Amid Our Climate Emergency, What Critical Role Must COP27 Play?
The United Nations Climate Change Conference is known as the Conference of the Parties (COP), which happens annually unless the members decide otherwise. The goal of the conference is to talk about and review what the 198 members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have done to mitigate climate change and address the increasing disasters we are facing as a result of it.
COP27—Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference—is the 27th meeting of the UNFCCC that will take place in Egypt in November 2022. The first COP meeting was held in 1995 in Berlin, Germany, and have been successively held in diverse global locations through the intervening years until COP26, last year, in Glasgow, UK.
How does it Help Member Nations?
The meeting will help member countries come together and discuss topics including tackling climate change, climate resilience, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, sustainable finance, supporting developing nations to achieve their climate goals, etc.
During the Paris Agreement—COP21—held in Paris in 2015, member nations adopted resolutions and pledges to keep rising global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Are member nations doing enough to fight climate change?
The Paris Agreement of 2015 saw each member nation commit to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)—their individual pledge to limit greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 or 2030.
However, all together, the current NDCs are not enough to reduce global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, and we are literally missing out on many commitments made. Surprisingly, the rich are contributing more to the climate catastrophe than the poor.
So it is critical that, by 2050, the world's leaders work together to stop releasing carbon. To do this, they will have to make not just stronger promises over time to cut emissions, but rather engage in binding, legal agreements that mandate the required cuts.
Climate change is not a problem that governments can solve on their own, since the growing effects of climate change are systemic and do not respect political boundaries. We need regional governments, businesses, and communities to work together to solve it. We also need to help people deal with a world, at the individual and community levels, that is getting warmer quickly.
Climate protests around the world are taking place in different forms. For instance, in the UK, activists smeared King Charles’ wax statue with cake at Madame Tussauds, calling it “a wake-up call.”
The activists can be seen in the video saying, " the science is clear; the demands are simple. Just stop oil. It is a piece of cake."
King Charles has recently dropped plans to attend the climate summit in Egypt, which many in the UK are not happy about.
In another incident, climate activists threw tomato soup at Vincent Van Gogh’s painting at London’s National Gallery, while in Germany, mashed potatoes were thrown at a Monet painting in a museum.
The actions of the activists are being widely criticised by netizens. Some even called them “Hypocrites” for wasting food and wearing clothes and shoes made from petroleum products.
Key goals at COP27
The pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and climate urgency make this year’s ‘All of Africa’ COP from November 6–18 a different one with an emphasis on many critical areas, from nature, food, human rights and water to climate adaptation and industry decarbonisation.
The focus areas include:
Helping developing nations tackle climate change by providing them with $100 billion per year
Inclusive participation from all stakeholders
Mitigation and adaptation
Preparing countries to deal with calamities and improving climate resiliency
Giving an additional boost to reduce coal usage
Hope for a better future
Every year, governments, businesses, and people are told at climate summits that they need to act quickly to protect our planet. Since these summits are a global association, they require a collective effort from each member nation. Every person and business can do something important to address climate change and keep mitigating its effects, something that in theory should make it smoother for our governments to manage and execute policies.
The situation is changing fast and we are no longer watching from the comfortable sidelines where we were told that changes would possibly happen in the murky future. This is happening now, and getting worse.
The simple truth is that the longer we stay away from such commitments, the longer we fail to act at all levels and understand this is our problem to own, then the darker our lives will be in the coming years. However COP27 pans out, it must galvanise action either politically, if it succeeds, or at the societal and private sector levels, if it fails.
Keep up to date on COP27 news here.