Earth hanging in the balance

The five industries impacted by COP27 breakthrough    

23 November 2022    |    By: Nathan Bentley

Earlier this month, government members and representatives from across the world came together in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, to take part in the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Also known as the Conference of the Parties (COP), this year’s summit focused heavily on the responsibilities of high-income countries and the impact their economic and industrial development has had on the rest of the world.

COP events take place each year, intending to create an action plan or a consensus through which the represented nations can pledge to act against climate change. Year on year, targets are set and are subsequently reviewed annually as part of the next conference. The COP should meet every year; however, the represented parties can decide not to – regardless of this COP meetings have taken place each year since the first UN Climate Change Conference in Kyoto, in 1997 – most well-known of course for the inception of the Kyoto Protocol.

The agreements published at the end of a COP conference are generally considered as major breakthroughs, this is because they are often the result of weeks of discussions, presentations and negotiations, during which the COP nations must decide what unified action to take, always to reduce the impacts of climate change at the heart of those agreements. 

One of this year’s ‘major breakthroughs’ introduces a plan to speed up the decarbonisation of five major industries. The plan sets out a 12-month proposal in order to help make environmentally friendly technologies available to companies in five sectors. In order to do this, the plan highlights a need for such technologies to be made cheaper and more accessible.

The sectors considered in the plan are as follows:

  • Energy sector
  • Road Transport sector
  • Steel manufacturing
  • Hydrogen manufacturing
  • Agriculture sector

The plan features 25 collaborative actions which hope to speed up decarbonisation efforts across these industries. As always with COP conferences, the plan aims to deliver these actions ahead of the next event, COP28 which is set to take place in 2023.

One example of such a proposal focuses on the agriculture industry, which has been led by representatives from the UK and Egypt and has been endorsed by 13 other members. In response to global rising food prices, the agriculture breakthrough aims to “make climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture the most widely adopted option by 2030” and will do this by ensuring the use of accessible, clean technologies. High-income countries have also pledged funding to ensure that developing nations are also able to respond to this.

The actions in this decarbonisation plan mean that in the UK specifically, more focus might be put on the decarbonisation of the industries noted above. These industries have been selected as research suggests that they account for more than 50% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore, businesses that operate within these sectors will need to ramp up their own decarbonisation efforts in order to meet the demands of the government, and of ‘the breakthrough agenda’.

It’s not clear exactly what the proposal could mean for businesses in the UK just yet as each COP nation will need to approach this plan slightly differently. Overall though it is expected that through the next 12 months, even more emphasis will be put into ensuring the decarbonisation of these industries becomes a realistic prospect in the UK and that an achievable timeline can be set to ensure these industries are able to meet the expectations of the rest of the COP nations.

One-way businesses might be encouraged to contribute to decarbonisation plans is to move from using fossil fuel powered vehicles for business purposes and switch to using electric vehicles instead. One of the priority actions within the COP27 proposal states that members “should set a common target date to phase out polluting cars and vehicles, consistent with the Paris Agreement.

The proposal has significant backing from members to set this target for 2035 in leading market countries, and 2040 for the rest of the world. At present, the UK aims to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, and all new vehicles to be ‘zero emission at the tailpipe’ by 2035, in line with the COP proposal, therefore this might have a significant impact on businesses of all sizes in the UK over the next decade.

The UK Gov website features resources and information on how businesses can utilise funding and low-carbon technologies in order to look towards decarbonisation and to help the UK meet its goal to become carbon net zero by 2050. It includes publications on wider research, guidance and regulation as well as news on available grants and other important communications.

See more from the government Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener.

Nathan Bentley
Article by
Nathan is a content writer at Premierline with over 5 years’ experience, specialising in news and current affairs which impact small businesses across various industries. Nathan is passionate about discussing topics that affect the workplace, covering everything from human resources, to emerging and disruptive technologies. In the past, Nathan has written for a number of different businesses, working within a wide range of industries from financial technology to hospitality and even men’s fashion.
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