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COP27 Latest: Kerry Says Republican Victory Will End Climate Aid

COP27 Latest: Kerry Says Republican Victory Will End Climate Aid

(Bloomberg) -- John Kerry, the US climate envoy and Democratic Party stalwart, said a Republican win in today’s midterm election would cut the flow of climate finance to poorer countries.

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Speaking at a panel discussion on climate adaptation, Kerry delivered a stark warning about the potential for the US to deliver billions in its share of international climate finance. “If what I think will happen in today’s elections happens and the House is gone, you’re not going to see that money,” he said.

Even under former President Donald Trump, who pulled the US from the Paris Agreement, the country still doled out some climate finance. But those small sums are a far cry from the $11.4 billion President Joe Biden has promised by 2024.

That would be a disppointment to many of the leaders of deleoping countries speaking at today’s summit.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said more climate funding needs to come in the form of grants and concessional loans, to avoid the continent ramping up debt.

Ramaphosa called on multilateral development banks to change their approach to climate finance, saying support is out of reach for most of the world’s population. The institutions are “risk averse” and their funding offers “carry onerous costs,” he said at the COP27 conference in Egypt.

More than 100 world leaders have visited Sharm el-Sheikh at the start of the the UN’s annual climate talks. They’re attempting to maintain momentum in the battle to curb planet-warming emissions.

This year, delegates are aiming harsh criticism at each other over issues ranging from climate reparations to funding for mitigation and adaptation in poorer countries.

Rising energy prices, accelerated by Russia’s war in Ukraine, have led many governments to prioritize security of supply over the transition to cleaner energy since the last COP summit in Glasgow.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, France’s Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak were among the biggest names to speak on Monday. US President Joe Biden and Brazil’s President-elect Luis Inacio Lula da Silva are due to appear later on.

The most notable no shows are China’s Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi, leaders of the world’s largest and third-largest emitters.

Highlights:

  • Highlights from Monday

  • Is the 1.5C warming goal dead?

  • EU’s Von Der Leyen warns of climate ‘highway to hell’

  • UK firms face new requirements to back up climate claims

  • Africa to expand the use of carbon offsets

  • Methane cloud spotted near New Mexico coal mine

  • South Africa launched an $8.5 billion plan to shift from coal to green energy

Here are the latest developments. All times Egypt.

Zelensky Says There Can Be No Climate Policy Without Peace (6:34 pm)

The Russian war has caused an energy crisis that forced dozens of countries to burn coal, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said during a video address to leaders at COP27. The war has also brought a food crisis to the world, a situation that’s distracting global leaders from climate action, he said.

“There can’t be no effective climate policy without peace,” he said. “Countries are thinking about how they can protect themselves here and now from the Russian aggression.”

Kerry Calls for ‘Common Sense’ on Climate Finance (5:55 pm)

John Kerry pleaded for “common sense” to be applied to the UN climate conference Tuesday, as he questioned a continued focus on the failure of rich countries to deliver a promised $100 billion in annual climate finance at a time when some nations are still building coal plants and subsidizing fossil fuels.

Speaking at a panel discussion on climate adaptation, Kerry also delivered a stark warning about the potential for the US to deliver billions in its share of international climate finance if Democrats lose control of the Congress in Tuesday’s midterm elections: “If what I think will happen in today’s elections happens and the House is gone, you’re not going to see that money.”

Kerry, the US special presidential envoy for climate, suggested the focus on failed finance pledges is siphoning attention away from the more pressing cause of throttling greenhouse gas emissions and keeping the earth’s temperature rise in check.

“Everyone is upset because the $100 billion target hasn’t been fulfilled completely,” even though it’s almost to the annual target this year, he said, adding: “when I got 90-something on a test at school, I thought I did pretty well.”

Oman Wants to Be the Middle East’s Hydrogen Hub (5:46 pm)

Oman will be able to produce one to two million tons of green hydrogen by 2030 using the country’s solar and wind capabilities, roughly equivalent to a 10th of the EU’s future demand, according to Energy Minister Salim Al-Aufi. The country wants to reach net zero by the middle of the century, including a 50% reduction of net emissions by 2040, he said in an interview. The country will still have a prominent oil and gas sector, though, meaning it will have to rely on carbon capture and storage.

