Climate Action

All the COP27 news from week 1 and other top climate change stories

COP27 A banner fighting against climate change by saying 'one world'.

Top COP27, climate change and environment stories: India has set out its steps to reach net zero by 2070; Scientists warn global emissions from fossil fuels to rise 1%; and more Image: Unsplash/ Markus Spiske

Kate Whiting
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • This weekly round-up brings you key climate change stories from the past seven days.
  • Top COP27, climate change and environment stories: India has set out its steps to reach net zero by 2070; Scientists warn global emissions from fossil fuels to rise 1%; WTO chief to revise green trade talks.

1. News in brief: Top COP27 and climate change stories to read this week

India has laid out the steps it will take to achieve net zero by 2070, releasing its Long-Term Low Emissions and Development Strategies (LT-LEDS) at the COP27 summit in Egypt. Just 56 countries have submitted LT-LEDS to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including China, the United States and Japan.

US President Joe Biden told COP27 delegates on 11 November that global warming poses an existential threat to the planet and promised the United States would meet its targets for fighting it. "The climate crisis is about human security, economic security, environmental security, national security and the very life of the planet," Biden said.

The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) initiative to help agriculture adapt to climate change and reduce emissions through innovation has doubled investment commitments to $8 billion and extended its reach. The initiative is led by the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

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The UN and standard setter the International Organization for Standardization has launched a set of guidelines to help organizations construct net-zero emissions plans. It follows a UN report published at COP27 on 8 November that said action is needed to tackle rampant "greenwashing" in companies' net-zero plans.

Climate change is rapidly melting away the world's frozen regions, with summertime Arctic sea ice sure to vanish by 2050, according to a report published on 7 November.

The UN's environment watchdog will launch a public database of global methane leaks detected by space satellites, to encourage companies and governments to curb emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas. The Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) will build on a pledge signed by 119 countries since last year to cut methane emissions by 30% this decade.

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Countries representing more than half of the global economy have specified the steps they will take to help accelerate the low-carbon transition by cutting emissions in sectors including power, transport and steel.

Mexico will raise its target to unconditionally cut greenhouse gas emissions during COP27. It will aim for emissions to be 30% below usual levels by 2030, up from a previous goal of 22%, its environment ministry said on 8 November.

US climate envoy John Kerry has announced the creation of a carbon offset plan – the Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA) – meant to help developing countries speed their transition away from fossil fuels.

More than 25 countries at COP27 have launched the Forest and Climate Leaders' Partnership, which they say will ensure they hold each other accountable for a pledge to end deforestation by 2030. They have announced billions of dollars to finance their efforts.

2. Global CO2 emissions to rise again, scientists say

COP27: Emissions are set to grow 1% in 2022.
US President Joe Biden told COP27 delegates on 11 November that global warming poses an existential threat to the planet Image: Global Carbon Project

Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are on track to rise by around 1% this year, scientists said on 11 November, warning that this would make it harder for the world to avoid disastrous levels of climate change.

Released during the United Nations COP27 climate summit, the Global Carbon Budget report lays bare the gap between the promises governments, companies and investors have made to cut planet-warming emissions in future years, and their actions today – which cause emissions to keep rising.

Countries are expected to emit a total of 41 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2022, says the report by more than 100 scientists, with 37 billion tonnes from burning fossil fuels and 4 billion tonnes from uses of land like deforestation.

This year's increase was driven by higher oil use in transport – particularly aviation – as economies continued to reopen from lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emissions from burning coal increased, as countries have turned to the most-polluting fossil fuel after Russia restricted natural gas supplies to Europe following its February invasion of Ukraine, which sent global gas prices soaring.

3. WTO chief seeks to revive green trade talks

The head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) aims to revive negotiations on a global environmental trade deal, she told Reuters, as part of efforts to give the trade watchdog a bigger role in tackling climate change.

Talks on scrapping tariffs and other trade barriers on goods such as solar panels or smart-heating controls that can address climate change are seen as an important step towards cutting the cost of environmental protection.

But WTO discussions collapsed in 2016 after disagreements between China and Western countries about which products should be on the environmental list.

"We would like to see the revival of an environmental goods and services agreement," Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters on the sidelines of the COP27 climate summit on 7 November.

She said the talks should also be expanded to include services. These could include air pollution mitigation or wastewater treatment.

4. More on COP27 and climate change on Agenda

From Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying there will be no effective climate policy without peace, to UN Secretary-General António Guterres' "highway to hell" warning, these were some of the most impactful quotes from world leaders during the first week of the COP27 climate summit.

The World Economic Forum's First Movers Coalition provided a progress report at COP27, a year on from when it was launched by President Biden at COP26 – and announced that the concrete and cement sector have agreed to dramatic carbon reduction initiatives.

And if you're struggling to understand what some of the buzzwords at the UN climate summit mean, read this explainer article on COP27 jargon.

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