The largest ever COP came to a moderately successful close in Dubai last week with a commitment to ‘transition away from’ fossil fuels. Not the ‘phase out’ people were looking for but way beyond what was achievable just 2 years ago in Glasgow (and an impressive achievement in a “Petrostate”!)
The international negotiations that are particularly focused on implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement are critical in building the legal framework for tacking climate change but they take place alongside a staggering collection of NGOs, businesses, financiers, project developers and other community groups that are attending events, exchanging ideas and announcing projects and transactions. The reporting of this all seems to be sceptical and mostly presented in the press through a cynical lens but having spent a week there in discussions around climate finance I found the energy, ideas and determination (despite the fact that nothing ever happens fast enough when tackling climate) very inspiring.
It is definitely not the west dictating terms to the rest – far from it. Certainly in climate finance the large opportunities and assets are predominantly in the global south and they are as engaged and leading the process in many cases. There needs to be such a large reallocation of capital in the world economy that the private and public sectors and other civil society all need to be engaged and pushing for things to change. My impression is that the COPs provide an excellent forum to do this and are have become critical component in the decarbonisation journey.
Chris Villiers (from the perspective of Respira International)