“Everybody thinks that the Middle East is not responsive enough, is not taking actions on climate change,” he said. “It’s completely the opposite. We’re taking bold decisions.”

NATO Must Tackle Security Impact of Climate Change, Stoltenberg Says (4:53 pm)

Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, said the military alliance must address the link between climate change and security. “Climate change creates conflicts, it exacerbates conflicts,” Stoltenberg said in a video linkup.

Climate change increases competition over scarce resources and impacts military operations as forces have to adapt to more extreme weather, Stoltenberg said. He added that armed forces have to be part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Pakistan PM Says a Goal on Adaptation Needs to Be Prioritized (4:30 pm)

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called on rich countries to help fund the works needed to rebuild the country in a way that doesn’t throw it into a “financial debt trap.”

Pakistan will continue its plan to move toward eliminating net emissions once it recovers from the devastating rains that flooded a third of the country and were responsible for hundreds of deaths earlier this year, he said in a speech at the UN climate talks.

“The priority of Pakistan has never been clearer – a goal on adaptation needs to be prioritized in terms of financing and timelines,” Sharif said. “Climate finance must be clearly defined, with new additional and sustained resources through a clear mechanism that meets the needs of developing countries with the speed and scale that’s required.”

Germany Highlights CO2 Neutral Progress in Response to Gas Criticism (4:15 pm)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz responded to criticisms that his country is only using Africa for its gas needs.

“Now in the crisis, when no more gas from Russia is available, we have tapped new resources and will succeed in becoming independent of it by 2045,” he said at the UN climate talks.

“Germany is a gas country and a country that has made the most progress towards CO2 neutral production. If we have set ourselves such a big goal of ensuring that steel and chemicals are produced in a different way, then that is our big contribution to the goal of stopping man-made climate change.”

Von Der Leyen Says Developing Countries and EU Must Avoid ‘Highway to Hell’ (2:00 pm)

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen called on developing countries to “team up” with the trade bloc by providing it with the clean energy sources it needs to meet its green goals and cut its dependence on Russian fossil fuels. She also called on high-emitting countries to step up their climate ambitions.

“Let us not take the highway to hell,” she said. “Let’s earn the clean ticket to heaven.”

Asian Infrastructure Bank Says Gas Has a Transition Role (1:30 pm)

Natural gas will play a role during the green transition in developing countries and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will fund such projects if they’re in line with keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees, according to Vice President Danny Alexander.

The context in the developing world is different to the context in Europe, Alexander said in an interview. “We have have to be responsive to where our clients actually are and help to move them in the right direction to whichever tool is most suited to their circumstances.”

Alexander rebuffed calls from developing nations and small island states for multilateral development banks to be reformed to provide more and easier climate finance. He said it was more a question of scaling up private sector finance.

Carney Sees ‘Wall of Opportunity’ in Energy Markets (12:00 pm)

Renewable-energy assets are primed for an era of growth, emerging as the answer to both energy security risks and climate change, according to Mark Carney, the former Bank of England governor.

There’s currently a “wall of opportunity” in the renewable energy market, Carney, who co-chairs the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

“A lot of the answer to energy security problems that have been exposed by Russia’s illegal war have to do with sustainability,” he said. “That’s why you’ve seen a five-fold increase in the ambition in the European Union for this decade. That’s why you’ve seen the big roll-out with the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States.”

Funding for ‘Bottom-Up’ Climate Action in the US Launched (11:27 am)

The US State Department and Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a new $3 million initiative to help cities, states and other regional entities steer toward net-zero goals.

The program, dubbed SCALE, or Subnational Climate Action Leaders’ Exchange, is being established with a contribution of $1.5 million each. It will start by focusing on implementing the Global Methane Pledge, a commitment by more than 120 nations to cut emissions of the potent greenhouse gas 30% by 2030.

“The federal government has, many times, been asleep at the wheel,” said Michael Bloomberg, the UN secretary-general’s special envoy for climate ambition and solutions. Even so, a coalition of cities, states, businesses tribal nations and other institutions “showed the world the American people remain committed to fighting climate change.”

Michael Bloomberg is founder and owner of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News.

