Of course, climate pledges aren’t worth the paper they’re written on if they aren’t taken off the page and turned into concrete action.
That’s why COP27 was expected to be one of “implementation.”
On the opening day of the conference, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell called for aligning “every corner of human activity” with the 1.5°C goal, saying “Paris gave us the agreement and Katowice and Glasgow gave us the plan, Sharm el-Sheikh shifts us to implementation.”
But what does a shift to implementation mean and what will it look like?
For starters, the package of decisions adopted at COP27 have a strong focus on implementation – they aim to strengthen action by countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change, as well as boost the support of finance, technology and capacity building needed by developing countries.
Notably, nations resolved to make the transition to low-emission and climate-resilient development ambitious, just and equitable. They went one step further at COP27 by deciding to establish a work programme on ‘just transition,’ which is expected to build on and complement the work to urgently scale up mitigation ambition and implementation.
The Paris Agreement calls on signatories to take into account “the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities.” That means a just transition is not a fixed set of rules, “but a vision and a process based on dialogue and an agenda shared by workers, industry, and governments that need to be negotiated and implemented in their geographical, political, cultural, and social contexts,” according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
Speaking about the year ahead, Stiell said UN Climate Change will help Parties and future COP Presidencies navigate this path to the new phase of implementation.
“The heart of implementation is: Everybody, everywhere in the world, every single day, doing everything they possibly can to address the climate crisis,” said Stiell.