Plenary Session: | 5 OCTOBER
Climate Action: Trends and Challenges post-COP27
DATE AND TIME
5 October 9:00 –10:30 hrs (ICT)
Conference Room 3, UN Conference Centre Bangkok, Thailand
Asia is increasingly at the center of the global climate change debate given the size of its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and the severity of risks that climate impacts will have on the region. Indeed, decisions made by Asian business leaders and policy makers today, will likely impact on the lives of millions, if not billions, of people for generations to come.
In this context, much attention has also been directed at net-zero commitments made by hundreds of companies in the run-up to the COP26. But few firms in Asia can confidently explain how they will be negating their greenhouse gas output by 2050. As regulations and director’s duties ratchet up over corporate commitments in Europe and elsewhere, stockholder activism and litigation risks around so-called “green-washing” practices are rising. Conversations are increasingly being framed, too, by ideas such as “climate justice,” “just transitions” and “loss and damage.”
At the most recent climate conference, COP27, developing countries argued that industrialized nations—countries which have contributed more to GHG emissions over a historic period—should reimburse those now suffering from “loss and damage” resulting from climate change. A “loss and damage” fund was created over much acrimonious debate; a singular breakthrough from the COP27 deliberations. In the background were quiet questions about the involvement and responsibilities of the private sector. Climate litigation against major contributors of GHGs was also on the minds of many, especially major producers of fossil fuel products.
As deliberations continue, businesses in Asia are increasingly recognizing that they have a vital role to play in addressing climate change by adopting sustainable practices, reducing emissions, and promoting renewable energy. Many industry leads are urging governments to take more innovative approaches, including the development of carbon markets. However, the pursuit of climate action must also ensure that business activities align with international human rights standards and do not cause harm or further exacerbate inequality. As business assist in transitioning to a low carbon economy, the most vulnerable must not pay the price. A just transition will be required.
In this session, we will unpack the major controversies countries face in tackling climate change, particularly around the net-zero challenge, loss and damage, climate justice and just transitions. The role of business in climate mitigation efforts will also be central to discussions, including the uptake of decarbonization strategies, the leveraging of emerging carbon markets, and innovative, industry practices making a difference.
Outline the most promising policy prescriptions for addressing climate change in a field of difficult choices; understand how net-zero being pursued in Asia
Unpack the latest views on the controversies stemming from COP27 and beyond, including loss and damage, just transitions and climate justice, to better understand the issues that are being debated, and what we might expect at COP28
Clarify climate justice trends in the region, including climate litigation and other initiatives raising liability risks on some industries.
A moderated panel discussion - the session will invite experts from business, civil society and government to reflect on the outcomes of COP27 and general trajectory of efforts to address climate change. This will be followed by a questions and answers period with the audience.
What are some impactful or innovative approaches that industries can adopt in pursuing net-zero? What are the perhaps, the less impactful, but low-hanging-fruit options to consider? What business incentives and disincentives are working to address the climate risks business operations may pose?
How is the debate over “loss and damage” relevant to the private sector? Have there been any large-scale shifts in the insurance industry in how it anticipates, identifies, and manages climate risks? For the Asian context, are we seeing any changes in how financial institutions and insurance companies invest in climate-positive business models?
What are the emerging practices of businesses in relation to climate justice and environmental rights? How is business reacting to litigation risks rising globally around climate justice? Are we seeing a shift in corporate behaviors in relation to their climate change impacts?