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COP27 – THE STRIDE TO SAVE OUR PLANET CONTINUES

The UN Chief, with the conclusion of the COP27, made an impactful statement, “We can and must win this battle for our lives.” Therefore, we must decide the path we seek to tread and take on the responsibility to save our planet.


Introduction

While we are still in the process of finding concrete solutions, a bit more than a year ago, the European Union (EU) introduced a proposal to prohibit the entry of commodities coming in from supply chains associated with deforestation or forest degradation and thereby popularizing deforestation-free products in the EU. These products include items such as meat, soy, wood, rubber, coffee, cocoa, and palm oil, as well as subsequent products such as leather, furniture, and chocolate.

In the meantime, the Egyptian city Sharm El-Sheikh hosted the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference from November 6 to 20, 2022, in an attempt to find concrete solutions to the climate change issues that we all face today. The United Nations Climate Change Conference[2] (COP27) also sought to bring together countries to take action toward achieving the world’s goals pertaining to the climate following the Paris Agreement. However, with the recent developments in the world, achieving these very goals seem far from realistic. The war in Ukraine, the food insecurity coupled with rising inflation – the pertinent question we ought to ask ourselves is: how can we reduce our impact on the climate?

Outcomes of COP27

Under the Paris Agreement, Nations agreed that the central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue all efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C.

Global temperatures are rising and have already risen by 1.1°C above the pre-industrial levels. With the unprecedented climatic conditions that we experience today, it is known that no country, no matter how big or small, is safe from the wrath of the environmental crisis. During the course of COP27, four key focus areas were identified to address the intensifying problem, namely (i) mitigation; (ii) adaptation; (iii) finance; and (iv) collaboration.

Mitigation

While during COP27, countries made no new promises about their commitments to tackle climate change, governments must live up to their previous promises and make every effort to ensure they are achieved, leaving no stone unturned. The essence is to take every country’s nationally determined contributions (NDC) more seriously. The need of the hour is to show a political will to limit global heating to 2°C, taking us to the following key focus area of adaptation.

Adaptation

A step toward climate-change adaptation would include building resilience – amongst the people, in our communities and livelihood, building resistant businesses and economies, and most importantly, robust environmental systems. The private and public communities have a crucial role to play here by adopting climate risk management measures. These steps would include better preparedness systems, as well as investing in capacity building and climate risk governance. It is also critical that information and knowledge be shared concerning best practices in relation to climate risk management.[3]

Finance

Finance plays an imperative role in building a more prepared environment to make an economy more resilient to climate change. Attracting suitable investments and making quality finances available to both the public and the private sectors to develop climate-resilient strategies, including making climate-resilient investments, is critical. New adaptation strategies can be adopted only when sufficient finance is available to the communities.

Collaboration

Even though we may have access to the afore-identified key areas, collaborating with the right resources is necessary to achieve the goal set. This alliance is vital to meeting such ambitious targets, and the Egyptian Presidency has made collaboration a core goal of COP27 itself. COP27 has been described as “Africa’s COP”, and there have been attempts in the run-up to the meeting to unite African leaders on the critical issue of adaptation in particular. The business community has also accelerated its efforts to collaborate, particularly on the role of business in a “just transition” that preserves jobs and livelihoods — for example, via the UN Global Compact, the First Movers Coalition, the Mission Possible Partnership, and the We Mean Business Coalition.

Overall, COP 27 ended better than expected, bringing to the agreement the Fund for Losses and Damages, which would only enter the talks in 2024. The still poorly defined mechanism could alleviate the excessive harm caused by climate change in vulnerable countries. Despite being called the “Implementation COP”, the actions presented to reduce emissions are still insufficient and restricted to the reduction in the use of coal – for other fossil fuels, the orientation is to reduce subsidies – while simultaneously encouraging the energy transition to renewable sources. António Guterres criticized the misuse of NET Zero and presented an expert report so that the methodology brings honesty to the process. The US presented an ambitious aid plan. China has committed to NET Zero by 2060 but has not said how. Yet.

