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Inside the Greenhouse is a monthly update on FCNL’s environmental advocacy and the emerging climate issues that impact our work.  

COP27 Spotlights Foreign Assistance for Environmental Disasters

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27, began on Nov. 6 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and will last until Nov. 18. Representatives from each UN nation are discussing climate change mitigation, adaptation, and how to address the crisis through foreign assistance.

The topic of “loss and damage” has been a core focus thus far. This concept calls on countries responsible for the highest rates of greenhouse gas emissions to fund relief efforts for nations struggling with the most severe climate consequences. Already, several countries have stepped forward during the conference with pledges towards loss and damages.

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry has been vocal about American plans to support developing nations struggling with climate disasters. Recent examples include Pakistan, which endured flooding that impacted more than a third of its population. Multiple countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, like Somalia, are experiencing severe drought and famine.

Developing countries suffer the toughest consequences of climate change, yet western nations such as the United States have contributed most to the current crisis. While Kerry has not pledged direct aid towards “loss and damages,” he has said that the United States is open to providing help.

Hope in Brazil to Restore Amazon Forest

Environmental advocates are optimistic that Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s victory over Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s recent presidential election may signal a new chapter for conservation efforts in South America.

Lula was first elected to office in 2003, when the deforestation rate in Brazil was twice as high as today. Under his leadership, the rate of deforestation was reduced by 80%. Meanwhile, when Bolsonaro took over in 2019, he quickly reduced funding for environmental protection agencies and encouraged his supporters to mine critical minerals illegally.

The results were disastrous: Between 2019 and 2021, Brazil lost more than 12,000 square miles of the Amazon forest, one of the world’s most important ecosystems.

Lula has said that one of his top priorities is to reverse deforestation by 2030. With COP27 now underway, global leaders from Germany, Canada, Australia, and Spain have expressed interest in collaborating with Lula on conservation efforts.

In 2022, FCNL constituents have sent 2,402 letters in support of environmental justice for all.

News and Updates

Nations Turn to Coal Amid Energy Insecurity
Amid the energy crisis in Europe, Germany has reactivated coal plants and increased gas importation from the Netherlands and Norway. Before the war in Ukraine, Germany received more than half of its natural gas from Russia. Several other countries, including France, Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands, have also begun to ramp up coal usage.

Bold Action Toward Net-Zero Economy
On Nov. 4, the White House announced a new Net-Zero Game Changers Initiative, which will be partially funded by the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This program, which will invest $1.5 billion, prioritizes efficient heating and cooling of buildings, grid electrification, aviation, industrial products, and sustainable fuels needed for a new green economy. However, the government must now ensure that historically marginalized communities are supported, not harmed, during the energy transition.

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Staff: Jus Tavcar

Jus Tavcar

Program Assistant, Sustainable Energy and Environment (2022-2023)
Jus Tavcar is the program assistant for sustainable energy and environment. In his work, Jus lobbies Congress to pass policies in favor of transitioning into a just green economy.