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Despite geopolitical distractions, COP27 has rallied climate action

Solar power

Solar power. FILE PHOTO | NMG

High-profile happenings around the world in the past fortnight appear to have conspired to deny COP27 much-needed oxygen and limelight.

These include the US mid-term elections, the war in Ukraine, the G20 forum, and the Trump 2024 presidential bid announcement.

It had been expected that COP27 would be a follow-up meeting on COP26 plans to cut back on fossil fuels and carbon emissions. Instead, COP27 has been dominated by other associated climate subjects like climate justice and funding, afforestation, food security and methane gas.

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This is understandable considering the overriding energy insecurity caused by global fossil fuels supply chain disruptions attributed to the ongoing war in Ukraine. However, it is evident from COP27 discussions that the transition to renewable energy is progressing, driven by global capital, investors, and national green energy policies.

Europe is definitely accelerating the energy transition, forced by the ongoing fossil fuels sourcing problems from Russia. The USA has already lined up budgets to implement renewable energy infrastructure, while China continues to scale up renewable energy participation to match western competition.

Western investors are committing significant funding for renewable energy projects in the developing world, including Kenya.

Global capital markets have remained mostly averse to funding coal and oil projects around the world, sticking to COP26 commitments made last year. Oil-producing nations and companies are selectively making decisions on how much and where to produce oil and gas, focusing on production project readiness and unit costs.

The exact path and quantum of the global energy transition are yet to be correctly determined, leaving oil and gas producers to estimate how much oil and gas to produce to meet shifting global demands. And, as long as the energy transition is not centrally synchronised, oil and gas supplies will fluctuate with significant price volatility.

In between COP26 and COP27, climate change awareness and participation have significantly grown prompted among corporate firms and other organisations which have embraced structured ESG policies and systems.

Plenty of socioeconomic opportunities exist in climate change mitigation and adaptation innovations and implementation.

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For its part, public service should similarly articulate and influence climate change action in their development agenda to improve quality of life in general. COP27 has been an opportunity to review progress and identify issues that stand in the way of the implementation of COP26 climate goals.

Numerous climate emergencies that occurred in 2022 have underlined the urgency for climate action. Finally, the energy insecurity created by the Ukraine crisis may indeed have accelerated the global energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

The writer is a petroleum consultant.