What is the COP27?
The COP 27 of 2022, is the 27th ‘Conference of the Parties’ of the UNFCCC. Held from 6th November to 18th November 2022 in Sham El Sheikh, Egypt, it is the first climate summit held in Africa since 2016.
According to a report published in October 2021, Africa is considered to be the most vulnerable continent to the effects of climate change. More than 100 million Africans will in fact be threatened by global warming between now and 2030. This is interesting as Africa has the least amount of contribution to climate change.
Thus, many States, NGOs and African commentators hope that the holding of this summit in an African country will highlight the problems faced by Africa and its people due to global warming, which is increasingly being accelerated by developed and developing countries. A compensation for their contribution to global warming is also something that will be expected from each country.
The Coca – Cola Sponsorship
Coca Cola, despite being one of the biggest contributors of plastic waste, is one of the sponsors of COP27. This is being seen as an attempt at greenwashing – the practice of portraying oneself as environment friendly to hide one’s destructive behaviors.
Who will be there?
Heads of more than 90 states, and thousands of delegates of more than 190 countries are expected to attend the event. By the number of attendees, the COP27 is the second largest after the COP26 in Glasgow. It has 33,449 participants. 11,711 participants are from 1,751 NGOs. The 3 countries with the largest delegations are: United Arab Emirates (1,073 participants), Brazil (573), and Democratic Republic of Congo (459). Many African countries are in the list of 10 countries with the largest number of delegates.
United States president Joe Biden, French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak, Brazil president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – all form the list of attendees.
Who will not be there?
Among the heads of state not attending, are Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is also not attending COP27.
What can we expect?
Discussions on topics such as climate finance, decarbonization, climate change adaptation and agriculture will be held during the first week. The second week is expected to cover gender, water, and biodiversity.
French president Emmanuel Macron, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, and Senegalese president Macky Sall will host an event on ‘accelerating climate change adaptation in Africa’.
Has any difference been made yet?
The United States has proposed a system of carbon credits for facilitating energy transition in low income countries, along with trying to increase investment to help them deal with different impacts of climate change.
As a whole, rich countries gave 29 billion dollars to the issue in the year 2020, but it is only a fraction of what is needed. The climate minister of Pakistan Sherry Rehman demanded high income countries to pay for the damage caused by climate change impacts, stating that floods in Pakistan cost the country 30 billion dollars that “Pakistan cannot afford”.
Some countries did announce new funding to support loss and damage in recent days, including New Zealand ($ 20 million) and Austria (50 million euros). Germany and Denmark pledged more than 170 million euros for the “Global Shield,” a new fund that will help lower income countries to cope with climate disasters.
A new site (Climate Trace) was opened, showing from where exactly greenhouse gas emissions came from. The map is open to the public. The aim is to provide public with correct information as self-reported information is often unreliable, especially about methane.
India has sought clarity and definition on climate finance besides motivating other countries to provide technology to combat climate and disasters.
Plant based treaty advocates
A coalition of organisations headed by NGO ProVeg International, erected the first-ever pavilion dedicated to the climate impact of food at an international climate conference. The pavilion is called Food4Climate and all participants seek changes in food systems.
On 11 November, celebrities, politicians, and businesses delivered a letter to COP27 President Sameh Shoukry, calling for COP27 to adopt a global Plant Based Treaty. The treaty calls for an end to the expansion of animal agriculture; the promotion of a shift to sustainable plant-based diets; and an effort to “reforest and rewild” planet Earth. Those advocating for a Plant Based Treaty also urge the adoption of a Soil Treaty at COP27.
On 12 November, Nitin Mehta, the founder of Indian Cultural Centre of London wrote in the The Sunday Guardian that if COP27 delegates do not decree that humans “abandon meat, fish, eggs and dairy“, then COP27 will be a failure.
What is the ultimate goal of COP27?
The ultimate goal of the 2022 COP27 is in dispute. Wealthy countries will focus on ways to help developing nations phase out fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy. However, tensions between richer, developed countries and poorer nations, the latter of which bear the brunt of climate impacts, over who should pay the costs of global warming, are also expected to define the conference.
Conferences like these serve as a great medium to hold leaders of state accountable for the actions of their nations which have a global impact. Though the motives of such conferences are portrayed as good, they always happen to be mudded by the global politics of greed and power.
One cannot stress enough how huge global decisions to stop climate change are needed, but one also cannot deny the need for individual action. Hence, the decisions of our leaders being considerably out of our hands, we should try our best to practise sustainability at the micro level.
Once again, Tarumitra gives a friendly reminder to reduce, reuse, and recycle 😊.