South Africa’s Ramaphosa Wants Change to Lending Approach (11:50 am)

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa called on multilateral development banks to change their approach to climate finance, decrying the failure to live up to promises to boost funding for climate adaptation and mitigation.

Multilateral support is out of reach for most of the world’s population, he said in a speech. The institutions are “risk averse” and their funding offers “carry onerous costs.”

More funding needs to come in the form of grants and concessional loans, he said.

Senegal’s Sall Urges Nations to Honor Funding Pledges (11:15 am)

African Union Chairman and Senegalese President Macky Sall called on rich nations to honor their pledges to finance African countries vulnerable to climate change, rather than giving loans to the already heavily-indebted nations.

“Developing countries are currently funding most of their climate change projects by taking on debts, when they should be receiving funding from what we have together agreed,” Sall said in a speech. “We are funding our own adaptation efforts when we the victims, which means we are being doubly punished and we are not ready to put up with that.”

“We are in favor of reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions,” he said. “But we Africans cannot accept that our vital interests be ignored as we undergo this energy transition. We are low emitters, however, we are the most vulnerable to loss and damage triggered by climate change.”

Poland Says Energy Transition Must Serve ‘Security’ (11:29 am)

Polish President Andrzej Duda used his plenary speech to stress the importance of energy security as the world grapples with higher prices.

“The transition is there to serve man, not the man to serve the transition,” he said. “People are going to ask why the energy is so expensive. The transition has to serve energy security.”

Poland is the biggest coal producer in the European Union. It’s another example of an important theme in Sharm el-Sheikh: the idea that the transition can’t come at the expense of security of supply. Others argue that’s a false choice and cheaper renewables are the answer to the energy crunch.

Duda, one of Ukraine’s staunches allies, also took the opportunity to blame Russia’s aggression for the global energy crisis.

Botswana President Wants End to Project Financing (11:27 am)

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi called for an end to project-based climate adaptation funding, saying that the scale of the challenge necessitated direct contributions to national treasuries.

Masisi’s words echoed pronouncements made by politicians from South Africa to Barbados for a rethink on how climate finance is channeled to the developing world.

China to Working on Tighter Climate Laws (11:00 am)

China is pushing forward amendments to national laws to help cut carbon emissions, Wang Yi of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said.

There could be changes to 20-30 laws in China, with work accelerating after the people’s congress in March next year, he said.

Irish PM Calls for New Financial Tools (11:00 am)

Adaptation to climate change requires new tools for helping countries deal with weather disasters, Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

“Along with all of the measures we must take to reduce emissions, we also now have to look at adaptation, and create financial instruments in terms of dealing with catastrophic risk,” he said.

African Nations to Expand Local Carbon Markets (10:30 am)

A group of African countries including Kenya, Malawi, Gabon, Nigeria and Togo, together with Standard Chartered, are backing a new initiative to “dramatically expand” the use of carbon offsets on the continent.

It aims to produce 300 million credits annually by 2030, and 1.5 billion by 2050. Each credit will represent a metric ton of reduced, removed or avoided greenhouse gas emissions. Even 75 million credits would be double the total number issued across the entire of Africa in 2021.

World Bank to Launch Climate Fund for Poorer Nations (10:00 am)

World Bank President David Malpass will on Tuesday unveil a fund aimed at helping developing countries to cope with climate change.

It’s “a big trust fund” called SCALE, Malpass said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “I think of it as a giant resource need that can be filled by grants from the advanced economies.”

Poor nations are struggling with a confluence of challenges, from rising prices and interest rates to the effects of climate change to a shortage in fertilizer, he said. He added that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated the problems.

Greece Targets Role as Europe’s Green Power Hub (9:35 am)

Greece wants to become a net exporter of renewable electricity to the rest of Europe, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.

The nation is backing a plan to build cables that will bring green power to Europe via the country from Egypt and the Middle East. If such a project is successful, it would go some way to help the European Union boost supplies as everything from transport to heavy industries will use more electricity in the future.

UAE and Egypt Ink Pact for 10GW of Solar Power (9:30 am)

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have signed a deal to develop 10 gigawatts of onshore wind power in Egypt. Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy firm Masdar is leading consortium to build the plant.

UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed and Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi attending the signing.

EU Signs Forest Partnership with Five Countries (9:00 am)

The European Union signed a memorandum of understanding to help preserve forests in Guyana, Mongolia, the Republic of Congo, Uganda and Zambia. The bloc is set to pass legislation banning the import of products whose manufacture causes deforestation. But its demand for rubber has been criticized by non-profit organizations for contributing to trees being cut down in Africa.

Read more: Europe’s Rubber Addiction Destroys Africa’s Tropical Forests

Apple, Pepsi Join Promise to Buy Near-Zero-Carbon Metal (8:45 am)

PepsiCo, Apple and Rio Tinto are among the newest members of a corporate buyers club that has committed $12 billion to purchasing near-zero-carbon steel, aluminum and other products. Members hope to create greener supply chains and accelerating the production of clean technology.

The First Movers Coalition is also growing with new corporate pledges from companies such as automaker General Motors and Swedish power provider Vattenfall to buy next-level-green cement and concrete -- at least 10% of their needs in 2030.

Taiwan’s Gogoro Sees India as ‘Holy Grail’ for EV Technology (8:27 am)

Taiwanese startup Gogoro sees huge scale for its battery-swapping technology in India, joining the race to get a slice of an electric vehicle market which is expected to reach 400 times its current size by the end of the decade.

“India represents the holy grail,” said Horace Luke, the chief executive officer, said to Bloomberg TV. The electric-scooter and battery-swapping-station maker is going to get its technology “honed, fine-tuned and calibrated to the India condition.”

Countries Set to Bolster Global Methane Pledge at Climate Summit (8:00 am)

The EU and US put methane on the map at COP26 in Glasgow -- declaring the potent greenhouse gas a threat to Paris Agreement temperature goals and insisting emissions of it must be slashed 30% by 2030.

In the year since, European countries and the US have successfully encouraged more than 120 countries to sign on to a formal methane-cutting pledge, and at Sharm El-Sheikh, about 40 of them are set to outline their plans for doing so, according to a senior State Department official.

PwC Says Emissions Reductions Must Speed Up (7:15 am)

The goals set at the 2021 COP summit in Glasgow aren’t being met fast enough, according to PwC Chairman Bob Moritz.

“We sit at the table today, a year later, not seeing speed and scale of change” required to meet climate targets, he said to Bloomberg TV. “We need to move much faster. We have a long way to go.”

According to the accounting and consulting firm’s own analysis, emissions reductions globally have to happen 11 times faster than what’s been the case in the past two decades.

Japan Delays Carbon Tax Reform (4:00 am)

Japan is delaying plans to revise how it taxes carbon, the Nikkei newspaper reported, potentially slowing efforts to wean the country off fossil fuels.

The government will postpone the introduction of a new carbon tax that was planned for the fiscal year starting April 2023, the Nikkei said Tuesday without attribution. Policy makers decided it would add to already surging living costs, it said.

It’s at least the second time the changes have been pushed back. The environment ministry had requested the introduction of a more substantial carbon levy in the previous annual tax revisions, but the government backed away amid industrial protests.

Banks Fall Dangerously Short of Pledges in New Net-Zero (2:01 am)

Most banks that have published net-zero emissions targets are failing to live up to those commitments, according to a fresh study by ShareAction.

The majority of the 43 largest financiers of fossil fuels in the Net Zero Banking Alliance “have climate targets that fall short of what’s needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate crisis,” the nonprofit said Tuesday. Only 16% of the banks analyzed have set interim, overarching net-zero goals, ShareAction concluded.

UK Firms Face New Requirements to Prove Climate Claims (2:01 am)

The UK is set to require companies to provide granular details to back up their decarbonization claims, under a fresh proposal intended to stamp out greenwashing.

The government-backed Transition Plan Taskforce is seeking feedback on its disclosure framework, which requires firms to produce evidence of “concrete” short-term action taken to reduce their carbon footprints, according to a statement on Tuesday.

--With assistance from Paul Tugwell, Laura Millan Lombraña, David Malingha, Alastair Marsh, Yousef Gamal El-Din, Francine Lacqua, Alfred Cang, Stephen Stapczynski, John Follain and Antony Sguazzin.

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