Accelerating Innovation at COP27

Innovation in the field of climate action is crucial to support both behavioural and system changes necessary.

07 November 2022

cop27 accelerating innovation

By Mariusz Bogacki, Researcher and Science Communicator, Edinburgh

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, or COP27, will take place from 6-18 November in the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheik.

The conference has been held annually since the first United Nations (UN) climate agreement in 1992. It is used by governments to discuss the most pressing issues related to climate change and agree on global solutions aimed to combat it. This year, more than 90 heads of states and representatives of 190 countries are expected to attend it.

What can we expect from this high-profile meeting and how will technology & innovation will contribute to its critical goals?

What does COP27 hope to achieve?

The effects of climate change are cumulative. Failed crops result in higher insurance costs. Floods affect already fragile global supply chains. Overall, the economic costs of acute weather-related disasters impede economic growth. Therefore, reacting to these rising challenges also needs to be cumulative.

This is why this year’s conference concentrates on establishing four interlinked goals: mitigation, adaptation, finance and collaboration.

  • Mitigation concentrates on limiting global warming to well below 2°C, and ideally 1.5°C.
  • Adaptation focusses on the ways we can cope with rapidly increasing adverse weather conditions around the world.
  • Finance arena relates to the crucial importance of the proper allocation of funds to all climate related actions.
  • Collaboration emphasises the importance of collective action in the fight against climate change. As the effects of climate change are increasingly visible, it’s time for the governments to take decisive actions.

How will technology help us get there?

COP27 is first and foremost a meeting point for governments to get their act together and commit to top down policy action. However, this year’s increased focus on finance and collaboration demonstrates the importance of business and civil society groups in this process: we all have to work together to successfully achieve these ambitious – but still within our reach – goals.

Innovation in the field of climate action is crucial to support both behavioural and system changes necessary to shift the needle when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change. In past blogs,we have often reported on novel solutions to climate change, such as wobbling turbines, CO2 sucking machines, green(ish) batteries or the hype about the hydrogen? All of these technologies are the result of ingenuity and tireless research in response to the threat of climate change. Each of them the piece of a puzzle that brings us one step closer to a greener economy.

From pledges to actions

The overarching theme of COP27 is to move from pledges to concrete actions. The nexus of government, civic society and the private sector collaboration, based on financial distribution aimed at simultaneously dealing with tacking the already existing emergencies and preventing future ones, is the key. And the challenge is to make it feasible. Ultimately the impending climate crises requires urgent actions rather than optimistic pledges. Whether the attendees of this year’s conference stand up to this task remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: technology and innovation have a vital role to play in helping to deliver what's needed to tackle the climate emergency.