Countdown to COP27: The effects of the Russo-Ukraine war

Countdown to COP27: The effects of the Russo-Ukraine war

Plus: Uganda’s coffee exports are on the decline, floods inundate Nigeria, and Iraq tries to build a government.

Hi there Intriguer. Liz Truss has announced her resignation after only 44 days in office, the shortest tenure for any British Prime Minister in history. During times of high political farce, there’s only one thing for responsible citizens to do: hurl snide remarks around the internet, or in the House of Commons. Our prediction in early September that Boris Johnson would make a comeback looks a good one now, with The Times reporting that a ‘Bring Back Boris’ campaign is in full swing. 

Today’s briefing is a ~4.9 min read:

  • 🌱 Countdown to COP27: The effects of the Russo-Ukraine War.
  • ➕ Plus: Floods hit Nigeria, Iraq builds a government, and Uganda’s coffee exports need a pick-me-up.

COP27: What not to expect from this year’s conference

‘Countdown to COP27’ is our new series in which we’ll tackle a new climate-related issue every Friday until the start of the COP27 summit on 6 November. 

In brief:

  • On 6 November, world leaders will travel to Sharm El Sheikh to kick off the 27th UN Climate Change Conference as the world grapples with the ongoing Russo-Ukraine War.
  • Governments will likely be hesitant to make ambitious climate pledges this year, but there may still be reason for optimism.

The shadow of the Russo-Ukraine will hang over COP 27.

Let’s talk climate

World leaders will head to Egypt in just over two weeks to participate in the UN’s annual climate conference.

  • There were sky-high expectations for COP26 in Scotland last year (expectations that went largely unfulfilled), and this year, leaders are dealing with the problematic energy dynamics caused by the Russo-Ukraine War.

The effect of the Russo-Ukraine War on the global climate agenda can’t be overstated:

  • Energy prices are skyrocketing, ties between the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters (China and the US) are freezing over, and countries are struggling with cost-of-living crises.

So how might the war affect the outcomes of this year’s COP?

Climate change is as urgent as ever

Although celebrated author Ian McEwan once satirically wrote that the silver lining of a nuclear WW3 is that the resulting decades long-winter would reverse climate change, you can take it from just about every scientist that conflict is bad for the climate.

And yet…

1. 🔎 Governments are losing focus

Environmental concerns are taking a back seat as governments address what they perceive as more immediate challenges.

  • Case in point: of the 193 countries that vowed to present more ambitious climate targets after last year’s summit, only 19 submitted blueprints by the September 2022 deadline.

And as the global economic outlook worsens, developing economies will struggle to secure financial assistance for green transition projects.

2. 🤝 There’s a lack of global cooperation

You’ve probably heard the slogan ‘global challenges require global solutions’. It’s no surprise that as the world continues to fracture along geopolitical lines, the international climate response has suffered.

  • Ahead of the conference, Egypt’s special representative Wael Aboulmagd pleaded with world leaders not to lose sight of the bigger picture:

“Animosity will have a cost. We as responsible diplomats ask everyone to rise to the occasion and show leadership […] Put political differences aside and come together.”

3. 🪫 And there’s an energy crisis

Nations are embracing more protectionist energy policies, resulting in an increase in the use of carbon-intensive fuels.

  • According to the International Energy Agency, global coal consumption is forecast to grow by 0.7% this year, and will reach an all-time high in 2023.

As a result, actionable decarbonisation pledges might be few and far between at this year’s summit.

The silver lining

In a time of crisis, it’s perfectly understandable that countries prioritise the immediate welfare and security of their citizens over long-range, global climate change goals.

Yet, disruptive events can also catalyze positive change. For example, in seeking alternative energy supplies, European governments are increasingly looking to renewable sources.

  • Since the start of the Russo-Ukraine War, European solar panel imports have soared.

