Happy December, winter is here! The last couple of weeks have been very busy on the climate front, so first, I thought I’d provide a quick recap of COP27, the annual global climate conference that took place in Egypt in November.
As you may remember, back in 2015 at COP21, 196 countries signed The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty and a global commitment to address the climate crisis. Countries now convene annually to assess progress and negotiate the many challenges in the way of accelerating progress at scale.
This year in Egypt at COP27, 200 counties came together to continue the work outlined in Paris. There were some important wins, but overall, negotiations inched along when we really needed a massive shift.
First, the good news: World leaders agreed to create a fund that would help poor, vulnerable countries pay for climate impacts. This was a huge accomplishment and a breakthrough on one of the most contentious issues at past United Nations climate negotiations. For more than three decades, developing nations have pressed rich, industrialized countries to provide for the costs of destructive storms, heat waves, and droughts linked to rising temperatures so this goes a long way toward truly global engagement.
Unfortunately, by the time COP27 wrapped up, the summit did little to advance the root causes of global warming. Most notably, over 80 countries wanted more specific commitments to phase down all fossil fuels (not just coal, but more oil and gas) which were blocked by oil-rich countries such as Canada, Saudi Arabia, and China. Once again, progress was stonewalled by some of the world’s largest carbon emissions producers.
It’s vitally important for all nations to slash their emissions much more rapidly now, but this year’s commitments did not go much beyond what countries agreed to last year.
It’s beyond maddening that we inch along with half measures when instead, we need the most ambitious of climate plans to meet the science-based target of zero carbon emissions by 2050.
We all have to keep moving forward – and the winter outdoor industry has an important role in helping drive the systemic change needed. I truly believe that the business voice is the most powerful accelerator of real progress on climate, and that’s why SIA is a member of CERES, an advocacy organization that is galvanizing the immense power of the business sector to drive a shift in climate policy. Most recently CERES led a huge effort from the business community to help get the historic Inflation Reduction Act passed. Every business of every size in our $79 billion industry has a powerful voice and throughout the year, we’ll give you consistent and meaningful opportunities to use yours.
We’ve made great progress this year, and despite the shortcomings at COP27, I know we can do this – we have the business imperative, the influence (and passion), and the achievable solutions. Now it’s a matter of making climate part of every business strategy and acting urgently on it.
As always, please contact me if you have any questions, or need any guidance with your climate action planning.
Head of Advocacy, SIA