From the health point of view, the COPs are fundamental since the results and commitments made will be decisive in controlling the emergence of pandemics, in addition to the exacerbation of diseases and illnesses that already affect thousands of people. As two weak points of this unsustainable economic development, dialogue and integration of Health and Environment actions are increasingly necessary.

A highlight is the UN HCR’s demand for the representation of refugees and climate-displaced people at the next Climate Conference, COP 28. The UN also recognized, through a report, the vulnerability of countries to the effects of the climate crisis in the Sahel region in West and Central Africa. The WHO, in turn, highlighted the health and food emergency in the “Horn of Africa”, which has generated substantial migratory flows in the region. The International Federation of the Red Cross has warned of the slow achievement of targets from the last COP 26 in Glasgow and its effects on a growing population of climate migrants.

What do we do next?

Though COP27 has ended, our responsibility towards the environment has not. In fact, it has already started. The key economic stakeholders must shoulder the burden of drawing up appropriate business action plans factoring in the accelerating climate change. Developing sustainable means of conducting business that may bring about the required transformation would need to be given priority. Undertaking environmental responsibility could also result in challenging decisions, such as linking remuneration to climate targets, and adopting innovative solutions, to name a few.

In all the action plans that businesses develop, the primary objective we need to keep in mind is preserving the environment and combatting climate change. Therefore, finding nature-based solutions will thrive in achieving the principles of COP27. With prominence given to finding nature-based solutions, leaders have begun to appreciate the co-benefits of investing in nature as a tool to combat climate change, notably ocean-based climate solutions[4].

At Sidera Consult, we advise companies striving to find optimum nature-based solutions first-hand, and it is vital to disseminate these ideas and initiatives.

One such company working towards these goals is Vista Clara. This US-based company is developing, delivering, and supporting advanced Magnetic Resonance (MR) tools for groundwater detection and hydrogeologic characterization. MR refers to a technique in physics known as “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance” (NMR).[5] Vista Clara’s NMR instruments enable high-resolution direct groundwater detection using borehole logging, non-invasive surface detection, and hand-portable tools. Therefore, Vista Clara’s products include a wide range of mining and drilling applications, agriculture, and environmental monitoring.

The extraction of minerals from the ground, for instance, causes significant environmental degradation, and deforestation and desertification threaten the Cerrado and the Amazon rainforest.

Vista Clara’s Magnetic Resonance View Borehole Logging Tools could be used to raise awareness and help prevent different forms of degradation from occurring. This effort would help measure the groundwater levels and help determine if it is feasible to undertake any activity that would hamper these same levels.

Conclusion

At Sidera, companies such as Vista Clara are making every effort to find technologies that will help save the environment and, in turn, help combat climate change. We support these companies flourish by many different tools, including introducing them to new markets and assisting them in taking their technology to various other players and segments. Supporting companies such as these would not only motivate them to strive harder in developing their technologies but also, in a way, help save nature too.

[1] Nikhita Pais is an international trade and investment lawyer, handling both trade remedies and market access projects for the team. She assists the team in enabling clients to reach new markets and expand their businesses to new avenues.

[2] Also known as “Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC”.

[3] On November 10, during COP 27 in Egypt, the World Intellectual Property Organization launched the first edition of the “Green Technology Book,” focusing on adaptation to climate change, placing its recommendations within the scope of mitigation measures. The book was created in cooperation with the Climate Technology Center and Network (CTCN) and the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (ASTR).

[4] https://impact.economist.com/sustainability/resilience-and-adaptation/cop27-what-needs-to-happen-and-why?https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead-2023?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc.adword.pd&utm_campaign=a.23worldahead&utm_content=conversion.non-brand.anonymous_search-twa23-in_en-g-competitivecontent-worldahead-dsa&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7tbx_7_B-wIVjX8rCh25KAFPEAAYASAAEgJ3iPD_BwE

[5] In geophysical applications of MR, a high-voltage electrical current is pulsed through a coil of shielded wire at a specific frequency—the resonant frequency of hydrogen nuclei. This enables highly accurate detection of groundwater characteristics, including porosity, pore size, bound & mobile water content, hydraulic connectivity, and more.



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