November 20, 2022, Sharm el-Sheikh-As the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan has now been agreed at COP27, it is clear that the global shift from coal to clean energy remains the most urgent global priority.

The new Implementation Plan reaffirms the global consensus to phase down unabated coal power that was decided last year, and reiterated in the G20 earlier this week. It also highlights the unstoppable growth of renewable energy as the key element of this transition, with the first explicit mention of “renewable energy” within a UNFCCC agreement since 2015. This reinforces the global consensus that not only do we need to rapidly phase down coal, but phase in renewables like wind and solar.

A clear addition of this new text is also the emphasis on the need to support developing countries in their own Just Energy Transitions, through yearly ministerial meetings. Alongside the new agreement on a Loss and Damage fund, the Just Energy Transition Partnerships have been one of the clear success stories of a challenging COP27, with South Africa announcing its initial Investment Plan, and Indonesia announcing a Just Energy Transition Partnership worth $20 billion earlier this week.

There’s still work to be done, but it is clear that the global energy transition has only been strengthened in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Camilla Fenning, Program Leader, E3G

“COP27 reaffirmed the big wins from last year in Glasgow, locking in global acceptance of the need to accelerate coal phase down. That unprecedented commitment was preserved, as was the call to accelerate phase out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. Burning coal remains the biggest source of carbon emissions and thus the biggest threat to keeping 1.5 alive.

The latest analysis from the IEA this week highlighted the opportunity to increase political momentum and financial support for phasing out existing coal and ensuring no new coal plants are built. Accelerating renewable scale up and rolling out JETPs are critical steps.“

Dave Jones, Global Programmes Lead, Ember

“It’s good to see there’s no backsliding on the words coming out of COP26 last year and that the coal phasedown still stands. At the highest level, it reaffirms the resolution to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.

There is one step forward, which is that “renewable energy” is mentioned four times. Renewable energy hasn’t been mentioned in a COP cover decision since 2015. However, there is still work to do to set clear standards for clean, low-carbon electricity so that false solutions aren’t given a free pass.”

Andri Prasetiyo, Trend Asia

“The final COP27 decision highlights that phasing down coal power is still the world’s most critical challenge, and now the added focus on renewables is a critical message for Asia’s energy transition.

In Indonesia, we will have to go to extraordinary efforts to decarbonize our electricity sector, and cannot delay this effort any longer. It’s critical that the international community work with us to ensure that Justice remains the center of our new Just Energy Transition Partnership, and does not redirect focus to fossil gas, unfavorable financial schemes, or unjust development. That is why I am happy to see a new push for annual high level meetings around Just Transitions.

To align with the Paris Agreement, we cannot waste precious time on false solutions such as advanced coal technology and ammonia co-firing in coal plants which remain high emissions and will only hold us back from a rapid decarbonisation across the region.”

Dr. Evan Gach, Program Coordinator, Kiko Network

“The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan affirms that the global transition to a decarbonized society not only must keep the world to 1.5°C, but also needs to be a just transition to a sustainable, prosperous society by phasing down coal power and significantly expanding renewable energy.

However, technologies such as ammonia or biomass co-firing and CCS will only prolong the life of coal-fired power in Japan and abroad, delaying decarbonization and posing a significant threat to the world meeting the 1.5°C goal. Calling these “low emissions” would be nothing but greenwashing false solutions that are clearly unaligned with the spirit of the Paris Agreement.

It is clear that such false solutions have no place in a just energy transition in Japan or anywhere else, as without a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels, the climate crisis will only become more severe, with vulnerable countries and communities experiencing the worst of its impacts.”


Interview contacts:

Dave Jones, Global Programmes Lead Ember, [email protected]

Camilla Fenning, Program Leader, E3G, [email protected]

Andri Prasetiyo, Researcher, Trend Asia, [email protected]

Evan Gach, Programme Coordinator, Kiko Network Japan, [email protected]

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Photo: AP Photo via VOA Indonesia