During two weeks in November more than 35,000 participants descended on COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The aim of COP27 was clear: to focus on implementation, raise the level of ambition from COP26, and a strong focus on ‘loss and damage’. Of course there was also the the now customary last-minute negotiations over the weekend.
Clean Air Aisa was part of the COP27, with partners organising a side event focusing on Clean Air as a human right.
But did the COP27 deliver against the promises? Here are some of Clean Air Asia’s key take aways:
‘Loss and damage’
After years of negotiations, nations finally agreed to set up a fund to pay developing nations for loss and damage caused by climate change. Though the details are unclear (for example who will contribute how much by when), it is a significant and a positive step forward for environmental justice.
Many had hoped that COP27, as part of its increasing ambition, would focus further on fossil fuels. And while the final text continues to call for the phased down use of unabated coal power and the phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, there was little appetite for agreement on phase down (or even phase out) of fossil fuels more broadly. There was, in addition, no follow through on the ‘phase out’ of coal from COP26 in Glasgow.
What does this all mean for Clean Air?
For Clean Air Asia, the Climate, Air and Health agenda is strongly linked. Actions to clean the air also benefit the climate, the public health and vice versa.
Viewed through this lens, it is disappointing that there was no real follow through on the phase down of use of coal and that fossil fuels where not really considered. Actions in these two areas would have greatly advanced the climate and clean air agenda to the benefit of public health, the environment at large and, of course, our planet.
We know that improving air quality through emissions reductions will help to curb climate change and improve public health outcomes, save lives and the planet. Therefore we must have, throughout Asia, a relentless focus on the development and implementation of action plans and targeted policies combined with sustainable shifts that will ensure safety and wellbeing for generations to come.
At Clean Air Asia, we will redouble our efforts to clean the air. We will do this by:
- Partnering with governments throughout Asia on policy development, the development of Climate and Clean Air Action Plans, and the implementation of multi-sector air quality and climate solutions
- Researching and analyzing policy, and tracking progress over time
- Engaging with industry and communities in the development of solutions
- Building knowledge and skills
- Advocating for air quality and climate action
- Changing attitudes, behaviours, and practices
- Developing and implementing realistic and sustainable pathways to change
So where do we go from here?
COP27 was in part a success due to the commitment to set up a fund for loss and damage. But the bigger picture is a more challenging one. There has been little progress on fossil fuels and follow through on the ‘phase down of coal’ deal from COP26 – and overall, still not enough recognition of the interlinkages between Clean Air and Climate and Health. The 1.5 degrees C target is still alive, certainly in the spirit of the delegates, but unfortunately seemed less so in the final outcome document.
At Clean Air Asia we will continue our relentless focus on delivering and implementing real solutions that benefit air, climate and people and contribute to environmental justice. If you would like to help us in this endeavour please sign up below to find out more about future events, initiatives and ways you can contribute to a cleaner future.