This week we are at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) in the Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt. The international community will be holding its breath that the planning and implementation of measures needed to face up to climate change challenges will at last come to dominate the event.
What will I learn from this article?
Recognition of countries with fewer resources, which suffer most from climate change
From 6 to 18 November, Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, a climate summit that aims to go beyond the stage of negotiations between governments and companies - and finally launch effective measures to help us slow down the temperature increase, i.e. go from promises to action.
Rapid global warming is affecting the lives, and means of subsistence, of millions of people, and the consequences will only get worse if we fail to take necessary action. The climate crisis will aggravate social and economic, as well as environmental, risks. The vision of the Presidency of COP27 in Egypt is that now is the time to act on the ground. Quickly, inclusively and big-time.
“Converting rich country promises of climate financing into projects that help nations with fewer resources”
As part of this mission one of the areas where Egypt appears to want to focus is finance, especially financial assistance for developing countries. So said Rania Al Mashat, Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister, in The Guardian. Although the consequences of this crisis affect the whole planet, those who most suffer – and least influence the outcome – are the countries with fewer resources to face up to the onslaught.
The aim, therefore, is to place them at the center of the debate on impact. It is time, it is argued, that nations with the most resources assume their historical responsibility and address the global warming problem, converting climate financing promises into projects on the ground that help countries with less economic muscle adapt and become more resistant.
The 2021 Glasgow Summit agreed that the richest countries would have to fulfil the objective of mobilizing 100 billion dollars a year and double financing for adaptation, but they are still far from complying with this commitment. The aim of COP27 is to advance this critical clause in the agreements.
What are the aims of COP27?
The COP27 agenda will mainly focus on climate change solutions, the current situation and its effects. All of this on the basis of what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported upon over the past year. Its 6th Assessment Report warned of what Earth would look like in a few decades if temperatures kept rising - and called for the abandonment of fossil fuels.
Impacts are worse than expected and have quickly gone beyond our capacity to adapt. We do, however, have the solutions we need to act in time. This is what COP27 aims to do:
COP27 should be the moment nations fulfil their commitments to achieve the Paris Agreement objectives, i.e. keep the rise in global temperature below 2ºC, with the aim of limiting it to 1.5ºC. The window of opportunity is smaller than one might think. The World Meteorological Organization said there was a 50% probability we would pass this threshold within the next five years.
This year should therefore witness the implementation of the Glasgow Agreement objective of reviewing the ambition of the NDCs and creating a work program for mitigation targets.
Extreme weather phenomena such as heatwaves, floods and forest fires have become a daily reality in our lives. Events such as the floods in Pakistan a few months ago - with more than 1,300 deaths and 35 million people displaced - will soon cease to become exceptional.
World leaders, governments and bodies which are part of the convention have reiterated their commitment to COP26 and insist that they will increase their ambition with respect to adaptation during COP27.
Egypt insists that COP27 will prove successful in speeding up climate financing, a key issue in achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Such an aim requires, it says, improved transparency in fund flows, to which there needs to be more access for developing countries.
UN negotiations are bases on consensus. Reaching agreements requires the active participation of all interested parties. Progress in association and collaboration will help fulfil the objectives and ensure that the world adopts a more resistant and sustainable economic system in which human beings are at the center of conversations about the climate.
30 years fighting climate change
The holding of COP27 in the green city of Sharm El-Sheikh this year coincides with the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In the 30 years that have passed since then, the world has come a long way in its fight against climate change. Now we are better able to understand the effects of rising temperatures and to develop better tools that deal with its causes and consequences.
It is hoped that COP27 will be the turning point, where agreements and commitments translate into projects and programs. Collective efforts to combat the adverse impacts of climate change are needed - and crucial - if we want to guarantee a sustainable future for all.