Nature @ COP 27 Daily Brief – Nov. 12

Briefing Room 12.11.22

Posted by Patricia da Matta
COP 27 is finally here and in addition to an exciting events schedule and news coming out of the Nature Zone and Nature’s Newsroom, we are keeping our eyes and ears out for anything nature related inside the Blue Zone. Our Daily Nature Brief at COP27 will be coming out every morning from 7-18 November with an inside scoop into the most important climate conference of the year. Don’t forget to subscribe to receive the brief directly in your email.

Welcome to the end of Week 1. Nearly… Saturday is an important day in the world of COPs, as it’s the chance to better understand the work that has taken place in the negotiating rooms and where things stand as we head into Week 2 and ministers begin to arrive. Today, the Egyptian Presidency will also begin consultations on the COP “cover text,” seen by many as the main political outcome of these summits, which summarise countries’ commitments. Despite some early signs of progress, such as developed countries’ willingness to engage on loss & damage, there is less to report than many had hoped on some of the summit’s key themes, including implementation, finance, and adaptation.

On the nature front, as eyes turn to the final outcome next week, calls are intensifying for leaders to demand a global deal for nature at the Convention on Biological Diversity later this year in Montreal. The COP cover text would be the formal place to make this link, while eyes are also turning toward “Nature Day” next week to see what, if any, signals emerge then.

Today, though, is “Adaptation, Agriculture & Food Systems Day”. Given how food systems are often overlooked at these COPs, despite being responsible for over a third of emissions, this is a welcome chance to elevate this issue. It will be particularly interesting to see what comes out of the AIM4C Ministerial today.

On the adaptation front, it’s well worth watching this video from David Shukman. Remember this key stat: UNEP estimates that $340 billion is what’s required for adaptation investments through to 2030 and beyond.

Biden at COP

Mixed reactions to President Biden’s brief stop at COP yesterday. He talked up his $370 billion domestic climate plan, and made a range of commitments that included doubling the pledge to the Adaptation Fund to $100 million, a new initiative with Egypt to expand wind/solar and decommission gas, domestic methane regulation, finance for energy transitions, among others. While these steps have been welcomed, many see them as too little compared to the unfulfilled $11 billion climate finance pledge, which many fear will struggle to find its way through a Republican congress.

On nature, he gave a shout out to the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership, which the US is co-chairing with Ghana, saying, “Whether it’s the Congo Basin forests and peatlands here in Africa or the Amazon Basin in South America, or forests, wetlands, and grasslands in the United States, preserving nature is one of the most impactful climate solutions we have.”

He also announced $100 million of additional support to help countries and communities in Africa adapt their food systems to climate impacts, as well as the intention to create an International Climate Hub for Climate-Smart Agriculture to further support global science-based, climate-informed decision-making.

NCS Alliance Lighthouses

The Natural Climate Solutions Alliance (NCSA) is unveiling eight new Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) Lighthouses to demonstrate how nature, climate and social benefits are so closely intertwined. The Lighthouses are NCS projects that have generated verified carbon credits as well as positive environmental and socio-economic benefits for local communities and Indigenous People, thus addressing two other major crises – the loss of biodiversity and social injustice.

Day 5 Round Up 

  • Blue Ambition Loop. The Ocean & Climate Platform, alongside the World Resources Institute (WRI), the High-level Climate Champions (HLC), the Global Ocean Trust and the UN Global Compact, undertook a mapping exercise to track, aggregate and visualise progress made by non-state actors towards ocean-based climate actions. Released yesterday, the ‘Blue Ambition Loop: Achieving Ambitious 2030 Ocean-Climate Action’ report is a short visual summary of findings. It addresses five key sectors: marine conservation, ocean-based transport, marine renewable energy, aquatic food production and coastal tourism.
  • Blue CarbonThree new reports based on work supported by the Bezos Earth Fund were released yesterday by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), highlighting the potential of different blue carbon interventions to help in the fight against climate change and act as natural climate solutions (NCS), some of which may be marketable with further research and economic and policy action. The three blue carbon reports highlight the state of the science on nearshore blue carbon pathways, which have historically received the most attention, as well as emerging NCS that have been proposed for the open ocean and those involving seaweed aquaculture.
  • Blue Carbon Principles. On a related note, The World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action, Salesforce and others have produced the High-Quality Blue Carbon Principles & Guidance to ensure that blue carbon stakeholders are engaging the market effectively and with integrity.
  • in India. announced the first four Indian companies pledging to conserve, restore and grow trees and forests: Vedanta, ReNew Power, CSC Group and Mahindra. Following the launch of the India Platform last March, companies are committing to action on forests within this decade to support livelihoods and ecosystem restoration. This was part of 12 additional corporate pledges made at COP27, which take the commitments to a total of 6.9 billion trees from a total of 80 companies. At least 5 of those companies have included mangroves in their pledges.
  • Water security in Bangladesh. The Netherlands has provided funding for an SNV project that will enhance water security in Bangladesh. Working with the government of Bangladesh, SNV will contribute to improving sanitation, solid waste, and drainage water management to protect the health and well-being of city populations. The project will be conducted over the course of five years in twelve locations, with a budget of € 6.4 million.

