A Guide to the Key Concepts of the COP27 Environment Summit

What do you know about the United Nations Climate Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

What is the COP?

COP stands for Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is the main UN summit on climate change, which is held alternately in different cities around the world.

There are currently 197 parties representing countries that are signatories to joint agreements aimed at curbing catastrophic global warming.

Previous conferences have led to deals such as the 2015 Paris Agreement, where signatories pledged to limit warming to 1.5°C with a minimum and an upper limit of “well below” 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.

This is the level at which scientists agree irreversible “tipping points” are most likely to occur, such as the collapse of the ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland and the sudden thawing of permafrost.

Last year, COP 26 was held in Glasgow after being postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Glasgow climate pact has been watered down in the last few minutes over objections to a coal-free deal. Instead, states agreed to “reduce” rather than “eliminate” coal use.

When and where will COP27 be held?

This year’s COP is being held in Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt). It started on November 6th and is expected to end tomorrow on the 18th, but last minute negotiations tend to extend the summit a bit longer.

The site has proven controversial as the Egyptian regime has arrested thousands of dissidents, imposed severe restrictions on protest groups, and been accused of persecuting local NGOs.

An example of human rights violations is Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a blogger and software developer who is on hunger strike and thirst in an Egyptian prison.

What does the COP27 agenda include?

The concept of “loss and damage” financing is on the official agenda for the first time this year. Loss and damage is the term used to describe catastrophic or irreversible climatic consequences, such as the loss of land or livelihoods that have not been prevented by any mitigation, financing or support.

The idea originated more than 30 years ago in small island countries, which were most vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surge.

Negotiators also have a number of other key items on the agenda, including adaptation, financing, technology development and transfer, and gender.

Why is the COP important?

The UN summits are designed to develop new global commitments to address climate change and track progress toward a series of goals.

Agreements signed by all parties are legally binding, although the COP has no formal enforcement mechanism.

Climate change can be described as the environmental changes that result from global warming. Temperatures have already risen by at least 1.1°C in the industrial age.

What has been assessed this year is that we are close to a 1.5°C increase in temperature, which the Paris Agreement considers to be the key threshold.

Who attends COP27?

The Egyptian President, host of COP27, stated that the event attracted an unprecedented number of 66,000 participants, including more than 120 heads of state and government, negotiators from countries, and representatives from business, civil society and the media.

So far this year, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak (after changing his mind at the last minute) and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, have participated. The newly elected President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, also arrived in this second week with great fanfare.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not attend. Australian Anthony Albanese and Canadian Justin Trudeau will also be absent.

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was not present at the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting, which she described as a “greenwashing” forum, but many other fellow activists from around the world, especially from the African continent, are present. Keynote speakers include Vanessa Nakitt from Uganda and Aisha Siddiquih from Pakistan.

For business, while oil and gas companies have already taken part in COP-supported side events and business groups, this year’s summit is the first to invite them to participate in the official COP27 program of events, according to the organizers.

Who are the corporate sponsors of COP 27?

The United Nations event has different levels of corporate sponsorship. This year’s main sponsors are Vodafone, Microsoft, BCG, General Motors, Infinity Power, EgyptAir, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Afriximbank and Orascom.

Most controversial was the selection of Coca-Cola, which is included in the third level of sponsorship as a “defender”. The beverage group has faced protests from activists for being one of the world’s biggest plastic polluters. His trademark coolers are scattered all over the COP venue, but it was empty for most of the first week of the event.

Ahead of the summit, data from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation showed the company has increased its use of newly manufactured plastics by 3.5% since 2019.

What has been covered so far?

US climate envoy John Kerry has launched a proposal to create a system to help fund the phase-out of coal-fired energy by raising money from the sale of carbon credits to polluting companies. received a deeply divided response.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that “we are on a highway to climate hell” while calling for a new “Climate Solidarity Pact” in which rich countries would provide financial assistance to poor ones. For his part, the former UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, stated that his country does not have the financial resources to pay “compensations” to low-income countries affected by climate change. However, reparations is not a term used by the United Nations. Instead, it urges rich countries to help poor countries through financing that includes subsidies and loans at interest rates that do not add to the massive debt burden.

Green corporate laundering is being investigated, as the “net zero” coalition put together by former central bank governor Mark Carney of more than 500 financial institutions is named among the private sector climate initiatives required to support tougher standards in a report by high-level experts at the United Nations. .

The past eight years were expected to be the warmest on record, according to a report released by the World Meteorological Organization during its inaugural session.

How do emissions compare with state commitments?

The financial times It produced a searchable dashboard of historical emissions and future climate targets for 193 countries.

Where and when will COP 28 be?

The United Arab Emirates will organize the summit. It is expected to take place in November 2023.

Yasmine Karages Merinoglu

Copyrights – The Financial Times Limited 2021.

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