Authored by Jessie Buendia, Green for All National Director.
Representatives from Dream.Org’s Green for All team attended the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm-el-Sheikh Egypt. COP27 was focused on building on the outcomes achieved last year in COP26 to tackle the climate emergency - from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to increasing resiliency to financing climate action. Collectively, our aim is to keep the world from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, which, if not achieved, will intensify catastrophic climate impacts such as deadly heatwaves, water shortages, crop failures, and ecosystem collapse.
After two weeks of deliberation, the final outcomes of COP27 point to the complexity and difficulty of equitably addressing global climate change. Even though a loss and damage fund was created to compensate countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, we still have to overcome many barriers to serve impacted communities around the globe.
There were three takeaways from COP27 that will inform our Green for All work moving forward:
1. Climate change movements in the global North have a lot to learn from the global South.
COP27’s location in Africa was intentional. Egypt was selected to drive home the importance of the global north’s financial commitment to the global south. A discussion on the global stage on reparations echoed some of the demands that the U.S.-based Justice40 advocacy community is making to ensure that climate and clean energy investments are directed to the most disadvantaged communities.
Dream.Org was honored to contribute to the first-ever Climate Justice Pavillion led by the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and the Bullard Center for Environmental & Climate Justice who brought together voices from the global north and global south to learn from one another. These are voices we need to continue hearing from and centering in our climate action and implementation efforts at home - especially on Justice40 implementation.
2. Climate change is a bipartisan issue globally and should be in the U.S.
In many foreign countries, conservative climate leadership doesn’t translate to the polarized and politicized landscape as we have in the U.S. While we may not agree on everything, we do agree that Americans – and our planet – deserve leadership on both sides of the aisle and across sectors willing to listen to work together to find common ground.
Dream.Org modeled this kind of leadership by hosting the first-of-its-kind Building Bridges on Climate Summit in partnership with the Atlantic Council, the American Conservation Coalition, the Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We brought together entities across progressive, conservative, business, nonprofit, and global perspectives to listen and learn from one another.
There was recognition of the huge opportunity ahead for the implementation of the Energy Act of 2020, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Infrastructure Investment Act of 2022 to create new green projects that can provide economic growth and workforce development opportunities in places that need it the most. We highlighted entrepreneurs like Robert Kabera, a founding member of the Green for All Business Council, who are working on bottom-up solutions that serve the poor.
3. Public-private partnerships tied with community vision are necessary to finance climate and clean energy infrastructure in the U.S. and worldwide.
COP27 was focused on moving away from the declarations and commitments from COP26 to actually discussing how, realistically, it will all be implemented. I was able to attend the World Climate Summit, where investment leaders discussed the direction public and private finance needs to take in order to accelerate climate solutions worldwide on climate mitigation and adaptation. There was recognition that there is a gap in commitments that currently has us on a trajectory towards 2.5-degree warming and worse if the commitments are considered ‘green-washing’ where there is no path to implementation.
But a narrative focusing on what not to do is not enough to move finance and capital; we need to inspire hope in what kind of climate investments we do want. This is where there we have a huge opportunity to work with local communities to coalesce on a community vision that can leverage both public and private sector funds and for BIPOC businesses to deliver these solutions.
Green for All’s Transformative Communities program will focus on providing planning and technical assistance support to a geographically and politically diverse set of communities across the country, so they are able to compete for the once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunities and create generational community development and wealth building opportunities for historically disadvantaged communities.
I return to my work here with the Green For All team with a renewed sense of urgency on the role that our organization has to play in the global, national, state, and local discussions to make sure that we solve the climate crises in an inclusive way and create a green economy for all, not some.
Dream.Org Vice President of Sustainability
Green for All National Director