The largest annual gathering on climate action, COP 27 takes place this month in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh. COP is the main decision making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the UNFCCC), which is an agreement between 197 UN nations to deliver action on an array of critical climate emergencies.
Issues such as reducing greenhouse gasses, adapting to the current and future impacts of climate change are discussed. Present at the gathering will be heads of state, ministers, climate activists, mayors and CEOs. The effects of measures introduced at previous meetings will be assessed, new ideas introduced and the promise to deliver on the Paris Agreement will be renewed.
Before we can discuss what we should expect this year, it is helpful to briefly recap last year's COP 26. The main outcomes of COP 26 were;
- Signing of the Glasgow Climate Pact. The package of decisions consists of a range of agreed items, including strengthened efforts to build resilience to climate change, to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to provide the necessary finance for both. Nations reaffirmed their duty to fulfill the pledge of providing 100 billion dollars annually from developed to developing countries.
- Signing of the Global Methane Pledge. Parties committed to reducing their methane emissions by 30% by 2030 compared with 2020 levels. However, large emitters such as China, India and Russia opted out of this pledge.
- Pledge to halt deforestation by 2030. 145 parties signed a pledge to protect global forests.
- Release of joint statement from China and the USA. These two massive nations vowed to commit to combating climate change and implementing the Paris agreement.
Now let's consider what we are expecting to see at COP27 this month.
- The ‘guest list’ - Who will be attending
More than 100 heads of state have confirmed their attendance at COP 27, but leaders of over 190 countries are expected in total. UK prime minister Rishi Sunak originally announced he would be skipping the conference to focus on domestic issues but after fierce criticism from the public and even some of his own MP’s he has now announced he will be attending. Boris Johnson has also planned attendance, alongside many other European leaders such as the French President, the Italian prime minister and German chancellor. Biden has also confirmed his attendance despite the current US midterms.
And no King George, who was “banned” so had his own party on Friday.
However, Chinese president Jinping is not expected following an absence last year. Similarly, Putin is not expected despite Russia’s large carbon emissions, he argued that no large breakthroughs were expected. But John Kerry will be lobbying hard for all the major countries to be making huge commitments
But also no Greta, she’s already voiced her disdain at it.
Celebrities. We’ll expect to see David Attenborough, Leonordo Di Caprio, George Clooney, Pharell Williams, Emma Watson plus a host of others turn up and make a great plea for politicians to listen to the world.
- Implementation and finance based targets
It is expected that COP27 targets are to shift from the pledges seen in COP26 to implementation. The Egyptian minister stated that the hosts “ want to highlight what are the practical policies and practices, the processes that can actually push the pledges to bridge the gap to action”.
The targets this year are going to be based mainly around finance, COP27 will rely on more tangible processes to deliver the $100bn that was promised by 2020. There will be a pressure on wealthy nations to deliver on their promises as this will also increase developing nations confidence. We can also expect to see goals which clarify financial support for loss and damage as a result of climate catastrophe.
- Scientists reaffirming the scale of the issue
Although the gravity of the issue is already clear we expect the scientists to reaffirm the scale of the issue. We know this because earlier this year, international climate scientists finished assessing the most comprehensive climate report ever. It characterised the ways in which climate change is affecting our everyday lives due to the fact that human activity has warmed the earth by 1oc since pre industrial times.
The scientists will also warn about the rising sea levels, extreme drought, heatwaves and storms which cause flooding. The rising temperatures are unavoidable, which means billions of people and animals will need to adapt to a warmer earth.
The temperature increase since 1880
- 1st World Countries Being Challenged to Pay Monies to Developing Countries - (plus other highly emotive discussions)
Developing countries are continuously suffering with the consequences of climate change, for example the flooding in Pakistan which has killed over 1500 people. However, most of these low income countries have done little to add to the climate crisis but are disproportionately affected as they do not have the infrastructure and the resources to make them less vulnerable. This year due to the sheer number of extreme weather events a coalition of the most vulnerable countries, known as ‘loss and damage’, is seeking to achieve proportionate financing for these climate costs.
Flooding in Pakistan earlier this year
It will be argued that developed and wealthier nations should pay for the problems that they are responsible for, and the organization itself stated they “demand an end to the vicious cycle of loss”. Although weather countries have acknowledged their part to play they have not committed to any form of funding, but this may change at COP27.
We are excited at SKOOT to see what the outcomes of COP27 will be and what it will mean for our climate battle.