By Patrick Ingraham

All eyes are on world leaders, environmental advocates, and energy specialists as they converge in Egypt for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27). With little doubt that climate change is accelerating at an alarming rate, the stakes are higher than ever as the participants discuss how governments and the energy industry can work together to leverage the array of available technology solutions that can bring clean energy at an affordable rate to all nations.

At the start of the conference on Monday, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres framed the urgency in stark terms when he likened the global crisis to a “highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.”

Extreme heat. Floods. Fires. Drought. These climate crises pose ongoing risks to people and the planet. These predictable extremes will continue to interrupt food supplies, degrade the environment, and disrupt energy security.

COP 27 brings the world together to galvanize resources and innovation to address immediate threats and slow warming to 1.5 degrees celsius, the promise of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement that was reiterated last year at COP 26 in Glasgow when nations rallied to “keep 1.5 alive.” To get there, emissions must decline by at least 45 percent by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050.

“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish. It is either a climate solidarity pact, or a collective suicide pact,” Guterres said during his opening remarks.

In the face of this peril, survival emerges as commitment, perseverance and innovation.

Much of the conversation during the nearly two-week conference, which is taking place in the resort city of Sharm El Sheikh on the Red Sea, will center on urgent climate action, the need for countries to work together, and a just transition away from fossil fuels toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Expect developing countries to seek follow through on the investment pledges wealthier countries have made to facilitate mitigation and adaptation. Meanwhile, politicians are reckoning with time-sensitive missions to deliver both energy security and energy transition amid geopolitical instability, severe climate events, an energy crisis and economic strain. It’s a tall order, as failure risks disfavor and economic destabilization.

While governments vow to make changes, implementation of those goals falls to industry, bringing to prominence the need for public-private partnerships to drive on-the-ground solutions.

On Nov. 15, the conference will focus on energy. Key themes will address:

  • Energy security, equity and sustainability, and the need to rapidly accelerate technological breakthroughs like green hydrogen.
  • Creating affordable, ethical energy transition in Africa.
  • The importance of innovation and technology in enabling the transition to low-carbon energy systems.
  • Technological solutions for electricity systems, like battery storage and smart grids, and what’s needed to scale-up.
  • Green hydrogen’s potential for emissions reduction within heavy industries, aviation, shipping and transportation.
  • The green hydrogen economy
  • Financing the clean energy transition

On Nov. 17, the conference will focus on solutions, including:

  • The link between innovation and efforts to enhance climate action
  • Economic policies
  • Green Entrepreneurship success stories – how entrepreneurs are delivering low-emissions or climate-resilient solutions in Egypt and Africa, and strategies to close financing gaps and build capacity
  • Sustainable transport pathways in Africa and the Global South, with a focus on low-carbon, affordable and healthy transport solutions
  • Private sector climate solutions in emerging and developing countries
  • Cities and Climate Change
  • The SURGe initiative: Sustainable Urban Resilience for the next Generation, with discussion on urbanization and climate change
  • 1000+ clean & efficient solutions to COP27
  • Reinventing waste solutions for a better future, with a focus on Africa and youth-driven solutions and projects

Transitioning energy systems away from fossil fuels, and building solutions to scale, is the clear path to a safer, decarbonized future. According to the United Nations, “cheap electricity from renewable sources could provide 65 percent of the world’s total electricity supply by 2030. It could decarbonize 90 percent of the power sector by 2050, massively cutting carbon emissions and helping to mitigate climate change.”

Because of our background in clean energy, COP27 is one of the most crucial annual events for Mercom Capital Group and the companies we work with and support. If you would like to learn about opportunities to be involved in next year’s event, or ways you can take advantage of the narratives and conversations during the conference, reach out to one of our team members.

Find the full conference agenda here.