With all that said, there’s no doubt COP27 is likely to be a difficult one. Energy transition expert James Henderson summed it up best:

“COP 27 […] is the conference that has the difficult job of bringing the world’s attention back to the critical issue of CO2 emissions and limiting global warming amid a myriad of political and economic distractions”.

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Africa & the Middle East

🇹🇩 Chad

Pro-democracy protestors in Chad’s capital N’Djamena set the Prime Minister’s party headquarters on fire during clashes with police.

  • Mahamat Idriss Déby has led the country through a transitional military council since his father, Idriss Déby, died in April after more than three decades in power.
  • Déby the Younger reneged on his promise to reinstall civilian governance on Thursday, which led to the protests.

🇮🇶 Iraq

Iraq’s newly-appointed President, Abdul Latif Rashid, tapped Mohammed al-Sudani to form a new government last week.

  • Should Sudani successfully assemble a coalition within the 30-day limit, he will be the country’s first Prime Minister since elections in October of last year.
  • In what might be bad news for the US and its allies, Sudani is a Shia Muslim and is unlikely to moderate Baghdad’s increasingly-cozy relationship with Iran.

🇲🇦 Morocco

Morocco and Europe signed a first-of-its-kind renewable energy deal to transport some sunshine from the glimmering Barbary to the overcast EU.

  • The EU gets a surprising share of its energy from the sun – 5.2% in 2020 – but will need plenty more to wean itself off hydrocarbons.
  • Morocco has capacity to spare: its Noor-Ouarzazate solar complex, the world’s largest, is the size of 3,500 football fields.

🇳🇬 Nigeria

Countrywide floods in Nigeria have killed over 600 people and displaced millions more.

  • The floods, which scientists link to climate change, have destroyed thousands of kilometers of Nigeria’s most fertile farmlands and forced its highly-productive gas operators offline.
  • If you’ve been following our Russo-Ukraine War coverage, you’ll know these sectors cannot afford more disruption.

🇺🇬 Uganda

The World Health Organization is closely monitoring a deadly Ebola outbreak in Uganda.

  • Among recent cases, eight are not linked to other known cases, raising concerns over the outbreak’s scale.
  • Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has imposed a three-week lockdown in two of the worst impacted districts to slow the disease’s spread.

☕ Uganda’s coffee exports need a pick-me-up

Source: Giphy

Attention coffee lovers: Did you know Uganda is one of the world’s top coffee-producing countries? Let’s hope it stays that way, because coffee bean exports have declined due to a severe drought across East Africa.

  • Export figures have fallen 14% in September compared to 2021, after dropping a whopping 28.5% in August compared to 2021.

Why it matters: Coffee represents around 11% of Uganda’s export revenues, and the sector is the country’s second-largest source of foreign reserves.

Only a blip? Coffee analysts don’t seem especially worried about the country’s long-term outlook. In fact, risk analysis firm Fitch Solutions forecasts that Uganda’s coffee production will increase significantly in coming years:

“Between 2021/22 and 2025/26, we expect that East African coffee production will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 3.0%, with growth concentrated in Uganda.”

It’s worth keeping in mind that climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather, which could undermine such optimistic forecasts.

  • According to new research, global Arabica coffee production will crash if average global temperatures increase by more than 2°C.

In other coffee-related news, hipster coffee shops are here to stay.

  • Experts expect the global specialty coffee market to grow by over 12% a year up until the end of the decade.

Do you know the most popular emojis in the world?

Emojis began to take off when Apple introduced the emoji keyboard in 2011. The only things we can remember before then are Razr flip phones and the snake game. There are now ~4,000 emojis available on your smartphone. Can you guess…

  •  … what the top two emojis in the world are?*
  • … the new entrant to emoji royalty in the US?

Hint: the last one became wildly popular for sharing daily scores 👀.

*Due to the breadth of platforms that use emojis (text, email, many social media platforms), this ranking is complicated to report on accurately! 

Answer: 1) 😂 2) ❤️ 3) 🟩 (Courtesy of Wordle!) Source

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