The sense of purpose was palpable within the vast expanse that showcased the scores of governments, NGOs, industry players, and academics seeking to equitably solve the existential crisis that climate change has created around the globe. Over two weeks, they descended on the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh for the annual UN Climate Conference (aka COP 27) to ratchet up the sense of urgency needed to save the planet, equitably for all of its inhabitants.
While the world is divided in so many ways, this is one movement that unites, or so it appeared based on the words and images that emerged in Egypt. Even OPEC had a big presence, while the Saudis made some news that didn’t seem to be greenwashing.
I was there with an influential client in the U.S. electric power sector, an industry that is playing a leading role in the transition to green energy.
Typically, the conferences I attend — from Web Summit and Collision to SXSW and CES — serve as trade shows to sell products, services, and ideas. What struck me most about my first COP was the sheer number of countries who built, at considerable expense, elaborate pavilions touting their needs and solutions.
Rather than recounting the countless speeches, panels, policy announcements, and some eye-opening research on the cost of decarbonization, I thought I’d try to visually capture the colorful mix of nations whose presence alone says something about their shared commitment.
Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping, leaders of two of the world’s biggest carbon-emitting nations, did not attend but their nations certainly were there.