Article 6 Explainer

With many questions coming in around the state of Article 6 discussions, we thought it would be useful to share this helpful primer from Browning Environmental Communications.

5 things to expect at COP27 on carbon markets
While there are still contentious points to negotiate in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, carbon markets will not take as much of a front-row seat as they did at COP26. The Article 6 Rulebook was a landmark decision last year, which has subsequently led to the formation of the Article 6.4 Supervisory Body this year, which will continue to move forward on the Article 6.4 agreed guidance. 
In spite of this, negotiations are still due on issues that remained unresolved last year, including on Article 6.2 (bilateral emissions reductions trading) and Article 6.4 (carbon trading under a UN-managed mechanism). These will likely be addressed in the upcoming COP27 negotiations, as well as how Article 6 developments apply to the voluntary carbon market.

  1. Emissions avoidance
One topic left undecided at COP26 was the language surrounding emissions avoidance. Article 6 explicitly references emissions mitigation in terms of reductions and removals but what constitutes avoidance, and whether this can be included in mitigation efforts, is to date unspecified. 
Indeed, at the pre-COP negotiations in June, many countries concluded mitigation activities are wholly captured under removals and reductions, with little added benefit of avoidance. These discussions will likely continue in the coming weeks.
Pedro Martins Barata, Senior Director, EU Climate Policy, Environmental Defense Fund: “One of the issues that was left a little bit undecided in Glasgow was some language about emissions avoidance and what it actually means. As the Article 6 framework gets further implemented and detailed, there will be fewer and fewer of these ‘larger than life’ issues that we still have from Glasgow.”
  1. What is a removal?
A further term left to be defined is that of emissions removals. Under the widely understood definition of emissions mitigation (see takeaway 2), removals constitute half of what is eligible for emissions trading under Article 6. 
Nevertheless, the role of nature-based removals and technology such as Carbon Capture and Storage still requires further clarity – including rules on use, monitoring, reporting, and emissions reversals – which will be one of the jobs of the Article 6.4 Supervisory Body. The faster clarity is provided, the quicker countries can implement their related strategies.
Lina Barrera, Vice President for International Policy, Conservation International: “The Article 6 Supervisory Body will be working on recommendations for activities involving removals and how they will be treated under Article 6.4. Since removals are half of what’s eligible – the other half being reductions – the faster we can get clarity on those rules, the sooner countries and project developers can start implementing, and we definitely want to see that moving as quickly as possible.” 
  1. Share of Proceeds in the voluntary carbon market
One decision that came from COP26 was that of Share of Proceeds under Article 6.4. This requires that an equivalent of 5% of the “share of proceeds” from carbon markets linked to the UN-managed mechanism (as per Article 6.4) must be transferred to the Global Adaptation Fund. Subsequently, these funds will be used to finance developing countries’ climate adaptation efforts.
Whether, or how far, Share of Proceeds should be applied to the voluntary carbon market, which by its nature is not bound to one mechanism, or one state, is contentious, and is expected to be debated at COP27 – being only the fifth UNFCCC COP to be held in Africa, COP27 is a particularly timely event to develop this issue. 
  1. Corresponding Adjustments
Corresponding Adjustments (CAs) will prevent a country from double-counting its emissions reductions: if Country A trades carbon to Country B, Country A must remove these emissions reductions from its own records so that Country B can use them on its. This much was agreed-upon last year in Glasgow.
Despite these developments, the issue has continued to prove highly contentious among negotiators and interested parties. This includes, as well, whether this international accounting mechanism might apply to the voluntary carbon market: countries must decide whether private companies can take CAs, meaning the country cannot count the emissions reduction, or not. And, if so, what price premium might be associated with such trades. 
What’s more, it is still unclear how the accounting of CA should be aligned with single-year targets, which constitute many Nationally Determined Contributions goals (e.g., targets of 2025, 2030, 2050).
Derik Broekhoff, Senior Scientist, Stockholm Environment Institute: “The real work on Article 6, parallel to the negotiations, is the work that needs to be done at the country level – both among buyer countries, which are figuring out to what extent they want to engage in international market mechanisms in achievement of their NDCs, and for seller countries – to develop the capacity to engage in these trades.”
  1. What should be done about the Clean Development Mechanism? 
The development of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement has in turn created many discussions on what happens to the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Over 250 methodologies have been developed under the CDM, and leaders must still decide on whether these can be upgraded or adapted for use under Article 6.4.
A second consideration, which was a last-minute compromise last year, is the allowance of CDM ‘Certified Emission Reductions’ (credits) generated from January 1, 2013, to be applied towards Nationally Determined Contributions. Discussions are expected to continue on this point.


Quick update:  As of last night, key asks have been included in a draft text such as: a focus on implementation of action, a comprehensive and widened scope to encompass food systems, collaboration across UNFCCC, and leveraging means of implementation. However, this is just a draft and the text has not been discussed yet and seems to be causing some division among parties.