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This year has shown how climate change is becoming an increasingly urgent problem around the world. From energy insecurity across Europe to severe droughts in numerous regions, including unexpected ones like the United Kingdom, to destructive storm surges and devastating floods in North America, Pakistan, and along Australia’s east coast as just a few examples, never before have the impacts been more evident and the need for action more significant.

COP27 starts November 6th

The next conference held by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has started in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. This gathering will be the 27th edition of the “Conference of the Parties,” also known as COP, in which the UN brings together nearly every country in the world (198 in total) to discuss and collaborate on solving climate issues.

COP27’s goals and vision seek to “accelerate global climate action through emissions reduction, scaled-up adaptation efforts and enhanced flows of appropriate finance.”

Aerial image of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with the COP27 and United Nations' Climate Change logos in the top left and right corners.
COP27 is happening in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from November 6th to 18th.

This convention played a crucial role in both the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, and the historic Paris Agreement, signed in 2015. The ultimate goal of the body is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.” In accordance with the Paris Agreement, the aim is to keep the “global average temperature rise this century as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”

Water’s COP connection

COP27’s goals and vision seek to “accelerate global climate action through emissions reduction, scaled-up adaptation efforts and enhanced flows of appropriate finance.”

Water has an absolutely pivotal place in the conversations happening at COP27 as both a basic human right, as well as a linchpin in just about every economic activity. Its availability is greatly affected by climate change through changing rainfall patterns, sea-level rise, and growing desertification. In addition, the energy-intensive process required to generate water that is safe to use for all of humanity’s various needs has a significant role in global decarbonization efforts as well.

The water sector finds itself at the heart of both of these issues. As a primary component of cooling and irrigation processes, many people already understand the central role that water plays in adaptation efforts, though not as many people understand the role it plays in contributing to emissions. High intensity treatment (and, therefore, high energy consumption) is often required to produce water quality that’s appropriate for use for these purposes, which means emissions reduction across the water sector is an important piece of the problem too.

"If we cannot agree on how to better manage water resources, then a reduction in disaster risks will not be possible. Conversely, if we cannot reduce disaster and climate risks, we cannot sustain our valuable water resources." -Mami Mizutori, Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

The meeting in Egypt will cover mitigation, adaptation, finance, and collaboration as primary topics, engaging attendees on topics during themed days, including Decarbonization Day (November 11th), Adaptation and Agriculture Day (November 12th), Gender Day/Water Day (November 14th), and others. The conference is set to end on November 18th, with November 17th dedicated to solutions.

From negotiation to implementation

The 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UNFCCC coincides with COP27 and the vision for the conference is to achieve as much progress as possible, basing the work on the most reliable, credible science available in the form of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth assessment report.

The topic of climate justice will also be prominent, with another objective being to ensure that no country or group is left behind, with the aim of “finding a balanced solution to the funding issue.” Additionally, a reaffirmed commitment to the rules and principles that govern collective action, as well as emphasizing the need to move from the negotiation phase to the implementation phase, are part of the Egyptian presidency’s vision for the event.

Targets reiterate this vision by setting out five primary goals:

  • a shift from pledging action to implementation at scale and on time,

  • delivering on an adaptation agenda that’s based on science and is especially responsive to the needs of communities in climate vulnerable situations,

  • acting to clarify support for loss and damage in areas that are most vulnerable,

  • making climate finance flows a reality that takes climate benefits into consideration, and not only risks,

  • and ensuring a managed and just transition to a low emission, climate resilient economic development model.

Climate action protester holds sign saying "There is no planet B"
Climate action protester holding a sign that says "There is no planet B."

While the vision and targets align with the larger objectives of the UNFCCC, COP27 will be another critical moment in history in which humanity needs to come together to deliver effective action. As climate change becomes the catalyst for more protests around the world, it's clear that backtracking on pledges that have already been made by countries must not happen, and action on those pledges must be implemented as soon as possible.

Pani keen to see decarbonization outcomes

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals were core drivers behind founding Pani, and our team is closely watching the outcomes of COP27. Our primary business focus is and has always been to empower water treatment process optimization with data-driven decision support tools for operational teams, and the problem we want to solve is twofold: increasing access to safe, clean water around the world, and securing a sustainable supply by decarbonizing the processes required.

Man holds sign saying "Action not words" at a climate action protest
Climate protester calling for action, not words.

While we hope to see COP27 resulting in decisions, actions, and initiatives taken to improve water access and security, we also recognize industries and individuals will need to be proactive in their transition to decarbonization, regardless of the outcomes of this conference. Currently, one in three people globally don’t have access to safe drinking water and adequate food, with pressure on both systems increasing as the climate crisis intensifies. Sustainable management will need to be achieved as soon as possible across the water sector and throughout the economy in developed and developing nations to prevent the situation from worsening.

As we wait to see what outcomes are reached during this edition of COP, we echo the need to urgently reduce human interference with the climate system. We've made a commitment to this mission, joining the call to action to decarbonize industries by helping water treatment facilities achieve net zero emissions. To accelerate the transition, we have developed a four-step plan that facilitates measurement, optimization, retrofitting, and offsetting for water treatment processes.

To find out more about our four-step plan and learn how to implement it at different types of facilities, visit our Decarbonize page and download Pani’s Roadmap to Decarbonization paper. 💧






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