A Daily Look of NCEL at COP27
November 10-16, 2022
We’re excited to announce NCEL’s participation in COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. For the second year, NCEL is sending a delegation of staff and state legislators to bring attention to the work and leadership of U.S. states on climate action. These legislators will be taking part in a range of events to share the climate solutions they are advancing in their states.
We encourage you to follow along with our events and experiences at COP27 via social media, our COP27 events page, and through this daily blog written by Clara Summers on the ground in Egypt. You can also keep up with NCEL at COP27 by subscribing to our COP27 newsletter below for the latest updates and takeaways for U.S. states.
View NCEL’s full COP27 recap with the main takeaways from the conference’s negotiations and how states can play a crucial role in implementation.
Wednesday, November 16
On our final day at COP27, NCEL took advantage of a short but eventful day. In the morning, NCEL Climate and Energy Manager Clara Summers accompanied Pennsylvania State Representative Chris Rabb and Washington State Senator Jesse Salomon to the main venue where they listened in on negotiations focusing on the Green Climate Fund among other topics. Rep. Rabb and Clara took time to answer questions and give some more context on COP27 for Rep. Rabb’s constituents via Facebook Live. Later in the day, Rep. Rabb and Senator Salomon made the most of their final day and continued to explore the COP27 Pavilion as Clara departed from the conference.
Looking Ahead: COP27 Outcomes and Impacts
While NCEL’s time at COP is over, the negotiations and ongoing agreements among parties continue. Stay tuned in the coming weeks when NCEL will publish a full COP27 recap with highlights from our events, reflections from NCEL’s delegation, and the main takeaways from the conference’s negotiations.
Tuesday, November 15
Subnational/Federal Collaboration and Carbon Markets
During our final full day at COP27, NCEL joined the ICLEI mayoral delegation to meet with Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory. NCEL delegation members spoke with Chair Mallory about the Biden Administration’s efforts to improve considerations of climate in infrastructure and permitting, general infrastructure needs throughout the U.S., and strategies for increased communication between subnational governments and the federal government in the U.S.
In addition to meeting with CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory and ICLEI, NCEL spent some time watching the negotiations on Article Six of the Paris Agreement, which concerns “internationally traded mitigation outcomes,” (i.e. an offsets and carbon market between different nations).
Later in the day, Washington State Senator Liz Lovelett had a meeting with the company Allcott, which develops climate mitigation and adaptation projects primarily in developing countries, and a representative from the Carbon Markets Fairness Foundation. They had a lot of interest and questions for Senator Lovelett about Washington State’s new cap-and-invest law, the Washington Climate Commitment Act, and the ways that the law manages carbon offsets.
The NCEL members taking part in today’s COP27 events included Senator Liz Lovelett of Washington State, Senator Jesse Salomon of Washington State, Representative Carey Hamilton of Indiana, and Representative Frank Hornstein of Minnesota.
Monday, November 14
NCEL’s Headline Event
On Monday morning, NCEL held its headline event in the America is All In Pavilion called In the Laboratories of Democracy: How States will Advance Climate Action Through Federal Funds. The event was a conversation between Representative Carey Hamilton of Indiana, Representative Chris Rabb of Pennsylvania, and Senator Liz Lovelett of Washington State who talked about what their states have already been doing on climate and how they hope to respond to the new investments coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. Particular topics of discussion included green banks, building weatherization, and targeting the funds toward disproportionately impacted communities. During the event, the legislators all acknowledged that they had very different political contexts in their home states, but were all working in their own ways for climate action.
Tomorrow (Tuesday, November 15) will be the NCEL delegation’s last full day at COP27.
Sunday, November 13
Sunday at COP was a rest day and also marked the transfer over of NCEL’s delegation. Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo and Assemblymember Watts departed after very successful speaking engagements and enriching learning experiences at COP27. Their departure was followed by the arrival of Pennsylvania State Representative Chris Rabb and Washington State Senator Liz Lovelett.
Saturday, November 12
A Focus on Subnational Climate Action
On Saturday, the focus of NCEL’s delegation was meeting with other subnational climate leaders.
We started the day early with a town hall with Ali Zaidi who is the Biden Administration’s National Climate Advisor. Ali Zaidi was meeting with members of the America is All In Coalition which was created as a response to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement to continue striving towards the Paris Agreement goals. During the Biden Administration, the coalition has continued and has become a central area for subnationals and civil society groups to gather together for shared climate action.
After the town hall meeting, we had a dialogue with subnational leaders from Argentina. NCEL’s delegation met with ministers and other officials from the Argentinian provinces of Misiones, Jujuy, and Tucumán to hear about the environmental challenges that they’re facing as well as how they are working to diversify their economies and advance climate action. Many Argentinian states are very focused on maintaining their biodiversity, particularly forest lands as a carbon sink
Later in the day, we met with mayors and county officials from the ICLEI delegation. It was a great opportunity to help understand how states and localities can work together to take advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funds in particular, but also the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funds to meet climate and environmental goals.
