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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Our new COP27 briefing paper urges wealthy countries to meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement to deliver agreed climate finance and mobilise further funds to support decarbonisation and adaptation of economically poorer countries. In the build up to COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the Institute has released a set of detailed asks collated from its work with leading businesses and financial institutions across climate change and nature regeneration, and business sustainability. The analysis also highlights the role of the private sector in reducing national and international emissions and supporting country adaptation to a changing climate.

CISL’s COP27 briefing

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Clare Shine, CEO and Director, CISL said: “We have entered a time of interlinked and converging polycrises. The consequences of acting too slowly for climate and nature are impacting every continent and threaten human security. Climate-related catastrophes are now frequent and ferocious, with millions of people losing their homes, family units and communities, and livelihoods. Too many have already lost their lives.  

“If wealthy countries were trying to look away before, the setting for this year’s COP – bordering the hunger crisis in East Africa, and with the Russian invasion of Ukraine affecting Egyptian food security – puts the realities of climate and conflict risks squarely in the frame. Nowhere on the planet feels the impact of climate change more than Africa. It is time to rebuild trust between those nations most responsible for climate change and those whose people and economies are most vulnerable.  

“COP27 will be tough because leaders must tackle some of the biggest problems ever faced. But the time is now. Deep collaboration and radical openness across countries and economic actors, with skilled negotiation and communication, can turn the current raft of commitments into meaningful action.” 

CISL’s COP27 Briefing outlines a set of five key asks across energy, adaptation, ambition, finance, and nature that leading businesses believe governments could deliver to collaboratively accelerate real-world action on the dual climate and nature crises and ensure people are centred in the transformation to net zero economies. The paper also explores why more and more businesses are motivated to act on the climate agenda. 

This year’s climate summit is expected to set the tone and pace of progress for the UNFCCC negotiations and delivery mechanisms for the next decade. COP27 offers an opportunity for global leaders to agree pathways for a more resilient and sustainable agenda that places climate change at the forefront of economic prosperity. And with the global stocktake, that started during COP26, concluding in 2023 with the COP28 summit in the United Arab Emirates (UEA), what is decided in Sharm El-Sheikh sets the tone and pace for next year’s summit and prepares the ground for the roadmap for 2030 and beyond. 

There has been significant progress on the energy transition with renewable capacity expected to be up 60 percent on 2020 levels by the middle of this decade, with leaders across the world increasingly turning to renewables to guarantee cheaper, cleaner, and more secure power for their populations. The US’s Inflation Reduction Act paves the way for the country to tackle rising energy insecurity and cost contribution to inflation, while cutting emissions. Businesses are also stepping up, with more than 8,300 businesses now signed up to the UN Race to Zero campaign—a 60% increase since COP26. A recent YouGov poll commissioned by CISL indicated a strong business appetite for net zero regulation.  

The new report calls on governments meeting at this year’s climate summit to deliver clear progress across the following key themes: 

  • Finance: Mobilise capital to meet the trillions of dollars that economically poorer countries need to decarbonise and build climate resilience; 
  • Adaptation: Ensure we protect everyone and everywhere from the impacts of a changing climate; 
  • Ambition: Close the ambition and implementation gaps by setting strong targets and establishing the right policies and actions to reach them; 
  • Energy: Accelerate the shift to renewables and scale up measures to reduce energy demand through multilateral collaboration;  
  • Nature: Set the bar for meaningful action to jointly address the climate and nature crises: achieving net zero while also protecting and restoring nature. 

Nina Seega, research Director, Sustainable Finance, CISL said: “Regions across Africa are being hit by droughts, floods heatwaves and storms which are reducing their economic growth. Not only can regions like these not afford such losses, they also have least responsibility for the industrialisation-linked emissions that cause them. From the outset, the target figure of $100bn was just a fraction of the climate finance required. However, even this has failed to materialise. This consistent inability to hit even this low bar is rightly being flagged as a wake-up call to the finance ministries of rich nations.”

Eliot Whittington, Director of Policy, CISL said: “As we head into COP27, the world is facing a crucial moment to develop and implement the plans and policies needed to address the multiple crises we face relating to climate change, biodiversity loss, energy and food security, and related global cost of living increase. We cannot tackle any of these in isolation and we cannot allow cyclical crises to distract us from the transition to net zero.”  

Find out more about CISL at COP27

CISL’s response to COP27: Major breakthrough on loss and damage but talks fail to move forward on limiting causes. Read our full response here.

Read CISL's response to COP27

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CISL at COP27

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CISL at COP26

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COP27 thought leadership from Clare Shine

COP27: Here’s how to unlock Africa’s low-carbon future

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How private investors can help combat climate change

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Achieving Zero

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