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Russia, Economic Concerns Color Climate Conference

The 2022 COP27 climate summit, now taking place in Egypt, will be a less ambitious event than last year’s—and it may also result in less international agreement on how best to combat climate change, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

A heavy backdrop: While event leader Egypt wants to focus on implementing earlier promises, “[w]eighing on every part of the conference is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which upended global energy markets and increased the use of fossil fuels, including coal. It also made the case for energy security, which for many countries means renewables.”

  • Russia’s gas stoppage to Europe “reversed the long-term decline in coal use.” Meanwhile, in China, India and other large Asian markets, coal makes up at least one-third of the fuel used for electricity.

Who will pay for it? Another topic that promises to be hotly debated at this year’s conference is money.

  • Wealthy nations “haven’t agreed to new funding for damages beyond what they already provide, in part because it is difficult to blame specific incidents on climate change.”

​​​​​​​But there’s a bright spot: The U.S. has made significant climate-related strides this year.

  • “[L]awmakers passed a major legislative package aimed at developing green energy that would set the country on a trajectory to get closer to meeting its Paris pledges. The Inflation Reduction Act aims to direct nearly $400 billion toward energy projects and efforts to reduce carbon emissions.”

The private sector keeps pace: “Green and sustainability-linked bonds and loans exceeded $1 trillion in 2021 and are on track to reach that level this year, according to [financial markets platform] Dealogic.”

  • “Environmental, sustainable and governance funds held a record $350 billion in assets last year, according to [financial services firm] Morningstar, and climate startups raised nearly $35 billion last year, [equity-market data provider] PitchBook said.”
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