Senior Vice President, Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
President, Global Energy Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
November 03, 2022
Starting next week, the international community will gather in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the United Nations climate change conference (COP27). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has official observer status, will send our largest-ever delegation to the conference. We’ll be joined by numerous business leaders from across the economy to help demonstrate just how seriously the business community takes its commitment to combatting climate change.
Since last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, the world has changed. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—and Europe’s reliance on Russia for energy — has placed new pressures on markets and underscored the importance of energy security. Record inflation in the United States and around the world has resulted in higher prices for business and consumers, and tight energy supplies and refining capacities have brought energy prices to some of their highest levels.
On the positive side, the U.S. Congress has acted to bring unprecedented resources to research, develop and deploy clean energy technologies, from renewables to carbon capture, battery storage and nuclear. Enactment and implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure law have begun, and both will provide important opportunities to accelerate not only technology deployment but adaptation and resilience as well. And while it fell short of the finish line (for now), serious discussions about permitting reform are happening in the United States. Combined with the vast resources that the private sector has already devoted, we couldn’t be more optimistic that innovation and technology will deliver the emissions reductions needed around the world.
COP27 has a renewed emphasis on Africa and developing nations, which brings with it a new focus on balancing broader development needs with climate demands. Earlier this year, the U.S. Chamber led its first GreenTech mission to Egypt, which connected more than 40 American businesses working on clean energy with needs and opportunities in Egypt and beyond. Longstanding issues of finance will be on the table during the negotiations. While government resources and policies are central to these discussions, American and European businesses and financial institutions will also play a critical role in helping to finance clean energy initiatives in the developing world.
We believe the emergence of nuclear energy at COP is notable. Long shunned at international gatherings, nuclear energy gained momentum at COP26 and is poised to be front and center at COP27. In fact, one of our many U.S. Chamber events at COP27 will highlight the security and emissions benefits of small modular nuclear reactors in Eastern Europe.
We are also pleased with the progress on reducing methane emissions. U.S natural gas remains an important piece of the equation, and the need for oil and gas will continue for decades. Not only is natural gas responsible for the bulk of America’s emissions reductions over the last decade, but it can also serve both as a lower-emissions baseload power source and augment the widespread use of intermittent renewables. Equally important but widely underappreciated is the fact that Europe’s efforts to wean itself of Russian energy by sourcing more U.S. LNG will also lower emissions, because America’s energy production is far cleaner than in Russia.
Given that reality, we appreciate the work of the U.S. government to develop and implement the Global Methane Pledge, which aims to reduce global methane emissions 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030. Achieving this goal will require Herculean efforts in sectors from energy to agriculture to waste management, but U.S. businesses are committed to accelerating reductions of this high intensity greenhouse gas and progress has already been made toward that goal.
The U.S. Chamber is hosting and participating in an ambitious series of events in Egypt, with assistance from our partners at AmCham Egypt. We are especially pleased to be hosting Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry at a business gala dinner at the midpoint of the conference on November 12th which should provide a timely update on COP27 discussions.
You can follow all of our U.S. Chamber activities in Egypt here.
About the authors
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.