New Zealand businessmen are among tens of thousands of people who have converged on Egypt for the annual UN climate conference.
They are looking for information, contacts and transactions.
With the Paris regulations finally set in place last year, eyes are on the private sector to take care of reducing emissions.
Toitū Envirocare Technical General Manager Belinda Mathers found her first time at COP overwhelming.
“It’s a huge place, there’s a lot going on.
“I tried to…make sure I don’t get lost, and I don’t spend so much time wandering around trying to figure out what the interesting things are that I miss doing the interesting things.”
Toitū Envirocare provides tools to measure and reduce corporate carbon emissions. Mathers is here to network and keep up to date with international best practices.
Although there is a lot of action in the trading rooms, people see the side events as the main attraction.
“And in fact, in some cases the business community is driving things because the business community can be more nimble in the way it works than the big political machines,” Mathers said.
An important lesson it would teach Aotearoa customers was the need to reduce emissions throughout the value and supply chain: raw materials and upstream and downstream suppliers.
She said another was not letting perfection be the enemy of good.
“We’re not going to make it perfect in the time we have, we have to do our best and be willing to experiment and be willing to maybe make mistakes, but learn quickly from that and then get it very quickly. after that.”
Chief executive of emissions offset firm CarbonClick, Dave Rouse, said a COP attraction was an opportunity to observe discussions on some major issues first-hand.
“I was able to witness some pretty cranky conversations.
“And that’s where you really find out… what the agendas, or the hidden agendas, are behind the nations.
“And you can start putting two and two together and see who’s been colluding, or in cahoots, trying to block something.”
Rouse said it was crucial to know where climate policy was headed, so she could get the best financial return and impact from her efforts.
“For example, if the Middle East comes up with a policy and says, ‘Hey, we’re going to have to do X, Y and Z’, then we would know that when the prince in Saudi Arabia says something needs to be done, then it happens. produced really quickly.
“That means we have the opportunity to step in and say, ‘well, we can connect you to all these offset projects in developing countries,’ we can make it easier for companies to get involved, and we can accelerate this. process.”
Karl Upston-Hooper, climate impact fund manager, general counsel for Camco Clean Energy, is a regular at the COP, having attended every year since 2006.
“Why are we going there? Because the entire climate finance space rests on the foundations of the UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] process, although it is often perhaps an inscrutable language and process for non-aficionados.”
At this COP, he is looking for progress on how climate finance will be deployed, with the money available from the private sector far eclipsing the $100 billion pledged by rich countries, which is always arguing.
“Projects are risky, especially in developing countries. So … public finances are better placed to support some of the riskier part of the capital stack.
“And then private funding can fill most of the money needed.”
COP27 lasts the rest of the week and could last until the weekend if the talks break down.