Sunrise in Sharm El Sheikh: Reasons to be hopeful coming out of COP27

Posted: 7 December, 2022

Sharm El Sheikh provided an appropriate desert backdrop for this year’s global climate negotiations. Egypt’s November desert sunshine was a constant reminder of the 2.7-degree pathway that the world is currently on. With the discussions concluded, here are some thoughts on the progress we have made in the past year and the next steps needed to accelerate change.

Global populations are already experiencing the climate emergency.

With a hurricane bearing down on the Caribbean as the negotiators at COP27 met, it is clear that the climate crisis needs to be addressed urgently. Indeed, the US Federal Insurance & Mitigation Association (FIMA) attended COP for the first time, as part of a growing group of organizations, institutions and businesses focusing not just on mitigation but also dealing with lasting climate change through adaptation. As John Kerry said, “If we implement the commitments made in Glasgow, we can correct the world to a 1.8-degree pathway by 2050.” But there’s a long way to go to comply with those commitments. While 1.5 degrees remains the stated target, the world is still far from that trajectory. We currently don’t have an agreed pathway to get there.

Adaptation, as well as mitigation, is now a global necessity.

The adaptation approach might be misunderstood as despair in the face of accelerating change—but that’s far from the truth. The momentum for climate action has never been stronger. With the IPCC’s sixth report in February sounding an ever-clearer call to action, every institution represented in the congress was finding a way to respond. I was particularly encouraged by the response of the private sector, where massive investment and new technologies are paving the way for transformative public-private partnerships for emissions reductions.

Climate change is driving unprecedented extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts, and heat waves. In 2021, more than 43% of those in the contiguous United States experienced an extreme weather pattern. It is no longer enough to work only toward mitigation; preparation for the inevitable extreme events through adaptation efforts is key. The good news is that there are an ever-growing number of solutions to help with adaptation; integrated data systems are one way to adjust to the consequences of these disasters. For example, in 2016, Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) used AVEVAä PI Systemä after Tropical Storm Matthew dropped more than 14 inches of rain on the region. AVEVA PI System helped staff to triage which pump sites should be prioritized for repair, allowing the team to fix pumps and reduce groundwater.

Moreover, there is innovation amid the disruption. We heard examples from low-carbon smart cities like Nava Raipur, PCMC and Kohima in India, where a quarter of water leakage was eliminated and emissions were cut by 12-18% by taking a data-centric approach to traffic management and water conservation. At COP27, leaders also discussed the massive Sener Noor thermos-solar complex, which uses two million mirrors focusing the sun’s heat to provide energy for more than 20% of Morocco’s population. These are just two of the powerful examples of new paradigms for creating growth while driving down emissions.

We are glimpsing the dawn of our net-zero world, and the technology exists to take us there.

Within the blue zone and the innovation zone at COP27, it was encouraging to see many new players taking an active role. As a leader in sustainable technology, we at AVEVA are committed to creating software that enables companies to harness the power of data to drive down emissions while driving efficiency, and we are not alone. Hundreds of our partners, collaborators, system integrators and even competitors share this ambition. It is powerful, because technology companies, together with governments, can shape the smarter, more efficient world we need to revolutionize how we live and work.

Our net-zero world will not be dull, limited or grey. As the UK negotiator pointed out, the UK has cut carbon emissions by 47% since 1990, and the lights are still on. At AVEVA, we are working with more than 20,000 companies in 100 countries to begin that process. As you set the carbon goals for your next decade, we are standing ready to take you there.

Learn more about AVEVA’s involvement at the COP27 Climate Change Conference.

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