, and that the summit will contribute to resolutions that correspond to one of the IPCC's main conclusions, that: Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all."

"What this means is that in addition to reducing emissions, good mechanisms and frameworks are put in place to support climate adaptation – including financing – to tackle lagging climate adaptation, especially in poorer countries. At the same time, it’s important to stress that we cannot adapt our way out of climate change. Increasing temperatures mean many climate adaptations lose their effect, including some nature-based solutions," says the Professor

Arild Angelsen led a side event on 9 November on information and data to measure progress in forest climate mitigation. NMBU is a co-organiser, together with the University of Helsinki, Climate Focus, and the Center for International Forestry Research.

"Since 2008, I have been to ten climate summits (COPs) and always have low expectations – to save being disappointed! It's slow going but what's the alternative?" says Angelsen.

"The focus this year will be on following up on last year’s Glasgow summit, where many promises were made. Now we’re waiting for these promises to be kept," explained the professor before the event. "Looking back, the COP summits have been good at setting targets and making promises, while it’s up to each country to register what it intends to do through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)."

These are the results of the Climate Summit in Glasgow (in Norwegian). 

With regard to the promises made last year, Angelsen says, "There are two recurring themes: (1) the countries' own emission cuts and commitments, and (2) financing (for loss and damage, adaptation and emission reductions). However, NMBU is, after all, an NGO during these summits and doesn’t participate in the negotiations, and we only have limited access to them. Equally important are the side events, a meeting point for researchers, negotiators and representatives from business, voluntary organisations and other entities. I also have meetings with people who are in the same research project, whom I have not physically met for a few years because of COVID."

Meley Mekonen Rannestad is participating as an observer. "The main agenda of COP 27 is supposed to be climate finance and adaptation in vulnerable regions, particularly Africa," explains the researcher. "I am working on forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation in Africa, so as an observer my expectations are clearly defined priorities and clearly defined directions on ways to realise them."

 PhD Fellow Tomohiro Harada is also participating as an observer. "I would say one of the important tasks ahead, based on my research interest, is for the Parties to figure out how to incorporate non-Party stake holders, including Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities, Farmers, Youth, Women and Civil Society actors generally, into the full operationalisation of the Paris Agreement."

"All non-Party actors are frustrated," continues Harada. "They believe that Party-driven process of the UNFCCC does not make timely and ambitious decisions with interests of the people at heart. They believe that Parties' measurement of successful outcome is avoiding failure, rather than setting the most ambitious targets. Parties claim that they are doing it for the future generations, but the young people feel that they haven't been consulted. They feel that actors who are willing to do so little have too much power, while the people who can make the difference on the ground are paying the highest price." 

"This is not just about fighting for the most ambitious climate action. This is about contesting the basic premises of international institutions," says Harada. "It's about people who are fighting the fight, fighting for a seat at the table, instead of being on the menu for the Parties to pick and choose. It's about them getting their foot in the venue. It's about them getting the time on the global stage to be heard. It's about them having power, like financing and voting rights, to affect the decisions at COP and deliver changes back home."

 "COP27 is an African COP, a continent where climate change has made the most catastrophic impact," the PhD Fellow continues. "I expect the voices of communities in Africa to come through strong to hold states, especially developed countries, accountable to make good on what many developing counties see as their moral imperative to address loss and damage."

 "Of course, all of this is always subject to geopolitics, especially caused by major rifts between many of the largest carbon emitters as well as between energy producers and consumers in particular. War in Ukraine is expensive, and so are food and energy prices back home. Countries are increasingly pressured to take care of bills at home instead of taking leadership abroad. COP27 will not be immune from the deeply disgruntled state of world politics," adds Harada.

Nisha Jha is another NMBU participant with observer status. "While I’m excited about my first COP participation in Egypt, I am scared to unfold the lies behind the promises that are going to be made for achieving the world’s collective climate goals," says the International Environment Studies student.

"This year, it is more important than ever to define proper priorities for climate adaptation , climate mitigation and climate finance. If not now, when will climate justice be provided to the ones who are suffering the most! Enough plans have been already made, now it’s time to take immediate climate actions with proper collaboration between global south and global north. Hope continues!" adds Jha.

 

 

Published 11. November 2022 - 13:22 - Updated 14. November 2022 - 15:55