Friday, November 11
Public and Private Sector Partnerships for Climate Action
On Friday, Assemblymember Howard Watts of Nevada spoke on a panel called the Business of Changing the Trajectory to 2030 and Beyond. Assemblymember Watts was the one state legislator on a panel of largely renewables, energy efficiency, and appliance companies talking about the importance of the public and private sectors working together to advance climate action.
Assemblymember Watts raised several examples such as how he has worked on energy efficiency standards in Nevada. These standards help attract more efficient appliance businesses and provide certainty for companies that are making investments in building weatherization or in low-carbon appliances because they can be assured there will be a market for it. Assemblymember Watts also discussed how public-private sector partnerships for climate priorities can be a force for providing targeted benefits for underserved communities if done intentionally.
“State and local governments are often on the leading edge of moving these policies forward to help provide certainty of interest and also to help shape demand that helps get some of these new technologies to the market.” – Nevada State Assemblymember Howard Watts
The other highlight of the day on Friday was the delegation’s attendance at President Biden’s address where he called for increased climate action. We closed the day with a visit to the Climate Education Hub hosted by Earth Day Network to attend a reception of subnational leaders from around the United States and the world.
Thursday, November 10
NCEL’s First Full Day at COP27
This was the first full day on the ground at COP27 for NCEL’s state legislator delegation. State Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo of Maryland arrived in the early morning following Election Day to speak on a panel about how different subnational actors — from governors to executive agencies to state legislatures to local governments — are investing in resilient climate infrastructure.
“Renewables are already proving themselves. Solar is already cheaper than coal. It’s already going that way. And I think we just have to make the right investments and we have to have faith that those investments will pay off. I’m confident that the right investments will pay off.” – Maryland State Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
In recent years, states really have been focusing on the implementation of emissions reductions. In 2017, Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo sponsored the bill that banned fracking in Maryland. This past session, the Maryland legislature passed Climate Solutions Now, an omnibus bill that requires Building Performance Standards, an all-electric state fleet, and a green bank, to name just a few examples. That bill also set the country’s most aggressive 2031 emissions reduction target of 60%. Here at COP27, Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo and other members of NCEL will tell the story of what implementation can look like.
Just as we hope others can draw inspiration from stories of state action, the NCEL delegation is learning from others in turn: a fellow panelist, Pam O’Connor of the Los Angeles County Commission, shared that the county recently created the first-of-its-kind just transition plan for oil workers. We look forward to learning more each day!
What is COP27?
Today was the third day of COP27, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. That means that this is the 27th time that countries part of the negotiations on global climate change have gathered. The most well-known result of this convention so far is the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Last year in Glasgow (COP26), countries recommitted to an emissions trajectory of no more than 1.5° of global warming by 2050. But promises to decarbonize are not enough without implementation: based on current commitments across the globe, emissions are set to increase by over 10% by 2030. Action is needed to get the world on track, and the hope among many is that countries will increase their commitments to be in line with the 1.5° target during COP27.
This year’s COP is also known as the “Africa COP,” and not just because it takes place in Egypt. The African continent has contributed the least to climate change but is experiencing some of the worst effects of it.
Focusing COP27 on Africa’s experience of climate change is meant to highlight the need for global climate justice and emphasize the need for rapid implementation of emissions reduction promises. It is also a call for the implementation of long-standing promises by wealthy countries — like the U.S. — to finance climate mitigation and adaptation in poorer countries. One major item on the negotiators’ agenda is known as “loss and damage.” Loss and damage is the concept that the countries that are most responsible for causing the climate crisis — the ones that have burned the most fossil fuels — should pay impacted countries for the losses and damages they suffer as a result.
Meet NCEL’s State Legislator Delegation
Nevada State Assemblymember Howard Watts
Elected in 2018, Assemblymember Watts recently became Chair of the Natural Resources Committee and was named one of NCEL’s Rising Environmental Leaders in 2021. He has played a central role in passing legislation related to climate-friendly transportation, appliance efficiency, and climate adaptation. He is particularly interested in ways climate policy can be designed with explicit justice and equity components. Learn more.
Maryland State Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
Since joining the Maryland House of Delegates in 2013, Del. Fraser-Hidalgo has played a leading role in some of Maryland’s landmark climate legislation. He was the primary sponsor of bills that ban fracking in Maryland, provide tax incentives for electric vehicles, and help transition to electric vehicle fleets. Building on his role as an environmental champion, Del. Fraser-Hidalgo also recently joined the NCEL board. Learn more.
Pennsylvania State Representative Chris Rabb
As an NCEL board member and state Representative, Rep. Rabb centers climate action and environmental justice in much of his work. Rep. Rabb was the primary author of a bipartisan 100% renewable energy bill, as well as a host of bills relating to environmental justice, clean energy, and protections against fracking. Learn more.
Washington State Senator Liz Lovelett
Appointed to the Washington Senate in 2019 and since winning reelection in 2020, Senator Lovelett is deeply interested in the ways climate policy can be embedded in transportation, land use, and environmental justice. The policy areas she focuses on include maritime decarbonization, renewable energy with an emphasis on offshore wind and transportation fuels, and forest and marine conservation that protects biodiversity and aids in the prevention of wildfires and flooding. Learn more.