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News from COP27: The 2022 UN Climate Conference

Annabelle Wu



In 1992, 154 countries convened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the Earth Summit, where they signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international treaty intended to mitigate anthropogenic global warming. Now, a growing number of nations meet annually under the UNFCCC to host a Conference of the Parties, or COP, to discuss and carry out policies that would combat climate change, achieve decarbonization and sustainable development, and provide financial reparations for those who have already endured the worst climate change impacts. Last year in Glasgow, Scotland, COP26 “culminated in the Glasgow Climate Pact”, which restated a formerly established goal of keeping global temperatures below 1.5°C and implemented strategies to phase down coal energy production and deforestation. However, it yet again failed to fully deliver on the promise of raising $100 billion for climate change impacted developing countries.

This year, from November 6th to 18th, 198 countries joined together in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt for the 27th annual COP. Establishing and fulfilling goals were more important than ever, especially considering this year’s natural disaster events, including flooding in Pakistan, hurricanes in the U.S, major catastrophes in the Philippines, and record heat waves in Europe. This African COP was particularly significant as recent studies have shown the continent and Middle Eastern region to be experiencing global warming at a faster rate than the rest of the world. Prior to the conference, the UNFCCC members hoped to revisit climate reparations once again, as well as touch on five key issues: nature, food, water, industry decarbonization, and climate adaptation.

After two weeks of discourse, the 1.5°C global temperature limit was reaffirmed, and more actions were enforced to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the most prominent decision that has resulted from COP27 is the Loss and Damage Fund, which aims to finance nations that are environmentally vulnerable to climate change induced disaster and cannot pay to recover alone. For the first time, the agenda prioritized paying back countries that barely contribute to climate change yet face the consequences. This funding arrangement also incorporates promoting climate technology as a part of sustainable development, and it is set to be expanded further next year at COP28. Participants at COP27 also included indigenous peoples who shared their perspective of addressing climate change, and young people were given more room to speak with the first ever youth-led climate forum.

Much progress was made in terms of “enhancing resilience” and adapting to climate change impacts. The biggest obstacle that is now still being faced is climate mitigation and having each country achieve the financing required to reach low carbon, especially as an energy crisis looms over the world. Although a program has been enacted this year, developed countries have still not invested the necessary amounts as most require a transformation of their financial structures. A breakthrough agreement may have been achieved this year, but some still fear that yet again, not enough was accomplished as fossil fuels continue to be burned.


Citations

  1. Bellamy, D. (2022, November 20). COP27: Mixed reactions over what climate summit did and didn't achieve. Euronews. Retrieved November 22, 2022, from https://www.euronews.com/2022/11/20/cop27-some-welcome-climate-summit-results-others-fear-not-enough-was-achieved

  2. COP27 Reaches Breakthrough Agreement on New “Loss and Damage” Fund for Vulnerable Countries. UNFCCC. (2022, November 20). Retrieved November 22, 2022, from https://unfccc.int/news/cop27-reaches-breakthrough-agreement-on-new-loss-and-damage-fund-for-vulnerable-countries

  3. Dagres, H. (2022, September 22). Egypt is hosting COP27. What are the expectations? Atlantic Council. Retrieved November 22, 2022, from https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/egypt-is-hosting-cop27-what-are-the-expectations/

  4. Gawel, A., & Cooper, N. (2022, October 25). What is COP27, why it matters and 5 key areas for action. World Economic Forum. Retrieved November 22, 2022, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/10/cop27-why-it-matters-and-5-key-areas-for-action/

  5. Kuwonu, F. (2022, June 10). Towards COP27: Views from Africa's chief climate negotiator | office of the special adviser on Africa. United Nations. Retrieved November 22, 2022, from https://www.un.org/osaa/news/towards-cop27-views-africa%E2%80%99s-chief-climate-negotiator


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