Road to COP27: Accelerating climate action to save our one planet

KenGen Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Miano. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

During this year World Environment Day, millions of people around the world came together to commemorate the environment day under the campaign slogan "Only One Earth" led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This was a global call for collective outreach, advocacy, and transformative action to protect and restore our planet.

However, unlike in recent years when this occasion was marked by reports of decreasing number of threats to climate change, the 2022 event was different. Nations like Germany fired up coal plants to avert gas shortage as Russia cut supplies while globally, there was an increase in the use of fossil fuels, reportedly reacting to the Russian-Ukraine war. 

According to the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), Renewables 2022 Global Status Report, the gains made in 2021 in tackling fossil fuel use were overshadowed by an estimated four per cent rise in energy consumption as the world bounced back from Covid-19 restrictions. This increase, according to the report, was primarily met by fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. 

These developments continue to pose a threat to environmental goals, calling for swift, decisive, and actionable approaches by nations towards saving the one planet. To this end, nations can consider several factors for a win. Firstly, climate action advocacy on this matter is an element that needs to be accelerated not just by business entities but also by nations. Across the world, the impact will be greater if businesses and nations realized the need for environmental sustainability agenda and lobby for its implementation. 

In the same way, businesses have a role to step forward and urge nations to exercise the actionable environmental initiatives that are alive to the need of phasing out the use of fossil fuels.

For instance, at the “We Mean Business Coalition Team”, over 1,000 businesses came together to lobby the Group of Seven (G7) members of the world’s advanced economies on the need to make climate-friendly decisions that will save the planet. This is now more important than ever.

The challenge we face from climate change are global and yet also threaten each nation’s security in their unique ways. That is why action within each individual country’s geographical borders is essential alongside international cooperation and collaboration between public and private sectors. Further, there is a need for increased support including funding from within and beyond the G7. To create even more impact and achieve the shared climate goals, G7 will have to take the lead and fully decarbonise their nation’s power system by 2035.

Secondly, nations can also lead the adoption of global clean energy by eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and redirecting capital to developing clean energy sources. Data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicates that fossil fuel subsidies stood at $5.9 trillion in 2020 or about 6.8 per cent of the global GDP and are expected to rise to 7.4 per cent of GDP by 2025.

Thirdly, there is an urgent need for nations to consider e-mobility as a way of accelerating climate action. Transitioning to zero-carbon mobility using electric transport means will offload a huge amount of carbon emissions that are posing a threat to the environment. 

According to the International Energy Agency, the global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rebound by nearly five per cent in 2021, approaching the 2018-2019 peak.