Martin Durbin
Senior Vice President, Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, President, Global Energy Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Published

December 08, 2022

Share

On Sunday, November 20th, the final gavel closed on COP27 in Egypt, as countries around the world signed off on the “Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan.”   

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was proud to represent the private sector at the conference with our largest delegation ever, working closely with business and government allies from the U.S., Egypt, and other countries around the world to convey the important role of business in implementing climate solutions.   

The U.S. Chamber participated in nearly 20 different public and private events while in Sharm el Sheikh. For a full recap of these engagements, visit our COP27 website here.  

Analysis of COP27 outcomes  

While the media narrative around COP27 was mixed, we believe the unprecedented actions being taken and investments being made by the business community to tackle climate challenges—and important alliances with governments and other stakeholders—is reason for optimism. A constant theme throughout the conference, especially from U.S. leaders, was the important role that business plays both to help finance and implement climate solutions at home and abroad. 

U.S. Chamber Global Energy Institute President Marty Durbin speaks at a COP27 dinner headlined by U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on November 12, 2022.
U.S. Chamber Global Energy Institute President Marty Durbin speaks at a COP27 dinner headlined by U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on November 12, 2022.

As the U.S. Chamber’s Marty Durbin summarized during his remarks at our business community gala co-hosted with AmCham Egypt:

“There is a clear excitement among the business community about the opportunities that exist to address the energy and climate challenge in ways that position companies for long-term success in an evolving marketplace.  And events like COP27 allow us to see the innovations in technology, in systems, in data use, and in strategic partnerships among companies and with governments and NGOs, on display, in progress, and making change….so the business community is essential to climate progress, and we are here…” 

The establishment of a “Loss and Damage” funding designed to provide financial support to countries affected by climate change was the headline achievement of COP27.  Hailed as major progress, many fundamental details remain to be negotiated regarding how countries contribute, how much they contribute and how funds would be distributed. Among other significant outcomes were:  

  • Clean energy solutions. The final COP agreement also “stresses the importance of enhancing clean energy mix, including low-emission and renewable energy” while also noting that “the unprecedented global energy crisis underlines the urgency to rapidly transform energy systems to be more secure, reliable, and resilient.” The Chamber welcomes this attention to both energy security and a broad range of clean energy solutions, encompassing resources and technologies from nuclear energy and natural gas to hydrogen, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and much more.  
  • Adaptation and resilience. The agreement elevates adaptation and resilience alongside mitigation as important to reducing climate risks. It calls for “urgently and significantly scale (ing) up their provision of climate finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building for adaptation so as to respond to the needs of developing countries.” 
  • Agriculture, food security, and nature-based solutions. In a historic first, the final COP27 agreement explicitly calls attention to the “fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger,” as well as “using nature and ecosystems for effective and sustainable climate action”—a nod to the importance of food, agriculture, and nature-based solutions in the context of addressing climate. While subtle, these additions are viewed as important steps toward more concerted global action on these issues.  
  • Energy development and the just transition in Africa. Finally, Africa’s unique climate and energy challenges took center stage in Egypt. Through the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF) and the Chamber’s Africa team, we worked to highlight the “climate of mistrust” that permeated discussions in Egypt, in which African nations are told to seek carbon-free power sources to provide reliable energy, only to see Europe and the developed world bring more carbon intensive sources online when they need it.     

Unfortunately, concerns remain about the lack of recognition of the growing and prominent participation of business leaders at recent COPs and the critical role of business in delivering climate solutions. In fact, a high profile report released by the UN “High-Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities” was highly critical of business momentum in support of climate ambition. Going forward, the Chamber will help ensure that the UN process and government stakeholders better understand and consider the contributions of business to global climate challenges.    

The U.S. government’s perspective 

In addition to these globally focused issues, the U.S. government also highlighted several programs that enjoy strong business community engagement/participation, including:  

  • Additional country participation in the Global Methane Pledge to reduce methane emissions 30 percent by 2030 (the U.S. Chamber’s statement on this progress is here);  
  • An Energy Transition Accelerator aimed at building carbon markets in developing nations;  
  • A Green Shipping Challenge launched with Norway to decarbonize the global shipping market  
  • Expansion of the Global Fertilizer Challenge, including the commitment of $135 million to help low- and middle-income countries address fertilizer shortages.   
  • Expansion of the First Movers Coalition—a growing group of 65 companies that have committed $12 billion toward emissions-reducing solutions in a number of hard-to-abate sectors.       

Among the most notable engagements were two meetings that will help set the stage for COP28. While in Sharm, the U.S. Chamber organized a meeting with H.E. Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, COP28 Director General, and business leaders in the UAE Pavilion to explore how the U.S. Chamber and our members can collaborate on COP28, which will be held in Dubai next November. As a result of that discussion, the U.S. Chamber and a group of about 40 Chamber members are meeting in Abu Dhabi this week to further explore how the critical role that business plays in climate solutions can be incorporated into next year’s programming.  

U.S. Chamber and business leaders meet with H.E. Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, COP28 Director General, in the UAE Pavilion at COP27.
U.S. Chamber and business leaders meet with H.E. Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, COP28 Director General, in the UAE Pavilion at COP27.

COP28 will truly be a conference for all of the Middle East, so with that in mind, during COP27 several U.S. Chamber executives also met with H.E. Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s Climate Envoy. At COP27, Saudi leaders highlighted the Saudi Green Initiative, and there are plans for the U.S. Chamber to organize a GreenTech Business Mission to both the UAE and Saudi Arabia during 2023 to further private sector opportunities.   

Stay tuned for more updates on the U.S. Chamber’s international climate engagement, including our work to ensure a successful COP28 next year.   

About the authors

Martin Durbin

Martin Durbin

Senior Vice President, Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, President, Global Energy Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Martin (Marty) Durbin is president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute (GEI). Durbin leads GEI’s efforts to build support for meaningful energy action through policy development, education, and advocacy, making it a go-to voice for commonsense energy solutions.

Read more