As COP27 gets underway in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, the Institute of Export & International Trade’s (IOE&IT) director general has expressed his hope that the conference will succeed in refocusing world leaders on the importance of combatting climate change while building on the successes of COP26 in putting international trade at the centre of this effort.
Marco Forgione told the IOE&IT Daily Update:
“This conference comes at a critical time for the international effort to combat climate change. It’s been a difficult year since Glasgow due to the energy crisis and economic fallout that has followed Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“But there were strong policies and agreements landed on at COP26 which need to be delivered and built on. We hope that COP27 can refocus world leaders on what is humanity’s biggest challenge. Supply chains and trade have a central role to play in helping find solutions.”
One of the major agreements from COP26 in Glasgow last year was the signing of the Clydebank Declaration to develop green shipping corridors – routes between two or more maritime ports which have zero-emissions.
Forgione said that this needed to be built upon and that trade digitalisation has a key role to play.
“The Clydebank Declaration was a landmark agreement for international shipping and trade. This needs to be delivered and built upon.
“Research was conducted by DFDS that found that for every 15 minutes one of its ships sits idle in a port, a tonne of heavy fuel is used. Increasing efficiency at international borders can therefore have a significant impact on reducing carbon emissions.
“Digitalising border processes and trade documentation will play a key role in addressing existing inefficiencies. The IOE&IT is showing this can be down through the Ecosystem of Trust pilots in the UK and the Trade Logistics Information Pipeline in Kenya.
“Establishing digital corridors will play a key role in allowing green shipping routes to become a reality.”
He added that regulation like the Electronic Trade Documents Bill in the UK, which is currently making its way through Parliament, is playing a key role in making digital and greener trade possible.
“If anything, as well as paving the way for more efficient and digital trade, removing the need for so much physical paperwork will have a significant environmental impact” he said.
The new UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, will be addressing COP27 later today in his first international outing since entering No 10.
According to the BBC, he will tell the conference: "By honouring the pledges we made in Glasgow, we can turn our struggle against climate change into a global mission for new jobs and clean growth. And we can bequeath our children a greener planet and a more prosperous future."
His predecessor Boris Johnson is also attending the conference.
Alok Sharma, the president of COP26, said that despite the pressures put on countries by the fallout of the invasion of Ukraine, progress has been made since last year. He said in a ceremonial opening speech at COP27 yesterday:
“Over 90 percent of the global economy is now covered by a net zero target, up from less than 30 percent when the UK took on the COP26 role.
“The biggest companies and financial institutions in the world have committed to net zero and they have done so in force, with a global wall of capital creating green jobs, and directing billions into the green industries of both today and tomorrow.
“Countries and companies are making tangible sectoral progress, from zero emission vehicles to our Breakthrough Agenda, and are accelerating the rollout of renewable energy across the world.”
The conference comes after UN secretary general Antonio Guterres warned leaders that the world had reached a “now or never” moment.
He was commenting on a new flagship report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which found that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions have increased since 2010 “across all major sectors globally”.
Guterres said that if action isn’t taken, the world will face “unprecedented heatwaves, terrifying storms, widespread water shortages and the extinction of a million species of plants and animals”.
Trade and climate
The IOE&IT recently published a special edition of the IOE&IT Daily Update looking ahead to COP27 and the role of trade in the fight against climate change, including the following articles: